Local animators and illustrators should ready their sketch pads, tablets and laptops – and gear up for next month’s return of the KingstOOn Animation Festival. Created for the benefit of a fledgling animation industry, KingstOOn features workshops, presentations and competitions designed for practising and aspiring animators to learn the nuances of the global animation industry, to earn from their engagement in animation on any level, and to display Afro-descendant animated content in the festival.
“It’s not just a festival, it’s a conference where we can learn about the nuances of the industry, both on the business side and the creative side,” animation specialist Robert Reid said during a Gleaner Editors’ Forum earlier this week.
With the intent to develop the animation sector of the creative industry, the event will invite as many as 30 speakers, 10 of whom are local animators or persons who are involved in the local animation business.
Keynote speakers will include Kimberly Wright ( Sesame Street) on ‘Pitch Perfect: An Inside Look at Sesame Street’s Short Films and Animation Commissioning Process’, Jeff Brustrom (Hannah Montana, Good Luck Charlie) on ‘The Hero’s Journey: Creating Culturally Specific Content with Global Appeal’, and Rick Farmiloe (T he Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Shrek) on ‘Bringing Animated Characters to Life: Making your Characters Believeable’. There will also be workshops, including ‘3D Texturing and Shading for Animated Feature Films’ by Wayne Carnegie ( The Nut Job, Trollhunters) and ‘The Journey of 1,000 Frames’ by KingstOOn past winner, 3D modeller, and character artist Coretta Singer.
Some presentations will focus on topics such as investing in and financing animated products and what makes a good pitch for children’s television. In addition to hands-on workshops and presentations from business and creative experts, there will be screenings and displays – as part of a competition that has grown exponentially in the festival’s short life.
According to Reid, the first installation of KingstOOn pulled approximately 135 submissions for display. In 2016, the number increased to approximately 900. “Over the eight-month period from April 2018 to November 2018, KingstOOn Animation Festival tallied a total of 1,800 submissions in the form of short films, feature films, character designs, storyboards, etc., from over 105 countries. It was very impressive – a major step up the ladder for us,” Reid said.
Those submissions will be judged and whittled down to the best of the best in a closing ceremony that will see prizes awarded in eight categories.
Kenia Mattis, co-founder and CEO of Listen Mi Caribbean, was full of praise for the festival. “KingstOOn presents an amazing opportunity for us to showcase our work. We entered and were shortlisted in three categories (Best Animated Film, Best Concept, Best Storyboard), and we’ve been developing and honing our skills towards the development of quality animated products.”
KingstOOn Animation Festival is scheduled to take place from April 5-7 at the University of Technology, Jamaica. The festival is free and open to the public, but because workshop spaces are limited, organisers implore interested persons to register online at kingstoonfest.com.