HUANG Jialei has witnessed the growth of the China International Cartoon and Animation Festival. Ten years ago, when the event began, he saw only one person cosplay a character of local animation “Qin’s Moon” at the festival, but this year two teams containing tens of players cosplayed the anime.
Huang is marketing director of the Hangzhou Xuanji Animation Company, which produces the animation series “Qin’s Moon,” popular among Chinese teenagers. He also noticed a big increase this year in the number of interview requests — an indication of growing interest in the event.
“It proves the growth of the festival,” said Huang of the weeklong event that ended Saturday.
During its 10-year history, the event has touched another Hangzhou animation company — ZN Cartoon Group. ZN started to promote its animation products at the festival in 2005, and since last year ZN Shopping Center, its animation-themed shopping mall, has been one of the festival’s venues.
“The festival is getting better and larger, and so is our company under the festival’s promotion,” said Zhan Yi’nan, film marketing manager of the group. The company introduced a Transformers exhibition during this year’s festival.
In contrast to the first CICAF, which resided in a used-car lot, the 10th edition was held at its own main venue, Baima Lake Cartoon and Animation Square. The 80,000-square-meter site included four main parts: exhibition, forum, competition and activity.
The 10th CICAF lured 602 enterprises and organizations from 74 countries and regions. Some 1.36 million people visited the festival, and trade involving the 285 programs in the event totaled 11.2 billion yuan (US$1.78 billion). In addition to the programs themselves, transaction volume of cartoon and animation products reached 2.6 billion yuan.
One way that CICAF boosts the industry is by being a key platform for prizes and the release of animation news. Concurrent to CICAF, the first China Animation, Cartoon and Game Industry Summit Forum was held last week, in which discussions took place over strategies for packaging animation, cartoons and games and how they relate to e-commerce.
CICAF participants marveled at how technology has helped them. “Today any content in the world can find itself audiences,” said Paul Barbaro, Asia sales manager of MipTV in France attending the Hangzhou summit. “To participate in international markets is the first step, and then it’s the question about time.”
Domestic companies also are increasingly involved. During the festival, Tudou.com, one of China’s leading video websites, announced it will invest 100 million yuan this year to launch a “cartoon and animation creation and investment program.”
The idea is to create a new media platform to support individuals and companies working on manga and anime in China by helping them with production, marketing, broadcasting and sales.
Tudou.com is considered a rising star in the cartoon and animation industry.
Some criticize the festival as overly commercial.
“It’s more about selling and buying, while our festival is more about artistic films and artists,” said Daniel Suljic, artistic director of Animafest Zagreb.
Cythia Slavens, director of production mastering at Pixar Animation Studios, agreed. “It doesn’t seem very oriented toward screening, but more speech-based, panel discussion-based, more like a business convention,” she said.
Source: Shanghai Daily