Animating the importance of inclusivity and diversity

Kala Raju animated film

Kala Raju animated film

Kala Raju has produced a short animated film that brings to light the importance of inclusivity and diversity thanks to a Robson Visual Arts Award. 

The MA Design Studies graduate said: “Being a filmmaker allows your voice to be heard. Every individual has a unique story, however many of the stories that we hear are from the voices of white men. As a woman, visible minority and immigrant, my experiences are not common to the world. I want to tell stories that empower people and reveal the unique humans that we are surrounded by.” 

She continued: “The objective of the master’s degree was to create a short stop motion animated film, Nurturing Nature, that contained cross-cultural themes addressing more than one topic.” 

During the preparation part of the project, Kala researched about all of types of animated films and she noted a common issue in these films – the lack of people of colour. 

Kala said: “This influenced many of the decisions that were made during the script writing process such as the gender of the characters, their colour, economic status, appearance, the lessons in the film and others. 

“After the idea manifested, a script was created along with a storyboard, sketches of characters, locations, props and costumes.” 

Stage two was the implementation phase where they had to apply the different techniques that animators and production companies use. 

Kala said: “Without the Robson Visual Arts Award, this would not have been made possible as the materials to make the characters on their own cost a total of £200. Armatures are very expensive to purchase but I was able to invest in an industry standard armature using this scholarship. 

“A variety of different clothes were stitched, the characters were given expressions and attributes that gave them personality. The set was built using styrofoam, cardboard and different craft materials. Later props were constructed to fit the size of the set and characters.  

“Using DragonFrame software, lights, green screens and other equipment, stage three began. 4405 pictures later, which is equivalent to approximately three minutes, the production phase was over and the post-production stage began. The final film contains 3576 images, equivalent to two and a half minutes.”

She concluded: “Having this funding allowed me to purchase high quality materials such as the plasticine that professionals used as well. The luxury of having this scholarship allowed me to dream bigger in what I would be able to create for this film. 

“The Robson Visual Arts Award was not only able to fund my film, but cover other student expenses as well. Overall, the film Nurturing Nature, would not have been made possible without the award. 

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in allowing me to receive this award and trusting my goals as a filmmaker.”

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