This year’s Festival, now in its eighth year, was held from September 30 to October 3, and attracted some of the best and brightest animators from around the globe to Trinidad to share both their knowledge and their body of work.
The annual hosting of Animae Caribe has resulted in significant strides being made for the animation industry in the region. Thanks to an increasing roster of sponsors from prominent local and international corporations and institutions, this year the Festival was able to expand its reach to touch an even larger group of artists and supporters. bmobile, as a major corporate sponsor to the festival for 2009, encouraged the formation of the bmobile -Animae Caribe Animation Challenge, which pitted the best animator groups from the University of Trinidad and Tobago and the University of the West Indies against independent animators to produce 10-15 second stop motion animations using a phone and the bmobile logo.
Other major sponsors included First Citizens Bank, The Trinidad Guardian Newspaper and GIE Network Magazine, the Hyatt Regency Hotel, NIHERST, TEMPO, the Royal College of Art and NALIS.
These organisations join longstanding sponsors which include UTT, The Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival, Toon Boom Animations Inc, Full Circle Productions, Colthrust PR and SightFACTORY Web Development Studio.
Two well-known studios – Disney Animation Studios and the Sesame Workshop were featured in workshops. Sesame Street which has been on the cutting-edge of both animation and puppetry for the past 40 years was represented by Odin Dupeyron, a long standing puppeteer and performer with the studio.
Bringing with him the character he portrays on Plaza S?samo – Sesame Street in Latin America – Pancho Contreras, Dupeyron thrilled participants at the puppetry workshop as well as at the School’s Day at UTT’s O’Meara Campus.
Peter Deluca who has worked for many years with Disney Animation Studios presented a workshop on animation in which he shared in greater detail his experiences working in one of the most popular animation studios in the world. Deluca has 15 film credits to his name including work on the highly anticipated Disney animation, The Princess and the Frog, due for release in December. His work also includes Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, Lilo and Stitch and Brother Bear.
Other workshops featured the art of traditional hand-drawn animation, airbrushing and stop-motion animation, given by professionals from Cuba, North America and the Caribbean.
Each day of the Festival featured screenings from animators from across the globe including Latin America, North America, Europe, Asia and of course the Caribbean. Screenings were held all over Trinidad – in Port-of-Spain – at NALIS, at the Fernandes Compound in Laventille and outdoors on the Brian Lara Promenade. Screenings were also held in UWI, St Augustine, Movie Towne in Westmoorings, and the UTT Campus, O’Meara, Arima.
Two important initiatives were advanced at this year’s Festival – the trailer for the ambitious full-length animated feature on Anansi the Spider – The Ananci Chronicles – was premiered.
Animae Caribe Founder and Creative Director, Camille Abrahams and her team of animators at Full Circle Studios have also begun work on a 13-episode animated series for television also entitled The Anansi Chronicles.
An important collaboration between Canada and Trinidad and Tobago was also spotlighted. In an effort to boost the animation industry locally, the Festival organisers have entered into discussions with Toon Boom International, a leading animation technology provider based in Canada to invest in, as well as offer technical assistance to future local productions.
Animae Caribe activities specially geared toward youth saw hundreds of students descend on the O’Meara campus of UTT for the Schools Day and Chalk Art Expo. Later that evening the celebration continued at the Corner Bar where the Festival hosted a Salute to Young Pioneers in Art where up and coming artists and animators were presented with the Octopus Awards – the alternative to the Animae Caribe Awards. The Octy, as the award is fondly called, was presented to young, creative and dynamic designers, storytellers and artists from the region.
The 2009 Animae Caribe Festival culminated with the Animation Awards Gala at the Hyatt where the best talent of the region and the world were lauded for their talent and creativity.
Camille Selvon Abrahams, Animae Caribe’s founder and Creative Director stated: “2009 will be remembered as a significant year for Animae Caribe – particularly in the realm of education and training.
“At the opening of the Festival last Wednesday we were encouraged by the support and commitment we received from both Government and private enterprise to invest in our young people through advanced training opportunities and the development of international standards.
We also look forward, through our collaboration with Toon Boom Animation, to the development of more business opportunities for our local animators.”