» Arts & Culture

Comic art revives Bhutanese culture

Publication Date : 17-04-2012


To familiarise Bhutanese children with local folktales, myths and legends, two businesses are working on bringing to life popular local stories in an animated series, which will be aired on local television.

Meme Helay Helay and Kado and Nado – A folktale from Laya have been awarded to Athang Training Academy and Green Dragon Media with a budget of 1.07 million ngultrum (US$27,000) and  900,000 ngultrum ($17,400).

The programmes, which are initiatives of the communication ministry’s information and media department, are scheduled for broadcast on BBS television by the end of 2012.

Information and media department officials said Bhutanese children have been reading foreign books, and watching animated movies on television that tell stories they cannot relate to.

"The theme, names, dress, culture and settings are all different,” an official, said.

"We’re trying to familiarise children with local folktales, legends and mythology through mass media, arts and information and communication technology (ICT), which is also one of the department’s mandate.”

The two stories, which are being animated, were also made into comic books in 2010-11.

"To help local artists grow, trainings on contemporary arts and pre-production animations were carried out,” information and media department director Kinley T Wangchuk said.

In two separate trainings, 30 and 52 participants each were trained.

The trainers were from Berkshire Community College in NY, USA and Chiangmai University.

"Basic animation skills, such as character designing, narrative writing, screen designing, story boarding, sound designing and camera view were taught during the training,” he said.

Another round of training will be conducted next month.

Such initiatives were aimed at promoting the creation of dynamic, diverse and locally relevant content and also an initial stimulus for private sector take up such works.

"The support will help boost the creative industry so local producers of content – web, broadcast, print, music, film, or advertisement – are able to achieve quality in production,” the director said.

"Once the private sector realises the business potential of such undertakings, the market is expected to grow on its own.”

Meanwhile, by the end of next week, selected primary and lower secondary schools across the country are in for a special treat.

Eight comic books, 23,300 copies in total, will be distributed to the schools so students can enjoy some of the popular local folktales and legends in colourful illustrations. 


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