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If We Can Sing Along: Animation films for the World Wildlife Fund India

The following report contains a brief description of the research documentation and production process of an animation film project with the World Wildlife Fund India, undertaken as part of the Graduation degree project (December 2013) at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.

Below are the excerpts from the project document.

“Development hurts the environment and our well-being, but (with it comes) the compulsion of making this choice- the desire to industrialize.” Julien Segard, Artist

Biodiversity conservation has been an area much talked about and worked upon as mankind has a very important and delicate relation- ship with nature. With growing industrialization and urbanization, the planet’s biological fundamentals have been treated as ‘resources’ and the fact that man is using more than his share tends to get overlooked. Several awareness programmes, campaigns and films thus become more and more relevant to remind humans about this very fact.

Communicating an issue that deals with protecting life on this planet comes with the challenge of creating a response that would initiate change in the way one thinks. This project is an attempt at exploring the interconnectedness that exists between humans and other living beings, especially in the urban scenario.

The aim of this project is to revive the ‘Cities for Forests’ campaign of WWF-India to raise awareness about the crucial link between forests and human survival. The campaign calls upon city-dwellers to discover the forest that supports their city, visit it to experience its biodiversity and overall health, share their findings and reach a wider audience, ensuring that many others are also educated about the forests in order to understand the importance of the forests and the need to conserve them.

Public Service Advertisements (PSAs) are created to persuade an audience to take a favourable action, create awareness, show the importance of a problem or issue, convey information, or promote behavioural change in a very small amount of time.

This project includes the creation of three animated films for the promotion of the ‘Cities for Forests’ campaign of the World Wildlife Fund India. The films use a mix of clay characters and watercolour backgrounds and foliage as layered cut outs featuring forest creatures as protagonists in the jungle as their city. The first one: ‘Hum Honge Kamyab’- A not-so- peaceful Sunday Club gathering where forest creatures try to sing a song of hope; the second one: ‘Crossroads’- Resilient worker ants face a series of unexpected hurdles and a bulldozer; the third one: ‘Bang! Poof!!’ - A tiger tries to catch a nap amidst trees popping into things of human use.

“Students, youth professionals and individuals, who by their actions hope to make a difference to the state of our forests, are welcome to participate. But, ‘Cities for Forests’ is ideally for all city-dwellers who consume resources provided by forests but tend to forget the benefits and well-being that forests bestow. We have contacted over 200 schools across the country, and made presentations on the campaign to the students” explains Aarti Khosla, Programme Campaigns and Communications, WWF India.

The PSAs intend to be a gentle reminder urging people to rise above ignorance by giving them a piece of news from a lesser known part of their very own city.

Research and development phases for the project included the analysis of campaign communication material, understanding target audience through surveys, interviewing wildlife filmmakers, reviewing films made on environmental issues and finally executing the films in stages including concept development, plot and script development, character design, storyboard, animatic, layouts, animation, compositing, editing and sound design.

The films can be viewed at:

The films were screened at the Hyderabad Biodiversity Conference 2012

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