New York Indian Film Festival 2016

May 7 - 14, 2016

Animation Cinema with Sanjay Patel, Rahul Thakkar and Cottalango Leon
Tickets: $15 general admission; $12 IAAC members
Buy Tickets
Animation Panel on Sunday May 8th at 7 pm at the Village East Cinemas, Theatre 5, 2nd Ave @ 12th Street, NYC.
Oscar winners Rahul Thakkar (Dreamworks) & Cottalango Leon (Sony Pictures) along with Oscar Nominee Sanjay Patel (Pixar) talk about the role Indian Americans play in Hollywood's animation industry, about developing new technologies, narrating personal stories and their journeys.
Sanjay Patel:
Sanjay PatelSanjay Patel joined Pixar Animation Studios in 1996 an animator on “A Bug’s Life.” Since then he has animated on many of Pixar’s feature films, including “Toy Story 2,” “Monster’s Inc.,” “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” “Cars,” Toy Story 3” and “Monsters University.” In addition to animating, Patel also storyboarded extensively for “Monster’s Inc.,” “The Incredibles” and “Toy Story 2.” For the Cars Toons “Mater’s Tall Tales,” Patel stepped up to act as the Animation Supervisor on many of the shorts in the series. Most recently, Patel made his directing debut with Pixar’s short film, “Sanjay’s Super Team,” which is currently in theaters in front of “The Good Dinosaur.”

Growing up in San Bernardino, CA, in a Gujarati family, Patel’s earliest artistic influences stemmed from two very different worlds: comic books and Saturday morning cartoons, and the Hindu gods and spiritual culture that came to define his upbringing. After pursuing his artistic interests at the Cleveland Institute for the Arts, Cal-Arts, and Pixar, Patel eventually turned his attention back to his roots, and began creating art, graphic novels and picture books that re-envisioned Hindu mythology in a modern, pop-culture way.

“Sanjay’s Super Team” is Patel’s personal story and a “mostly true” chronicle of his journey to understand the Hindu world so important to his parents. Sanjay's Super Team was nominated for an Oscar in 2016.

Rahul Thakkar:
Rahul ThakkarRahul Thakkar is an Academy Award® winning engineer, inventor, artist and global technology executive with over 25 years in technology creation and management.

Born in UK, he was raised in Mumbai all of his early life, until he graduated in 1990 from Mumbai university. In 1992, with a dream of working on VFX for films in Hollywood, he moved to the US to study at Utah State University towards a Master’s in Computer Science, specializing in computer graphics and animation technology.

He spent over a decade in the entertainment industry working as a VFX software developer at Post Perfect in NYC and later at Pacific Data Images (PDI). At PDI (acquired by DreamWorks in 2001), he was part of their R&D team that created all the technology used on all of DreamWork's animated features starting with ANTZ, until today.

Since then, he has served as the VP of Technology, VP of R&D, Chief Architect, and Chief Engineer in various sectors, including VFX & film, defense, GIS, aerospace, access control and security, sports, cloud computing and start-ups. He is the inventor of over 28 patents and patent applications, and has edited several technical books and authored geospatial web standards.

He is an active member of the Visual Effects Society and continues to support the motion picture industry in several capacities. Growing up in India, since age 3, he has appeared multiple times on Mumbai TV, film, and radio, and has worked as a voice-artist. His filmography is on IMDb.

In January 2016, a Technical Achievement Award (Oscar®) was awarded "To Richard Chuang and Rahul Thakkar for the groundbreaking design, and to Andrew Pilgrim, Stewart Birnam and Mark Kirk for the review workflows and advanced playback features, of the DreamWorks Animation Media Review System."

Cottalango Leon:
Cottalango Leon was born on 1971 at Tuticorin and grew up in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. He did his schooling in the suburbs of Coimbatore and received his B.E in Computer Science from PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore in 1992. After working for two years at New Delhi for Softek Pvt Ltd, he went to USA to receive his M.S in Computer Science from Arizona State University from which he graduated in 1996. After a brief stint at Dreamworks Interactive, he has been working with Sony Pictures Imageworks for the past 20 years, presently holding the position of Principal Software Engineer. He is currently living in Los Angeles with wife Roopa Leon and daughter Shruthi Leon. His mother Mrs. Rajam Mariasingam is living in Coimbatore along with his brother, Dr. Cafaso.

Oscar Technical Achievement Award
This award is given to technical achievements that the Academy considers as having made important contributions to the process of movie making. Many companies from all over the world submit their noteworthy technical achievements to the academy each year among which a handful are considered for award nominations. Once the nominees are identified, the candidates are further called for product demonstrations and interviews. The academy uses the information gathered during this investigation to decide which projects are selected for the achievement awards for the current year.

Unlike other oscard award categories, the projects need not be created during the current year. Also unlike other categories, these are not tied to a specific movie. Since the academy recognizes that technology is often reused across different movies and different companies, it has made this category as independent from specific movies.

For this year, J Robert Ray, Sam Richards and Cottalango Leon received an Academy Award for the “itview” project submitted by Sony Pictures Imageworks. The ceremony took place on Feb 13th, 2016 at Beverly Hills, California.

The “itview” product
Sony Pictures Imageworks submitted the “itview” product for award consideration in 2014. This is used as a collaboration tool between artists as a primary communication platform. During the movie making process, a vast number of people are involved in different parts of the process, such as, editors, animators, modelers, painters, compositors etc. They will work on very small segments of the movie, each lasting few seconds to few minutes, called “shots” in an iterative fashion until the movie director signs off each of them as approved. Between each of the artist and the movie director, there are many layers of creative supervisors involved who will have creative input on the look and feel of the shot. Also nowadays artists can be working all over the world in different stages of the same visual element, so providing the right feedback to the artist and let them navigate through the vast amounts this media is critical.

The “itview” product started as a simple movie playback tool that the artists can use from their desktop. The first version was released in 1996 and has since undergone continuous development, mostly shaped by the needs of the artists at Imageworks. Since this was developed inhouse with direct user feedback, it quickly became very powerful and evolved into a tool that is now a backbone of the infrastructure at Imageworks, which is known in the industry for its very efficient pipeline.

New York Indian Film Festival
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