Nina Sabnani


Nina Sabnani is an artist, animation director and illustrator based in Mumbai since 2006. Currently, she is an Associate Professor at the Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay where she recently completed her Doctoral Research. Her area of research concerned Storytelling models in India, with a particular focus on the Kaavad tradition of Rajasthan.

She was a senior designer at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad where she taught in the areas of Animation and Visual Communication for twenty two years. She graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, MS University, Vadodara and trained further at NID in Animation Film Design. She received a UNDP fellowship, which took her to study animation in Belgium, The Netherlands and UK. She was actively involved in setting up the first Advanced Entry Program in Animation at NID in 1985.

Nina pursued her MA at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University, NY, USA, as a recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship in 1997. At Syracuse she studied Multimedia and Television. On her return she initiated and developed the curriculum for a Post Graduate Programme in New Media, which commenced in 2001. In 2002 she organized Sutra, an International Conference on Storytelling in the Digital Age, jointly with MIT Media Lab and Media Lab Asia following which she was invited by Glorianna Davenport to MIT, USA, to speak about Experiences in Interactive Art. Her interest in primary education and storytelling led her to lead research projects for Ford Foundation at NID. Her last assignment at NID was heading the Post Graduate campus at Gandhinagar.

She has been teaching illustration, script writing and storyboarding, storytelling and simultaneously making films on diverse issues. She has experimented in transposing artistic styles into animation. Her film Shubh Vivah, uses the Madhubani style of painting to dwell on the anti-dowry issue. She has also animated K G Subramanyan’s picture book, A Summer Story. Her model animation film on the birth of zero in India called All About Nothing was subsequently turned into an illustrated book for Tulika. Her film “Mukand and Riaz” is an animated documentary about partition based on a true life story, in an unusual technique using textiles, embroidery and appliqué. She has illustrated several books for Tulika publishers, Chennai which have been translated in many languages.

Her most recent films are the “Makers of Tales”(a documentary on the itinerant storytellers of Rajasthan), “The Stitches Speak” (an animated documentary celebrating the work of the women artisans of Kutch in their own tongue and also made into an illustrated book for children (Stitching Stories). Her latest animated film is Baat Wahi Hai (It’s the same story) that is a collaborative work with the traditional artists and storytellers of the Kaavad tradition.


2011 Jury’s Special Merit Certificate for Baat Wahi Hai:The Animation Society of India

2011 Jury’s Special mention for Baat Wahi Hai: International Video Film Festival

2011 Commendation for Material Culture for Tanko Bole Chhe : Royal Anthropology Institute
Film Festival, UK

2011 Best Documentary Film award for Tanko Bole Chhe: Cinequest Film Festival, San Jose,

2011 Ledo Matteolis award for Best Immigration Story for Tanko Bole Chhe: Humbolt Film
Festival California, USA

2011 Honorable mention for Tanko Bole Chhe: Talking Pictures, Illinois, USA

2010 Stellar Selection Animation awardfor Tanko Bole Chhe: Annual Black Maria Film and
Video Festival New Jersey, USA

2010 Best Short Animation film Professional for Tanko Bole Chhe: IDPA (Indian
Documentary Film Producers’ Association), MUMBAI

2010 Best Short Animation film for Tanko Bole Chhe: Bollywood and Beyond Film Festival,
Stuttgart, Germany

2010 Best Creative film for Tanko Bole Chhe: International Short Film Festival of India,

2010 Best Short Animation film Professional: special Jury Award, for Tanko Bole Chhe

2010 Best Social Welfare film Professional for Tanko Bole Chhe: FICCI-BAF awards,

2008 Best Animation Film award for Mukand and Riaz at the International Video Film Festival

2007 Certificate of merit for Mukand and Riaz at Tokyo Broadcasting System, Japan

2007 Outstanding International Book USA award for My Mother’s Sari

1998 State Lalit Kala Academy award for painting

1985 Best Animation film prize for Drawing! Drawing! at the SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL

All books by Nina Sabnani