Like many documentaries today, “The Eyes of Thailand” film is incorporating animations to help illustrate key events in the film for which we don’t have photos or video footage.

We’re working with Tahnee Gehm, a student at the California Institute of the Arts, studying Character Animation, to create seven (7) animations, including: illustrating how two elephant landmine survivors (Motala and Baby Mosha) arrived at the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) Elephant Hospital, why the Founder Soraida Salwala decided to open FAE in 1993, and how to build an elephant-sized prosthesis.

“Inspired by Nang Yai, or traditional Thai shadow puppets, the animations were created digitally in a space that emulates a light source that casts shadows,” explains Tahnee. “The moods of the pieces are emphasized with the color of the light. With animation, more cinematic opportunities are available for story-telling than might be available in traditional shadow puppetry. Still, the spirit of shadow puppets was kept alive by creating characters with hinged limb movements.”

Below are three still frames from the film’s animations.

Mother elephant feeding the Buddha.

Many believe the Buddha was once born as a baby elephant. The still frame above shows the Mother elephant feeding the young Buddha.

Buddha's eyes

The Buddha grows up to a majestic elephant, who refuses to eat or drink until he can feed his blind, old mother.

Elephant Triumph

Soraida Salwala stood in front of an armored truck for 25 hours before the authorities relented and released the elephants, who were scheduled to be exported to a zoo.

We look forward to hearing what you think about the animations.