Attempting the “impossible”: With artist and storyteller Usman Riaz

“Nobody does animation here,” Usman Riaz recalls telling his wife while discussing ideas for a story; she replied, “why don’t you do it then?” Now, the artist, composer, TED Fellow, and the founder of Karachi’s Mano Animation Studios, is on his way to completing The Glassworker (شیشہ گر), Pakistan’s first hand-drawn animation film.

“Our toughest challenge has been convincing people that this [film] is possible,” says Riaz.

The project was made possible by a team of creatives from Pakistan, Malaysia, Canada, South Africa, the US and the UK. A Kickstarter campaign and the TED stage was a significant help as well.

The film is set for release some time in 2021.

Watch our interview with the 28-year-old to learn his journey as an artist; how he came to launching Mano and finding funding for Glassworker; why he chooses to stay in Pakistan, and what his creative influences are.

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