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Local artist is top draw in scholarship contest

Last Updated Jun 18, 2019 at 3:54 pm MST

Local artist and student Rasna Mantha joins five others out of 500 worldwide applicants to receive a scholarship from Vancouver Film School, one of the best animation schools in the world. PHOTO. Supplied by Rasna Mantha. IMAGE. Supplied by Vancouver Film School.

CORRECTION: Rasna Mantha is 30 years old, not 38. We apologize for the error.

Imagine drawing the next big animated movie from Disney and Dreamworks, or working on a big budget drama series for HBO or NetFlix!

That dream is a reality for local artist Rasna Mantha.

She won a scholarship from one of the world’s best animation schools, Vancouver Film School (VFS).

At 30 years old, Rasna is one of only six VFS chose from more than 500 worldwide applicants.

“I feel honoured and very grateful.” Rasna Mantha said. “It makes it easier for me to pay off the tuition fee. I don’t need to have that worry on my mind, and I can focus on my work at school.”

It wasn’t unnatural to see Rasna Mantha drawing something when she was a kid.

Drawing almost every day since childhood, Rasna said her love of drawing extends from her father.

“I’ve always been drawing since I was ten years old. My dad is an artist, too, and he works at Suncor. He decided to be an engineer, but I’m grateful that I got his talent.”

Equally remarkable about Rasna’s story is her story almost didn’t take place.

Long journey

Three years ago, Rasna suffered a severe medical condition resulting in amnesia.

However, she could always call upon her talent, in particular through the rough times.

“I had two seizures, and forgotten a chunk of my memory. The only thing I have not forgotten is how to draw, and that’s something that’s given me the confidence and motivation to pursue my dreams.”

Rasna also draws motivation from a television show called “Love, Death, and Robots.”

Found on NetFlix, Rasna said different artists draw each episode in their individual styles, so no one episode is the same as the others.

“Love, Death, and Robots is one thing that totally inspired me to do what I love.”

Rasna took that inspiration to heart when she pursued her childhood dreams.

She said the decision to leave full-time employment as an electrical and computer engineer was difficult but necessary.

“I was just not happy. The engineering field wasn’t that easy, and [my] last experience wasn’t pleasant. I think the experience is something that pushed me to get out of it and do what I like. “

Doing what she likes drew the attention of VFS and Pixar animator, Michal Makarewicz.

After joining Pixar in 2003, Makarewicz worked on award-winning films like The Incredibles, Cars, Wall-E, Toy Story 3, and Ratatouille.

Teaching at VFS since 2005, Makarewicz chose Rasna to receive a partial scholarship from VFS, where she plans to attend this fall.

Using her talents, Rasna Mantha hopes to influence positive change in the world.

“I [want] to use my talent as a power to create the positive change, even if it’s small, because even small things matter.”

Rasna’s first year at VFS begins in fall of 2019.