Local March 11, 2016 | 8:55 am

First Regional Afro Descent Film Festival and Animation ‘Oscars’ to open its doors

Kingston, Jamaica.-Hundreds of professional animators and artists from across the globe and theCaribbean region – including executives from Cartoon Networkand South Africa’s most successful animation studio Triggerfish- are gathering this weekend in Kingston for an internationalanimation conference and the first Afro film festival in the region. Thisinitiative is led by the Government of Jamaica in collaboration with the WorldBank and the Caribbean Development Bank, and will take place on March 12 and 13at the Edna Manley School for the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston.

Incoming Minister of Energy, Science andTechnology Dr Andrew Wheatley said “Jamaica’sanimation industry is maturing and there is scope for more members of ourpopulation, and especially our youth, to capitalize on the potentials withinthe sector. Under this new administration, our commitment is not only forjob creation but for the development of the Information, Communication andTechnology (ICT) sector and to ensure that an increasing number of youths willbe able to find gainful employment in this area and to begin creating their ownjobs, while maximizing the growing opportunities that are being generatedlocally and internationally.”

Under the themes of Learn, Earn and Display,KingstOOn 2016 will comprise of an animation conference, acompetition for Caribbean artists, a marketplace to link content producers withbuyers, and an International Film Festival. A record number of 938 entries from93 countries were received and entrants will compete for awards in thecategories of Storyboard, Character Design, Short Film and Concept in theRegional Competition, and the categories of International Student Film,International Short Film and International Feature Film in the InternationalFilm Festival.

KingstOOn is a part of the Youth Employment in Digital and AnimationIndustries Project, funded by the World Bank. “KingstOOn is abouteconomic development and job opportunities for Caribbean’s youth inparticular,” said World Bank Country Director, Sophie Sirtaine.“For years we have been working on these issues with Governments, privatesector, and other key social actors in the region, and we realized the need tothink outside the box and look for new solutions to the regions crippling youthunemployment”.

This project builds on successful pilots and the firstKingstOOn conference which helped create new startups and position theCaribbean as a potential hub for the animation and tech industry. Caribbeancountries that will be represented at KingstOOn are Jamaica, Trinidad &Tobago, Barbados, St. Kitts & Nevis, Martinique and Jamaica. Othercountries to be represented are Algeria, Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Spain,Nigeria, Switzerland, Slovakia, South Africa and Tanzania.

Shortlisted finalists are currently being reviewed by apanel of international and local judges, including executives from Bento Box,Triggerfish Studios and Cartoon Network Latin America and the Caribbean; Oscarnominee Studio Manager from Guatemala; and renowned VFX artists and lead animators.

"At Cartoon Network Latin America, we support theLatin American animation industry. We are always on the lookout for new talentthat can be a great fit for what we do. That is why we are attending KingstOOn:it provides the right setting for us to get a feel of the industry, while atthe same time giving us the opportunity to make a contribution to it”, said HernanLaGreca, Senior Director of Original Productions for Cartoon Network LatinAmerica and the Caribbean.

The Awards will be announced Sunday, March 13th, atKingstOOn 2016 Awards Ceremony. Following the event, all winners from theRegional Competition will be offered the opportunity to enter the selectionprocess for a full scholarship at Capilano University Summer Programme,and the opportunity to negotiate distribution rights with Global Over The TopContent Distributors.

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