Tales of the Tribes

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Nye Mayel Kyong animated film from Sikkim
Abotani film from the Tales of the Tribes
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Animation Workshop at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts
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Verrier Elwin as the Presenter of the Tales of the Tribes
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Manjoor Jhali, the Story of the Peacock
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Tales of the Tribes is a series of five short animated films based on indigenous and tribal stories from Central India and the North East region.  The media production was part of a practice led research project for a Professional Doctorate titled Tales of the Tribes: Animation as a Tool for Indigenous Representation, to investigate how animation could be used to re-engage younger people in their oral tradions and cultural practices.  

The project had several phases,  beginning with ethnographic research, documenting stories, organising workshops at regional locations to engage local participants and production with the assistance of professional and semi professional animators.

Each phase of the project was documented, and blogs were uploaded during each workshop for the programme.  The series of fims (duration 38 minutes) was completed in 2017, and it was dubbed into five vernacular languages as well as English and Hindi (Tenydie, Galo, Apatani, Lepcha and Manipuri).  

The Premiere Screening took place on 3 July in Patangarh village, Mandla District, Madhya Pradesh (the village of the Pardhan Gond artists who had worked on one of the films).  The Tales of the Tribes was then screened extensively in North East India, back to audiences in the local languages during a tour in 2017, to Sikkim, Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya.  

Verrier Elwin character
Verrier Elwin was interpreted as animated characterto present the collection of five short films in theTales of theTribes series (art by Arak Sangma)

The Story of the Peacock from the Pardhan Gonds of Madhya Pradesh

When Bara Dev created the peacock he first made all the parts – the head, feathers, tail, legs and crown separately. The Lapwing decided that she would take the legs for herself. 

This film was developed by Gond artists and students of the National Institute of Design (www.nid.edu) in 2012.  The production will be completed in 2015.

For more information:

Manjoor Jhali The Story of the Peaccik

Man Tiger Spirit from the Angami tribe of Nagaland

Spirit, Tiger and Man are three brothers born from a union between sky and earth.  The three were unable to live together in harmony, and Man used his cunning to outwit Tiger, forcing him to live in the jungle.  Man is separated from Spirit but becomes an important chief who remembers his dependence on nature.
Man Tiger Spirit was completed in 2011 with support from the Government of Nagaland.

For more information:

Nagaland Animation film

Abotani from the Tani tribes of Arunachal Pradesh

Abotani is a story about the mythical hero Abotani and his relationship with his brother, a spirit or Yapom.  Pre-production for this film took place in Arunachal Pradesh in early 2013 in collaboration with the Centre for Cultural Research and Documentation and Rajiv Gandhi University, Itanagar. The production was completed in early 2015.

For more information:

Abotani film from the Tales of the Tribes

Nye Mayel Kyong from the Lepcha of Sikkim

A Lepcha folktale of an adventure in a mythical place called Nye Mayel Kyong was chosen for the first short animation film from Sikkim.  This is a story of a hunter who stumbles upon Paradise while he is hunting a wild boar in the forest. 

Pre-production for this film took place in March 2010 in Sikkim in collaboration with the Nyamgyal Institute of Tibetology (Gangtok), Echostream and the Directorate of Handloom and Handicraft (Gangtok).  The workshop received support from the Commonwealth Foundation and a grant for production has been awarded by National Geographic All Roads.  The production was done by Girgit Studios in Pune and the film was completed in September 2014.

For more information:

Nye Mayel Kyong animated film from Sikkim

Tapta from Manipur

Tapta is a slapstick comedy arising from mistaken identity and imaginary fear.  It is one of the most popular folktales of the Meitei community chosen for the short film in an Animation Workshop held in Manipur in March 2012.  It is currently in production by the Manipur Film Development Corporation and it will be completed in 2015.

For more information:

Tapta is the film from Manipur in the Tales of the Tribes