Jamaica, C'bbean have animation potential to develop and creativity to draw on – World Bank

Sunday, April 21, 2019

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Underscoring the global value of the animation indistry, the World Bank has commended the Government of Jamaica for the third staging of the KingstOOn Animation Conference and Afro Descendant Film Festival.

The conference was organised by the Office of the Prime Minister in collaboration with the World Bank, and staged at the University of Technology, Jamaica April 4-7 under the theme “Learn, Earn, Display”. It attracted participants from countries including South Africa, the Cameroon, USA, and Trinidad & Tobago.

Galina Sotirova, country manager for Jamaica & Guyana in the World Bank's Latin America and the Caribbean region, noted that KingstOOn falls under the World Bank-funded Youth Employment in the Digital Animation Industries (YEDAI) Programme.

“The animation industry is worth about US$250 billion and holds tremendous potential for the creativity and talent of Jamaica's youth. The YEDAI project aims to marry this creativity and talent with the huge opportunity of the world animation industry,” she explained.

“KingstOOn is a great opportunity to place the rich talent of Jamaica's youths in the international spotlight and help strengthen the animation industry which has the potential to significantly contribute to growth and creation of jobs. It is placing Jamaica and Caribbean talent in the spotlight and telling the industry: there is potential to develop and creativity to draw on,” Sotirova continued.

Professor Stephen Vascianne, president of UTech, said that the School of Computing and Information Technology, which offers the Bachelor of Science in Animation Production and Development, is playing its part in the development of the next generation of animation experts to demand and to capitalise on the emerging opportunities in the global animation industry.

He expressed appreciation to the World Bank for contribution to bolstering the digital animation programme and infrastructure at UTech, noting that the university has benefitted from the implementation of the World Bank/Government of Jamaica YEDAI project through resources valued at over $44 million for the benefit of students and members of faculty.

KingstOOn's top award, in the Emerging Animated Content Competition, was won by the “ListenMi Caribbean” team. Their Adventures of KamKam Space Explorer tells the tale of a headstrong Jamaican girl who wants to become a space explorer and go where no one has ever gone before. According to the team's pitch document, Kam Kam's “…boundless imagination propels her and Glow Juice – her favourite fishy squishy toy into the most 'intergalacticosmic' adventures.”

The competitors spent two intense days in a boot camp on the UTech campus being coached by local, regional and international industry heavyweights including: coordinator Camille Selvon Abrahams, director of Animae Caribe; Raquel Benitez, CEO, Comet Entertainment; Carlos Biern, business development consultant at OPM, Jamaica; D'Oyen Williams, programme manager at Digital Skills/SlashRoots Foundation; and Chara Hunter, senior producer at Big Studios Inc.

The final test was a pitch before a live audience under the scrutiny of a panel of international judges — Kimberly Wright, film producer of Semame Workshop; Mike Blum, founder, Pipsqueak Animation; Matt Fleckensein, founder, Creative Propulsion Laboratory and Golden Apple Productions; Don Perro, 2D instructor and coordinator, Capilano University; Adam Sale, 3D/VFX instructor and coordinator of VFX programmes, Capilano University; Carlos Biern, and Raquel Benitez.

Cresting the bundle of prizes team KamKam won is a trip to pitch at the prestigious MIP Junior Festival in France this October. The team is in advanced negotiations for global distribution and co-production and plans to go into production by 2020.


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