Come Friday April 5, the main campus of the University of Technology Jamaica will be transformed into an international Animation festival village. This will mark the third staging of the KingstOOn Animation Conference hosted by the Government of Jamaica under the Youth Employment in the Digital and Animation Enterprises (YEDAI), in collaboration with the World Bank.Organiser say its reloaded and ready to boost youth employment opportunities.
With youth unemployment still lagging significantly behind the national average (19.4% and 8.7% respectively in the 3rd quarter of 2018), the main thrust of the festival is to promote animation as a viable career option through its many manifestations (games, non-entertainment activities, feature films, etc.).
“Jamaica is positioned to reap significant benefits from this rapidly growing animation industry, which generated more than US$259 billion in revenue globally last year,” said Prime Minister Andrew Holness, in his message through the festival’s official magazine. He argued that digital driven enterprises such as those within the animation industry enable the finest minds from small islands like ours to collaborate seamlessly across borders with global leaders and to compete more vigorously. KingstOOn 3 will help them to build capacity through the requisite insights and training.
On June 20, 2013 when Jamaica officially opened its doors to the global animation industry through KingstOOn, there was a mood of expectation and guarded optimism. It brought together international and Jamaican industry leaders, universities, businesses, Government officials, animation professionals and amateurs, students, and young dreamers to showcase Jamaica’s growing crop of local animators and visual artists.
World Bank input
“As foundation partners, the World Bank continues its active involvement and support on this journey. KingstOOn is a great opportunity to place the rich talent of Jamaica’s youths in the international spotlight. I look forward to an exciting event and the many opportunities that will be derived to accelerate the growth of the industry and to increase youth employment.” said Galina Sotirova, Country Manager (Jamaica & Guyana) in the Latin America and the Caribbean Region of the World Bank.
Since 2016, KingstOOn has expanded from two to three days with the Afro-Descendant Film Festival running throughout the event.On the ground, there has been steady growth in the offerings of technical and business training in animation and even the inclusion of the subject area ‘Animation and Game Design’ on the regional CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate) roster.
Entries to KingstOOn have also increased significantly since its inception from approximately 300 in 2013, to over 900 in (2016) and has exceeded 1800 (from 105 countries) this year.
KingstOOn 3 will build on the successes of 2013 and 2016, once again with three concurrent core themes: LEARN, EARN and DISPLAY. This will include content specific workshops, seminars and keynote addresses while creating the space for the exchange of knowledge and experiences, via panel discussions and networking events. Kingstoon 3 will showcase Jamaica as a rich source of Afro-descendant stories and a hub for both academic exploration and animation production.