Last Thursday the island of Jamaica opened its doors to the global animation industry at the staging of its two-day animation conference and festival held June 20-21. The activities were held to highlight and also promote job opportunities among the island’s talented youths and also to position the country as the next animation hub.
KingstOOn, held at the University of The West Indies Mona Visitors Lodge and Conference Center brought together both local and international leaders, universities, government officials, animation professionals and amateurs all with the aim of showcasing Jamaica’s ever increasing cadre of local animators and visual artists.
Jamaica’s Minister of Industry and Commerce Anthony Hylton said, “Jamaica is perfectly positioned to reap the benefits of the expanding animation industry, which generated more than US$100 billion in revenue globally last year.”
The government minister went on to cite a number of reasons including the fact that Jamaica shared a common language with some of the major content producers, the U.S., Canada and the U.K. He also highlighted the proximity and time zone which allows for real time collaboration. Minister Hylton also touched on the islands rich cultural heritage and our pull towards technology, which is highlighted in the creative output of the nation’s youths.
The conference had workshops and discussion panels. There was also a competition which had winners in various categories including best script and story board, best experimental animation, best character and best final animation product. Global leaders in the animation industry including Toon Boom, Bento Box, the Shadow Gang and A&S Animation participated as panelists, competition judges and also trainers.
A number of sponsors provided the prizes for the competition which were mostly international scholarships, internships and licenses to specialized software and hardware.
KingstOOn was an initiative by the Jamaican government in partnership with the World Bank, the government of Canada, JAMPRo and Toon Boom Inc.