The Making of Mila” discussion during the last day of the 2nd edition of “Sharjah Animation Conference” 2024-1715015886417
'The Making of Mila' discussion during the conference at Expo Centre Sharjah Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: The screening of Mila, a 20-minute animated film, at the Sharjah Animation Conference (SAC) on Sunday, served as a reminder of the power of film in advocating positive change.

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Mila tells the story of a little girl whose Italian town, Trento, was levelled flat by the heavy bombings during World War II. In the space of a few minutes, Mila lost her family, home and everything that allowed her a sense of belonging in the city.

‘Recollections of my mother’

“The short film is inspired by the recollections of my mother, who was caught in World War II as a four-year-old. She, like many others at that time, was forced to leave her home and migrate to a faraway land in a quest to survive and build a new life,” said Cinzia Angelini, director of Mila, during a panel discussion that was hosted alongside the screening of the film.

“Even though Mila is very specific to a time and place in history, the message it serves is timeless and universal. It helps us empathise with innocent people who are caught in crossfire of conflict,” said Valentina Martelli, executive producer of the project.

Through Mila, the creators and the hundreds of volunteers who helped realise this project are trying to spread the message of resilience.

“Mila is educational. It allows children to be cognizant and sympathetic to the realities of life. It helps them know and understand that there are many children who might not be as lucky as them,” added Martelli.

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International effort

A volunteer-based project, Mila was created with the help of 350 animation professionals from 35 countries. It has won more than 20 international awards so far and is a torchbearer of hope for artists who have wonderful ideas but are cash-strapped to realise them.

“Animation is a powerful medium because it has the ability to touch our core. When you find a medium with visuals that allow us to go deep into people’s souls, it’s then that you can make the impossible a reality. I am happy to see animation evolving as a form of art and not just a genre,” said Angelini.

“This magic cannot be created by artificial intelligence,” she added.

The Sharjah Animation Conference was a five-day flagship event organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA). The conference was a haven for anyone interested in the visual art of expression and was well attended by not just enthusiasts but also producers, artists, animators, creators, and different stakeholders of the industry.