Fr Carlos Luis SAC
The 11th edition of Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) 2022 featured the documentary Modo De Vida - A Goan Sketchbook by Rohit Karandadi, an animation filmmaker, illustrator and visual artist based out of Goa, but currently residing in Saligao.
He has a master’s degree in animation film design from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad (NID). He creates independent films and comics, thanks to his passionate love of animation and illustration.
Rohit Karandadi is inspired by the people he meets and the locations he inhabits. His method involves making observations, internalising them, and then communicating them through the visual arts.
Drawing appeals to him because it helps him empathise, observe and experience life more deeply. He tells us more about Modo De Vida - A Goan Sketchbook.
How do you feel when your work is selected to be featured at various festivals? You have been featured in at least a dozen film festivals, nationally and internationally.
The film travelling now has a life and meaning of its own. The response from kids and young adults has been very refreshing too. Being featured at festivals has been highly motivating for me, especially when the audience shows such deep love for animation films and cinema as a whole.
It is very encouraging to see your film share a screen with filmmakers you’ve grown watching over the years.
I’ve been privileged to physically be present at some of the festivals, including the Hiroshima Animation Season in Japan, Savigny Animation Festival in Switzerland and FEST in Portugal.
It is an extremely humbling, educational and motivational exercise.
What was the process of creating the documentary Modo De Vida - A Goan Sketchbook which was recently screened at the Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) 2022 and won the Audience Award at the Paris International Animation Film Festival (PIAFF)?
I’ve travelled quite frequently to Goa all of my childhood. Having moved to Goa in 2016, I felt the urge to express my fondness for its slow, yet meaningful pace of life, through a film.
I had already made many sketches of life around me. I felt making an animated film would keep a piece of its world alive forever for me and for the others who love it.
The animation film is created using the traditional animation technique where each frame is drawn and then painted using acrylics and inks. “Modo De Vida” translates from Portuguese to “way of life” and the film tries to capture that from my field of vision.
We had an extensive editing phase which I worked on with my sound designer Nikhil Narendra, and sound recordists Akshay Bhise and Divesh Gadekar to get the rhythm of the film working.
The sound archives were provided generously by Frederick Noronha. The film would miss a lot of its flair had they not been on board.
What is the documentary about, and how has its reception been in Goa and elsewhere?
The film focuses on the vie quotidienne, or daily living in Goa, as opposed to the “tourist-tinted glasses” perception that has become Goa’s dominant identity.
The reception has been very encouraging in the limited circles I’ve been able to put out the film.
People familiar with Goa are much more able to relate their personal experiences with the film, and festivals have appreciated the stylised visuals and play with the film form.
Making an animation film is only half the job – promoting it is the other half. Would you mind sharing with us your difficulties?
Sharing your film these days is extremely easy because of the internet. There are amazing platforms like FilmFreeway where one can access festivals from across the globe and send films out for consideration.
Yes, it does require time, diligence and sometimes a bit of money to keep track of everything that is going on, but it's not as difficult as it used to be even about a decade back.
As an indie maker, I wasn’t looking for releases or TV rights, etc. I’m sure those are more challenging aspects to get through, if one wants that for their films.
Shubhra Dixit in an article in The Hindu, published on March 26, 2017, wrote that “India is swimming in animation talent, but home-grown films are either awkwardly made or non-existent”. Is it still the same in our country?
Animation as a medium can be quite expensive, and as such there are very few countries that have managed to have a fledgling animation scene without state support.
Animation talent is an important part of its creation but is incomplete without the necessary support of a production and distribution framework that is competent to gauge recent developments on the global scene.
Even where film students are concerned, many film institutes in India fail to provide adequate support and assistance, or to include marketing of the films in their curriculum and send films across borders to promote their own students’ work.
We are at the moment lacking in these areas.
Having said that, some recent films coming from independent directors show great promise and understanding of the craft.
Filmmakers making self-produced films on a smaller scale are learning the nuances of production and distribution, and finding alternate support systems to back their endeavours.
Do you think there is an animation scene in Goa?
From what I know, there are very few animation filmmakers that call Goa their home as of now. It's too early to call it a scene. But, hopefully, the generosity of time and space that one can afford in Goa should entice more animators in the near future or foster home-grown talent.
Do you have an upcoming project in the pipeline?
I’m putting together an animation collective with some very talented people. My next short film should start production by the end of the year and a comic book series pilot is already in the making.
(Carlos Luis is a priest belonging to the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Pallottine) and is currently the mission secretary of the ABVM Province, Bangalore. He comments on literature and films that mirror life.)