Posted November 4, 2011 by Norby Ela in Events

ANIMAHENASYON UPDATE: Outstanding Emerging Artist 2011

Press Release

Breathing life to culture with animation

Animahenasyon celebrates original Filipino artistry

A talking chicken egg misplaced in a balut den, a Manong Sorbetero competing with a ‘mani’ vendor for the title of town superhero, and a conniving damsel in love with her distress or in this case, her apparent beastly captor.

These are some of the gripping situations that animator Ramon del Prado’s endearing heroes face. His characters are familiar, yet it is his unique prowess as a storyteller that keeps his growing number of fans hooked. He stands out from his other compatriots in the industry by using endearing cultural icons, stereotypes and issues.

The impressive portfolio, string of recognitions here and abroad and advocacy to level up the country’s pool of animation talent made 29-year old Ramon del Prado the obvious choice for Animahenasyon’s first-ever outstanding emerging artist in animation.

Ramon is set to be honored in Animahenasyon 2011: 5th Philippine Animation Festival from November 22 to 25 in Eastwood City. A flagship project of the Animation Council of the Philippines, Inc. (ACPI), Animahenasyon seeks to build an audience base, increase people’s awareness, and showcase original Filipino animated works through a multi-category competition for both aspiring and professional animators in the country.

Bouncing balls and stick figures animated through the edges of a thick book were Ramon’s first taste of animation when he was a meager eight years old. Ever since then, he got hooked with studying every book about the craft he could get his hands on. By college, he took up Communication Arts in De La Salle University.

Although animation was only an elective then, Ramon sought to learn as much as he could through self-study. “My course focused on filmmaking, which is a very good foundation when you’re doing visual storytelling such as animation,” he recounts.

His first animated film in collaboration with thesis mates Marco Danga and KaterinaRillo, ‘Egg’ was awarded the outstanding undergraduate thesis, further cementing his love and passion for the craft.

Through the Fulbright Scholarship, Ramon took his graduate degree in Computer Arts in the School of Visual Arts in New York. The experience opened him up to a new medium—3D computer graphics, marking a distinct development from the flat 2D drawings he was used to.

Ten animation films, a dozen exhibitions and multiple recognitions later, Ramon has become a mainstay in the industry with a growing fan base and along with friends, founded their own animation hub, Tuldok Animation Studios, Inc.

He formed Tuldok with a clear vision in mind—to nurture local animation talent and to create a sustainable original Filipino animation industry. However, the lack of original content and brain drain pose serious challenges.

Ramon shared how most of us can recognize Dragon Ball-Z or Mickey Mouse but are unaware of folklore characters such as the prankster Pilandok or the giant Amakan. “We feel that we need to bring this disappearing part of our culture to the future in animated form,” he says.

Part of Tuldok’s mission is to figure out a working model for the local animation industry to create original content. Ramon believes that the potential benefits can be very big, as it can lead to more jobs locally and more investments from abroad.

“For most people, making cartoons seems like a big joke to them. But what they don’t notice is that every end credits of every animation they watch, shows how so many people all have jobs because of that single movie,” he adds.

As an animator, Ramon is known for putting subtle messages in his works. One of his animation shorts, The Jerk, shows a man uncaringly kicking dogs on the street. At first, the scene looks funny but the ending revealed that the whole story was actually based on karma.

“The message is very important in every story that I tell. However, these messages are subtle and discreet because I highly regard my audience to be able to connect the dots or create their own interpretations, based on one’s experiences in life. Hearing interpretations from my audience are always fun to hear,” he shares.

Tuldok’s most recent completed projects include“From Lines to Life: An Introduction to Animation,” a set of seven instructional videos introducing the public to animation production and to encourage viewers to pursue a career in animation, and the 40-minute animated feature “Pasintabi.” Both projects were done through the support of the defunct Commission on Information and Communications Technology (now Information and Communications Technology Office [ICTO]) under the Department of Science and Technology), and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). The DVD of “From Lines to Life” and “Pasintabi” is distributed for free to state universities and public schools.

At present, Ramon is a freelance graphic artist and animator, and a consultant for the ICTO. He is usually sent by the ICTO and NCCA to give free animation workshops in public schools around the country.

For young budding artists who are planningto have a career in animation, the best gift they can get is a blank drawing book, according to Ramon. “And the best practice that they can get is to just keep drawing anywhere, even if it’s on the edges of a thick book. Eventually, if they can get their hands on a computer, that’s even better. That’s what happened to me,” he enthuses.

Norby Ela

Now residing in San Diego, CA, I strive to work in art and further grow FlipGeeks around the world.