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Pakistan’s first ever hand drawn animation, ‘The Glassworker’ has been recognised by the prestigious Annecy International Animation Film Festival 2022 in the ‘Work in Progress’ category.

Mano Animation Studios created this film and think it it is a "huge honor” for being selected in the highly competitive panel.

‘Work in Progress’ has previously featured acclaimed animated feature films Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse, Klaus, Wolfwalkers and How to Train your Dragon 2 over the years.

“It’s really amazing that they think our process and progress is worth showing so many people,” said Mano Animation Studios Art Director Mariam Paracha in conversation with Aaj News.

Directed by Usman Riaz, The Glassworker is set in a location loosely inspired by Pakistan. It tells the story of a young boy Vincent and his father Tomas who run the finest glass workshop in the country.

Their world is shaken with an impending war they want no part in and an army colonel’s daughter who arrives in their town.

The feature film will be released in cinemas all across Pakistan in 2023.

While the team is busy preparing presentations and files for the festival which will take place from June 13th to 18th, their next step would working on the Urdu version of the film.

“I think that’s the beauty of film that everybody interprets everything themselves and what one scene might mean to one person might mean something else to another. I like that idea in film or any art film. I’m actually excited to see what the audiences think of it when we see it in cinemas,” said Mariam.

Annecy International Animation Festival is the world’s top reference for animation films. The event gathers the biggest names in the sector and celebrates diverse animation styles and techniques.

“Meeting people in production to art direction, hearing their experiences, learning from them and sharing our experiences with them would be an honour,” said Mariam. The team is excited about getting to see the first looks of some new animated movies coming out.

The animation industry in Pakistan is relatively young, hence Mariam believes that international recognition of a Pakistani animated film could open doors for many aspiring artists.

“This selection allows us to keep animating as a profession and as a field. It opens doors for other artists who before didn’t think that they would have opportunities, but this puts us on the map.”

Mano Animation Studios is home to a creative team of animators that come from all walks of life. “One of our lead animators was a doctor, however she loved animation, so she came to Mano. Similarly one of our assistant leads used to be a dentist,” said Mariam.

According to industry survey by employment database Glassdoor, an animator in Pakistan earns an average of Rs 50,000 to 60,000 per month.

The team at Mano wants to create opportunities for local artists who might believe that the scope for animation is only abroad.