Archana Senthilkumar supported Norman Joseph on the technical aspect of production for 'Encanto'. She is a General Technical Director on the film. She has also previously worked on 'Frozen 2' and 'Raya and the Last Dragon' as a part of the Technical directors team. We had a small chat with her regarding Disney's latest release, 'Encanto'.
Lately, Animation movies are holding strong life messages, what can we expect from Encanto?
In a family where every member possesses some superpowers, Mirabel has none. The movie is centred around her journey of accepting herself and her family. Family is the one space where you should be accepted just the way you are, and kids and parents need to realize that. Encanto is all about family dynamics, which I think will be very relatable to the Indian audience. Many of us here grow up in large families with cousins and grandparents or meet them often. Even after spending so much time together, we don't know what others go through and when they need help. I hope Encanto encourages people to take a moment to really talk and listen to their families.
How did you contribute to the 60th animated film from the Studio?
I worked as a Technical Director on the film. Technical directors develop the software pipeline and tools used by artists to make the film we finally see on screen. For Encanto, our team developed tools to animate the magical house and easily add embroidery to things like Mirabel's skirt and bag, which is a part of her personality. I specifically worked alongside the Animation department on this film, providing tools to help their workflow and supporting artists with any issues they ran into while animating the many characters of the family.
How do you weigh the Indian animation movie industry? When can our industry produce high-quality animation flicks such as Disney's?
For the longest time, animation in India was primarily seen as something for very young children. There has never been enough audience here to support making animated films. But I definitely think this generation has grown up with more access to different and mature genres of animation that are popular across the world. And they are willing to watch more animated content. Over the past few years, there have been some beautiful animated short films and films from many talented artists in India like Wade (produced by Ghost Animation) and Bombay Rose. So, I believe the future is very promising. And, It's an exciting time for the Indian animation industry.
If Walt Disney Animation Studios is ready to produce a full-fledged animation flick based on Indian folklore, which one would be your first choice?
I've always been fascinated by Indian history and stories of royalty like the Chera, Chola and Pandya dynasties. And I think there's a lot to draw from the past culture, but in a way, that's relatable to someone growing up today. India is such a diverse country; there are countless stories to be inspired by!
How will the rise of OTT platforms shape the Animation Industry?
OTT platforms are always looking for fresh content to offer loyal subscribers, so the increased demand for content is great news for artists and storytellers. I think it's allowing us to experiment and tell different kinds of stories. It also gives women and people from marginalized communities many deserved opportunities to tell their own stories.. Because of how global these platforms are, people can now discover films from another side of the world that would never have made it to their local cinema theatres. I definitely believe that OTT platforms are having a positive impact on the animation industry.