Animation festival on

The KingstOOn Animation Festival, which started yesterday, continues until Sunday at University of Technology (UTech), St Andrew. The event returns after a three-year hiatus.

“We have an amazing line-up of 30 local and international rock stars from both the animation and film industry,” Robert Reid, animation specialist, told the Jamaica Observer.

Reid, who heads the Youth Employment in the Digital and Animation Industries Project in the Office of the Prime Minister, said KingstOOn 3 returns to take advantage of the global animation industry which is worth US$259 billion.

The event was initially planned for January, but was rescheduled.

“We had to reschedule the event from January to April to give us more time to adequately strengthen areas, to ensure the event is in keeping with the goals and objectives,” he said.

Across the three days, there will be expert animation panels and keynote presentations from the invited industry personnel on a wide variety of topics to help local producers understand the global opportunities and challenges. Industry guests range from Kim Wright, film producers for Sesame Workshop; animator Wayne Carnegie, who worked on such hits as The Nut Job; 17-year Walt Disney Company veteran Jeff Brustrom; to Jamaica’s own Corretta Singer. Additionally, workshops will be held allowing full interaction with professional 2D and 3D animators.

“The workshops will delve into the technical aspects of animation, with case studies, demonstrations of 2D and 3D software possibilities, as well as career development prospects with participating national and overseas colleges specialising in the trade.”

First staged in 2015, KingstOOn Animation Festival retains the competition elements of its past stagings. There will also be a pitch competition this afternoon in which selected animators will attempt to sell their production ideas to a panel of judges.

Reid summed up the aims of KingstOOn in three words: earn, learn and display.

“KingstOOn provides participants, and in particular Caribbean animators and associated professionals, with the avenues to continue to learn the nuances of the global animation pipeline, by engaging directly with global industry leaders in various aspects of the business of animation, including education. Secondly, it can create opportunities for participants to earn from their engagement in animation at any level, by facilitating the creation of pitch decks and pairing pre-qualified individuals with potential content. Finally, they can display Afro-descendant animated content in the Animation Film Festival, by showcasing content developed by studios from around the world that speak to the afro-descendant reality.”

Currently, the local animation industry has grown from four understaffed animation studios in Kingston to employing 40 to 50 animators, to 2018 where 32 high schools and HEART Trust/NTA have been offering animation and game design programmes with a reported over 400 persons taking advantage of the training.

“There are currently three bachelors programmes and two associate programmes in Jamaica,” Reid added.