Local animators go for gold in Japan

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Today for Tomorrow focuses on one villager’s mission to spruce up her home by planting trees and encouraging others to do the same. Photo supplied

In a barren village where trees and plants wither under the hot sun, a lone girl decides to make a change and plant a tree. It also withers at first, but the heroine of the short film perseveres, building a small shelter for the seedling to support it.

Pleased with the results, she makes it her mission to educate the community about the endless benefits of planting trees.

Slowly but surely, the teacher’s message spreads and children start gathering to plant their seedlings. The teacher glows with hope as the village fills with trees and flowers. Butterflies appear in the village and fish swim in a lotus-filled pond.

The colourful animation ends with the message: “Today for tomorrow, and tomorrow for the future”.

Today for Tomorrow was created by a team of Cambodian animators called Color Wheel and it beat out 20 other animations to take home the top prize at the 7th Cambodia DigiCon6 contest organised by National Television of Cambodia (TVK) on August 29.

Color Wheel consists of two members – Peth Char, who is in charge of graphic design and colouring and Sela Vicheth, who works on animation.

Today for Tomorrow was the team’s first-ever submission to a competition and the two were ecstatic to win so early in their careers.

Char tells The Post: “Today for Tomorrow was produced to promote a love for nature. We aim to encourage everyone to plant trees. I think each person should plant at least one tree in his life.

“Additionally, the animation shows the solidarity and harmony between people and animals in the social environment.”

Char says planting trees is one of the most effective methods for tackling climate change and improving the planet’s environment.

Going global

Char and Vicheth will represent Cambodia at the 22nd DigiCon6 ASIA Awards which will be organised and hosted by Tokyo Broadcasting System Holdings Inc (TBS) on November 28 at Marunouchi Hall in Tokyo.

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The heroine in the story teaches her community to care for the environment. Photo supplied

Last year, at the 21st DigiCon6 ASIA Awards held in Hong Kong, Point Five Creations, an animation team from Hong Kong, won the grand prize for its Another World submission.

Cambodia was represented at the show by 22-year-old transgender woman Koa Senghuo, who won Cambodia’s DigiCon6 contest with her video submission entitled Colors. In the short film, she promoted the fair treatment of the LGBTQ+ community.

This year, 16 participants from countries across Asia will compete for the top prize.

While preparing for the international contest, Char says: “Winning the national contest is a breakthrough for us to get acknowledgement for our work. It’s a new experience to be winning and we will try our best to improve what we’re lacking in our animation based on the comments from the evaluation committee and the public.

“Listening to the comments and reflecting on what we’ve done, we can complete our animation in better quality.”

Celebrating Cambodian creativity

After winning the 7th Cambodia DigiCon6 contest, Color Wheel started planning its next animated educational short film for children.

Vicheth says: “We already planned to produce a series of short educational animations, especially for a young Khmer audience. It will be filled with good lessons for our children.”

Colour Wheel received 1.2 million riel ($300) for winning Cambodia DigiCon6’s top prize and an additional 40,000 riel from Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith.

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Sela Vicheth (far left) and Peth Char (white shirt) at Cambodia DigiCon6. Photo supplied

Four other teams at the national competition won awards in different categories with each taking home 40,000 riel and another 20,000 riel from the information minister.

The three-member team Kidoza won the Popularity Award for their short film, The Consequence.

Long Kimheng won the Best Script Award for his short video entitled A Love of Mother.

The Manga Khmer team won The Idea Award for its short film The Box.

Tep Rokakha won the Best Picture Award and was produced by a team of recent graduates also called Tep Rokakha.

Khom Chomrong, a member of the Tep Rokakha team who spent three years studying animation, says: “I felt very excited to join the national competition at TVK and win the Best Picture Award.

“I would like to thank Phare Phonleu Selapak and our teachers for helping me make it here. I really appreciate the organisers too because the contest gave me an opportunity to showcase my skills after I graduated.”

Pang Chamnan, the chief organiser of Cambodia DigiCon6, tells The Post: “With support from the Ministry of Information and TVK, we were able to host the 7th DigiCon6 2020 contest for younger artists who are skilled in animation production.

“The winners this year will be heading to Japan for the 22nd DigiCon6 ASIA Awards hosted by TBS television. It is the biggest contest for short animations in Asia and it is a time to showcase the ideas and achievements of Asian people.”

He says Cambodia is full of talented video creators and he hopes to see more people submit videos next year.

To view the animations submitted to this year’s regional contest, visit the video section of Cambodia DigiCon6’s Facebook page.