20 Apr 2019
Big Dreams After Winning at ATF
By Yuuka Ng
Taking a page from ATF’s pitch motto – a great idea can come from anywhere – Studio2 Animation Lab was a shining example of this inspirational truth, as their winning entry at the inaugural ATF Animation Pitch 3 years ago was sparked by an ancient Chinese classic tale.
Pigsy, as director of Studio2 Animation Lab, Chiu Li Wei christened it, reflects the Chinese literary favourite, Journey to the West, which has been a fable Chiu enjoyed since childhood. Now, he wanted to produce a different version based on the original story.
The rich imagination and character representation in the story had greatly influenced him in the creative process. “We want to insert current social and environment topics into the future imagination.
“For example, we can see people of different nationalities and skin colour when commuting on the subway; it's just like how the protagonists saw different characters on their journey to the West,” said the veteran animation director.
Chiu Li Wei
Studio2 Animation Lab
After winning the inaugural ATF Animation Pitch in 2017 with the project Pigsy, pitch sponsor Green Gold Animation of the famed Chhota Bheem played the important role of being a consultant to the then concept of Pigsy as a feature film. Green Gold Animation, as part of the prize, gave Studio2 Animation Lab advice, sharing experiences to style the feature film more internationally.
This included modifying the screenplay to acquire a more receptive perspective to international audiences, which Green Gold Animation believes will benefit the promotion and distribution in the future. Studio2 Animation Lab also met with some distributors who offered advice from the point of view of the film market – what audience want, as well as market requirements.
Keeping the audience as top priority, Studio2 Animation Lab has always placed the objective of stimulating the imagination through art design as a priority; building a greater worldview via innovation, which they think the audience will like, while also keeping the spirit of the original novel alive.
Chiu additionally disclosed that there are on-going discussions about co-production opportunities between Studio2 Animation Lab and Green Gold Animation.
ATF Animation Pitch 2017
Winner: Studio2 Animation Lab
Chiu believes that all aspiring creators should be active, curious and positive. “Fill your creation with imagination,” said Chiu. “Don't be afraid to ask the experts and fully utilise exhibitions or competition platforms like ATF.”
ATF, in the eyes of many creators, is an iconic content marketplace and forum that focuses on the Asia Pacific region. Chiu, who is a regular nominee and winner of many animation awards at film festivals and award ceremonies, understands that to get exposure for projects, constant communication with many professionals is a must.
Following the studio’s most successful property, Barkley the Cat, arguably the most famous animated cat with many extensions (TV series, a movie, VR content, merchandising etc.) in the Chinese-speaking region, Pigsy is planned to be released around Spring of 2022. Chiu and his team is giving it all they’ve got towards this next rising star.