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Google Doodle Celebrates Late M’sian Animation Pioneer Kamn Ismail

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Collage Kamn
Source: Provided to WOB

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Previously, Google Doodle celebrated Malaysian zoologist Dr Lim Boo Liat and his achievements. Today, Google Doodle is honouring yet another Malaysian and it’s none other than the late Kamarudin Ismail, or more often referred to as Kamn Ismail, who was a leading figure in Malaysian animation.

Kamn was a pioneer in the use of computer technology and digital applications in animation during the 90s. He would’ve turned 67 today.

Kamn Ismail Doodle

17 years in KTMB before pursuing animation

When he finished school, Kamn pursued animation at McMillen Film Company and even helped produce the film “Paper Tiger” in 1975. However, his stint at the UK-based company didn’t last long.

Kamn had to pursue other jobs before throwing himself into animation full-time because the Malaysian animation industry was not yet a successful industry then. He served various positions at Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) for 17 years before leaving to pursue his lifelong passion for animation.

Kamnismail

When computers and technology gained traction in the 80s, Kamn was more than ready to hop on the bandwagon. He was very interested in expanding the use of computer for drawing purposes and attempted to produce more sophisticated cartoon animations.

With no experience, Kamn studied animation himself using a computer software that has been reworked to produce a local TV animation series, and his experiment was successful,” said Amir Hamzah Hashim, President of Malaysian Animation Association.

“The Animator Pro software agents also came to Malaysia to see how the software, which was not intended to produce 2D animation was used by Kamn Ismail to create animation.”

Screenshot 2023 02 08 112550

 

Although he initially faced some funding problems, he eventually gained the help and confidence of Syarikat Mega Universal Sdn Bhd in 1989 to create 2D and 3D presentations for product launches, for private companies and government bodies.

Creating Malaysia’s first animated series

From 1991 to 1997, Kamn joined Kharisma Pictures (M) Sdn Bhd where he formed and TRAINED the first batch of animators to create the first animation series, titled ‘Usop Sontorian’.

Usop Sontorian

The animated series was released for public viewing on RTM’s TV1 and became an instant hit throughout Malaysia, which served as a boost of confidence for the local animation industry at the time.

An episode from the animation series was even showcased at the 6th International Animation Festival in Hiroshima, Japan when Kamn represented the Malaysia delegation there in 1996.

Keluang Man

Kamn then joined UAS Animation Studios (M) Sdn. Bhd. as one of its directors in 1997. This is where his brainchild, the hit animation series, ‘Keluang Man’ was born.

Keluangman

It tells the story of a patient in a mental hospital in Tampoi named Borhan a.k.a. Keluang Man, who becomes a crime-fighting superhero at night with the help of his trusted sidekick Tiong Man.

Making his mark

When the economic crisis hit, the company he was with was affected. Unwilling to give up on his passion, Kamn established his own company, Quest Animations (M) Sdn. Bhd. in 2001 to publish and direct his own animation series.

Among the animations that he had produced under his own company were Che Nat, Kumang, Toman 1, Kumang Lagenda Sarawak, Lagenda Kinabalu, Pusaka, Pejuang, Duwi, Kiddo Science World, and Mat Kilau.

Screenshot 2023 02 08 112050

Although Kamn retired in 2016 due to health concerns, his work continued getting recognition. Mat Kilau has won several awards and has also been translated into other media platforms such as comics, Augmented Reality (AR), and a digital game.

His other works have also won awards at the 1st International Festival of Television Productions of Islamic Countries, held in Tehran, Iran in 2003, at the 16th Malaysian Film Festival as well as at the Anugerah Seri Angkasa 2005,

Screenshot 2023 02 08 112954

 

Subsequently, Kamn was awarded the 2012 Cartoon Activist Award (Tokoh Penggiat Kartun), which was presented by the prime minister at the time during the ‘Anda, PM & Kartunis’ programme. On April 1, 2018, the Malaysia Cartoon and Comic House together with Animas nominated him as the Malaysian Animation Icon on the Cartoonist Day awards night.

Community building and giving back

To further enhance the animation industry in the country and create public awareness, Kamn Ismail together with fellow animators Hassan Abd Muthalib and Hisham Harun Hashim founded Animation Society of Malaysia (Animas) in 2001.

The society aims to promote the standards of animation, support and encourage animation education, and also create public awareness on animation, its storytelling capabilities and expansion into emerging media.

Screenshot 2023 02 08 112424

To give back to the community, Kamn also accepted a position as a lecturer at the Faculty of Creative Writing, National Academy of Arts, Culture and Heritage (Aswara) and served until the end of his life.

“He was a good storyteller. He was a very fun dad; definitely a family man,” shared Dalila Kamarudin, Kamn’s daughter.

“At times, he can be so funny. Even when he’s angry, we don’t take him seriously and he would say, Hey, I’m angry, you know‘.”

 

On what would be his 67th birthday, we celebrate Kamn Ismail and his significant contribution to Malaysia’s animation.

Also read: Google Doodle Features Renowned M’sian Zoologist Dr Lim Boo Liat, Celebrating His Achievements

Also Read 9

Source: Wikipedia

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