CYK sinefektDerived from the word ‘anima’ meaning spirit, having life, and action, animation aims at giving a spirit, a life to drawings, to figures made of clay or other materials, and even to all sorts of objects we handle in our daily lives. Canlandıranlar in Turkish means ‘the givers of life’. It was what I came up with when the project needed a name.

“Businesses invest in state-of-the-art equipment. Nobody has the patience to invest in people”. kept saying Berat (Berat İlk: Husband. Friend. Heart and soul. Companion.)… Then he would go on grumbling: “It is the people that make the animation, not the equipment. People should be given opportunity so that animated films can be produced with pleasure and care, under humanly conditions, instead of rush jobs done solely for commercial concerns”. He would dream of a formation that incorporated training and production, and was backed by companies in the sector and academic circles that would give support by making available their facilities and other means, know-how and experience. He believed animated films produced in such conditions would be a cure for the present situation.

In 2008, Berat started organizing free-of-charge workshops titled ‘Canlandıranlar’ (Animators) to get together with enthusiasts, and I quote, “to give the animation microbe” to those who had the slightest interest in the topic. A broader and more organized formation that covers five universities and four production companies, ‘Canlandıranlar Yetenek Kampı’ (CYK or Canlandıranlar Animators Talent Camp) came to life in 2010. The camp process that extended throughout 2010 started with free-of-charge workshops open to public given by professionals and academics. In the meantime, applications were collected for a short animated film projects contest, under which production support would be given. The contest was one of İstanbul 2010 European Culture of Capital activities; so the storyline was required to feature İstanbul and that was the only prerequisite. After finalization of the contest, the production phase of the projects started. During summer and fall, projects were produced frame by frame, which were then made into films.

Supported by the Canlandıranlar Animators Talent Camp, five short animated films made their debut in December 2010 at Santralistanbul: İstanbul by İdil Ar, A Random Day at Istanbul by Nurbanu Asena, Tetrist by M. Melis Bilgin, Nap by Işık Dikmen and Seagull of İstanbul by Dilara Polat. These animated shorts produced under very special conditions will be traveling from one festival to the other in 2011 and 2012.

Berat is now struggling to render Canlandıranlar sustainable and to make it an annual event. While all of the sponsors in 2010 extend their support to 2011, the search is still ongoing for a new sponsor or a bunch of sponsors to replace European Capital of Culture Agency.

And the Animators of Canlandıranlar

Dilara Polat and her film Seagull of İstanbul  
Born in 1997, Dilara is the youngest one to make her film. But she is perhaps the most resolved of all. Having been involved in the Animators Talent Camp starting with the workshops, Dilara Polat attended the workshops in weekends, accompanied sometimes by her mother, and sometimes by her father. She wanted to dwell on the mediocrity of lives in the extraordinary city of İstanbul. Witnessing Dilara’s efforts, Ömer Ahunbay supported her with his music. The outcome was the nearly one-minute film Seagull of Istanbul (İstanbul Martısı). Do not underrate the length of one minute. Every 1 second of the film must contain 25 frames. Dilara said she improved in computer use, drawing and patience while making the film. Dilara Polat also produces miniatures, cartoon strips, and ex libris designs. Presently dealing with the hustle of preparing for starting high school, Dilara says; “Once I am in high school, I intend to continue with animating.”.

İdil Ar and Istanbul 
This was İdil Ar’s first independent film, who had previously made commercials and introductory films. Having received animation training at Animwork in Denmark, and having applied to the Animators Talent Camp with a project on her hand, İdil thinks the production process proved to be useful in terms of self-discipline. “I always thought making a film was impossible. I knew so many people who had tried, but could not finalize it. I, however, finished my film. It is a great motivation for me to see that I can do this if I really get into self-discipline. I am looking forward to doing my next film.” Telling about a little girl’s magical journey in İstanbul, İdil Ar’s İstanbul is noted for its successful character and location designs.

Nurbanu Asena and A Random Day in İstanbul  
Nurbanu Asena worked on various film and animation projects in New York, İstanbul, Florence and Beijing while she pursued her studies in the design and technology department at the Parsons School of Design. Nurbanu says she had the opportunity to get acquainted with the animators’ community in İstanbul thanks to Canlandıranlar. “You get to see how challenging and demanding it really is to do an independent project. We turned out to be a team of some beautiful people. I believe the future teams will find greater motivation to work, because our films are evidence that the camp really serves its purpose!” Produced in hand-drawn animation technique, A Random Day in İstanbul (İstanbul’da Sıradan Bir Gün) gives an account of a cab driver’s one regular day in İstanbul with a cheerful tone.

M. Melis Bilgin and Tetrist 
Depicting the multi-layered structuring in İstanbul like a Tetris game, the film was produced in stop motion technique, using miniatures and photographs of real buildings. The film is directed by Melis Bilgin, a lecturer at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Beykent University. Melis told us that “Tetrist” was an İstanbul project she had in mind for years. Canlandıranlar gave her the chance to put the film into life. The production proved to be laborious. “We photographed the buildings in the Pera region. We created a computerized structure to determine the Tetris blocks these buildings would be formed of, and the sequence and positions they would drop. I used gauche to retouch the buildings’ photos and the miniature of the Turkish miniaturist Nasuh the Swordsman. It has been an educational process, with each phase demanding patience.”

Işık Dikmen and The Nap
A senior year student at the graphic design department of the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Işık Dikmen designated her lead character as a dream fairy from İstanbul. Nap (Şekerleme) is her first film. ”At the Canlandıranlar Animators Talent Camp, we had the chance to meet with professionals in animation, film and music field and to benefit from their knowledge before and after the election of projects. I had the opportunity to pitch my film and consult with experienced people with whom you can talk about anything like editing, film music, team building and budgeting.” says Işık, who joins the others in their enthusiastic wait for their next film.

About the Animators Talent Camp
– Co-organized by İstanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture Agency and İstanbul Bilgi University, Canlandıranlar Animators Talent Camp is supported by Bahçeşehir University, Eskişehir Anadolu University, Mimar Sinan University and Maltepe University, as well as by Sinefekt, Anima, Canlandırma Servisi and Dirty Cheap Creative production companies which opened up their facilities.

– 14 workshops, theoretical and practical, were carried out in various aspects of animation including film grammar, editing, character design, animation techniques, visual effects, storyboarding and scriptwriting. These workshops were followed by a panel participated by award-winning new generation animation artists and a conference on “sound design in cinema” presented by Gérard Labady. All these activities were held at the facilities of supporting schools, free-of-charge. On another front, videos of the panel, conference and all workshops were posted on the website at the address http://www.canlandiranlar.com designed by İstanbul Bilgi University students, and thus made public. In this way, the camp created its own memory, while making its knowledge base available to everyone without imposing any restrictions place- and time-wise. Equally importantly, the corporate identity, web design, emailing, banners, posters of the Canlandıranlar Animators Talent Camp were developed by İstanbul Bilgi University Visual Communication Design students almost in their entirety.

– The jury panel formed by Coşkun Aral, Vincent Bouvard, Efe Efeoğlu, Prof. Feride Çiçekoğlu and Meral Erez evaluated the applications and elected the projects to be supported. Creators of elected projects met personally with important figures that included Michael Carrington who is Head of the Animation Department at Film School Ziln, Cemal Erez, Emre Senan, Ömer Ahunbay, Lamia Karaali, Yonca Ertürk and Murat Belge, as well as the speakers who participated in the conference and the panel. The production was supervised and supported by project consultants and production consultants, and the films were brought to completion with the facilities and means made available by production companies and universities that supported the Canlandıranlar Animators Talent Camp at various stages of the process.

Hillsider Magazine