Friday, April 11, 2008

Kuris Talk # 1: Karlo Sira

When he dream, he does it with passion and so his talent as an artist comes out naturally.

He says: you've got to learn to be cheesy sometimes, learn to watch cartoons then you'll start to appreciate the hardwork of an animator.

Karlo Sira has always been an artist who thinks "out of the box".

Karlo Sira
Mentoring young Ilonggos for world-class animation
By Ronelo Ladiao

These days, Karlo Sira has many dreams not for himself but for his lifelong career as a mentor and an inspiration for uprising Ilonggo animators. All his life, he takes every step of the way in living and mentoring as a challenge to prove his worth, his undying hope to succeed. He started every endeavor by sowing seeds of hope and optimism, cultivate it with passion and determination until the day comes that he’s ready to reap the fruits of his labor. Being a teacher, he knows he is destined for greater things… to inspire people of never giving up their dreams.
At 31, the youngest of eight siblings of the couple Teresita Sidon and Cruz Sira from Sta. Barbara, Iloilo can attest to the fruitful life he lived in his seven years of teaching. A born achiever and artist-by-heart, Karlo completed his elementary and high school years at Balabag Hibao-an Elementary School and Pavia National High School with flying colors, respectively. His college years at Western Visayas College of Science and Technology proved to be admirable when he graduated as Cum Laude with a course Bachelor of Science in Industrial Education major in Drafting Technology. His early teaching career began at Ajuy National High School for five years. It was perfect opportunity after he finished his Master of Science in Industrial Education major in Drafting Technology that led him to become more efficient in his teaching career as a Drafting Technology Instructor at Western Visayas College of Science and Technology. Presently, he is happily married to his loving wife and also a dynamic teacher, Maria Leonora Sanchez-Sira.
Another major turning point in his life came when Technical Education and Skills Development Authority partnered with Western Visayas College of Science and Technology to open the Professional 2D Assistant Animators Training under the visionary project of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Training for Work Scholarship Program. The implementation of the course made him and other talented instructors from WVCST to be trained in 2D Animation by Animation Council of the Philippines for 21 days last August 19-October 21, 2006. Pioneering the hectic training of future Ilonggo animators in Region VI, they started mentoring the president’s scholars last November 2006 and the first batch completed their course on April 2007. Likewise, the second batch of amateur Ilonggo animators began their training right after the graduation of the first batch and successfully graduated at SM City Iloilo on October 19, 2007.
Since the graduation of the second batch of animators, Karlo has become one of the significant persons who brought these uprising Ilonggo artists to success. His involvement, dynamic ideas and guidance created a sense of direction for some out-of-school-youth animators to embrace their passion and leave a lifetime legacy to the Ilonggo history. The animators’ successful exhibit entitled “Kinarton” from November 24, 2007- January 5, 2008 at Museo Iloilo has been positively reviewed by art critics. The massive media promotion of Ilonggo animators nationwide became possible through his effort to open better opportunities for them when they were featured in ABS-CBN’s “Bandila” news program, “Sikat Ka Iloilo” morning show, GMA’s Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho, Iloilo’s very own Cable TV magazine show, Tatak Ilonggo, GMA Iloilo’s “Ratsada” news program, Arangkada morning show and countless local newspapers in for the past 10 months.
Recently, his involvement as adviser of Kuris Animation Unlimited (second batch animators) successful launching of the first Ilonggo-made animated short film entitled “The BEQUEST: Origin of Dinagyang” at SM Cinema 7 last January 25 and “Dinagyamation” animation exhibit at SM City Iloilo from January 14-20 carved a lasting mark in Ilonggo history.
Currently, he continued to inspire and guide the third batch of Ilonggo animators at WVCST, teaching them to believe in their God-given talents, gifts and dreams not only to make globally competitive animation but to contribute something for society.
In a casual yet sincere chat, Sir Karlo Sira reveals more about his passion and vision in mentoring…

Ronelo Ladiao (RL): As an artist by heart, what is your passion and goals in life
Karlo Sira (KS): For me, I just want to share what I learned from my experiences as a teacher and I’m sharing what I learned from those who shared their talents to me. It’s like a symbiotic effect. So, ‘share your talents!

RL: Can you tell us a brief summary of your achievements in your career as an artist?
KS: Ah, I joined countless poster and slogan contests when I was in high school and luckily I always win. With regards to my achievements, I guess my scholastic achievements during my college years can attest how determined I am to succeed. It’s not really showing your outputs like paintings or drawings when you say you have so many achievements in life but it is how you design your future of what you want to be.

RL: How did you end up as one of the pioneering animation instructor in the region?
KS: It all started when I transferred here at WVCST, in my first year of teaching, Engr. Roly Gambol invited me to participate in the training of trainers for 2D Assistant Animator course together with my other colleagues. After 21 days of training we opened the program together with PGMA and TESDA and the first batch was produced. Then, animation started to grow not only here in WVCST but throughout the region.

RL: Can you tell us some of your inspiration in animation or favorite animated characters?
KS: When I was a kid, I admire some of Walt Disney characters and superhero animated films. Recently, I’ve been hooked in watching “Avatar: The Legend of Aang”, a unique animated series from Nickolodeans that resembles an Asian inspired storyline. I also like the animation techniques and story concept on how it is done by animators.

RL: In your opinion, what makes Ilonggo animators unique among the rest?
KS: Well, for sure Ilonggo animators are unique and gifted with raw talents for animation that deserved to be given some attention. My animation students are innovative, creative and determined to introduce new style amid the simplicity of the technology we use. I can see their struggles to perfect their craft and contribute something for the society.

RL: Are they ready for global market?
KS: Yes, I believe if given the right chance, opportunity and standard animation facilities, Ilonggo animators are ready for global market.

RL: Tell us something about The BEQUEST and its social/historical significance?
KS: The BEQUEST: Origin of Dinagyang is the first-ever animated short film done by amateur Ilonggo animators using 2D and 3D animation format. The storyline is based in the article of IDFI Director, Ben Jimena who entrusted the transition of the story concept to animation which revealed the connection of these three historical events to the origin of Dinagyang Festival: Barter of Panay, Arrival of Magellan the Philippines in 1521 and the gifting of Sto. Ni┼ło de Cebu to the parish of San Jose. My students made it for 2 months with more than 35,000 raw drawings. More than 500 audience watched the one-night screening at SM Cinema 7 last January 25 and due to the consistent demand of many Ilonggos, it will be shown again on February 26-29 at WVCST EDTech Center.

RL: What is your dream for Ilonggo animation industry?
KS: There’s nothing more I dream for Ilonggo animators but to succeed in their chosen field and become world-class animators. I also want to contribute something big for the growing animation industry in the Western Visayas particularly in Iloilo City. Through our effort, we hope we can make Iloilo as the next animation hub in the country.

RL: In your point of view, what is the secret of success?
KS: There are three words that pops in my mind when we talk about success, you’ve got to have discipline, perseverance and passion. With the right goal and optimism, we can reach our dreams and become successful in everything that we want in life.

RL: Do you have any inspirational message for Ilonggo artists who wanted to become animators someday?
KS: Right now, I share the same philosophy with Kuris Animators: Believe in your dreams!

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