Television

International studios driven by ethics, says Supari's Advait Gupt

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MUMBAI: The budding animation industry in India has a long way to go till it can compete with the likes of Disney and Dreamworks. The digital medium, however, gives even smaller content creators the chance to become global sensations. One such studio based in Mumbai that was thrilled to have been picked by one of the largest media companies to partner on a project was Supari Studios (Supari).

Supari is a digital content studio that is focussed on generating engaging content on the web through live action and animated films. Supari founder Advait Gupt has worked with both national and international companies and while the latter may sound impressive, it is not without its challenges. “The one natural challenge we faced is time zones. When you are working with a client in the US, you take calls at 5 am; the time zone is a factor we can’t control.” He adds that international companies are driven by process and ethics that have enabled his team to create content within two weeks. “They have a certain style of work and the transparency of work is very high,” he says.

Supari and Post Office, in association with Warner Bros Records, released the official lyric video for the song New Rules by Dua Lipa on digital that garnered 300 thousand views within 24 hours and over 2.1 million views in two months. New Rules has got most traction from Mexico, Spain and Brazil and has received over 2000 comments on the video.

Gupt shares insights on how the association came to be. “Warner Brothers got in touch with us in the middle of last year. They had seen our animation work and were impressed with the quality. The association with Warner Brothers started with a work for an artist called Adam Lambert in June last year. It was an animated lyric video that got a lot of traction and was received positively by millions of people globally. Post that, they approached us to make a 2D animation lyric video for an artist called Dua Lippa who happens to be topping the chart in the UK and the US as well. Warner Brothers wanted us to make a similar kind of video out of her track,” he says. The project was completed in just two weeks. Eighty per cent of the work-from developing the concept to design, VFX and 2D animation-was done by Gupt’s in-house team.

Both the type of animation and length are important in determining production factors. A typical one-minute 2D animation video costs Rs 3-5 lakh.

Gupt has two more entities under him-Post Office and Vitamin Stree. Post Office is the animation studio while Vitamin Stree is a content channel from Supari focussed on cultural, political, artistic and ideological perspectives that are shaping the lives of women in contemporary India.

Vitamin Stree has recently launched a campaign to raise funds for Nisha Gupta who is a para-athlete and is paralysed from her waist down. She plays for the women’s wheelchair basketball team that represents Maharashtra and Supari is raising funds for her and the whole team.

Gupt feels that the animated short film Outsider, which they made in early 2017 on domestic violence in South Asians communities in the US, gave Supari tremendous recognition across the world. The film was shortlisted for nine film festivals globally. After seeing Supari’s work and recognition in the global market, Warner Brothers pitched them to work on their own projects.

Supari has a big line up for 2018. Projects with Redbull, Viacom18 and Hotstar are in the pipeline. A food and talk show with Hotstar was recently completed and a travel show with Viacom18 is currently in progress. These projects are expected to go live from March to April. Doppelganger was a show done in association with Redbull that took content from India for the first time.

Since its inception in 2012, Supari has had the opportunity to work with a diverse set of brands such as Absolut, Nike, Dolby, Google, Skype, Uber, Maybelline, Estee Lauder, Godrej, Asian Paints, Amul, Mahindra, YouTube, ITC, Maggi and L’Oréal.

Gupt and his team are on cloud nine with all the praises being showered by global companies. “We are proud that a global music label like Warner Brothers saw value in finding a small, young and creative studio such as ours to deliver global quality content while meeting the standards,” he says. Some more discussions are to be held for future possible liaisons.

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