currently researching african animation : interested in compiling a database of practitioners in various sub-saharan countries : welcome any postings from practitioners

Monday, August 17, 2009

Kenyan Animation: A3 Genesis, the dawn of a new era?

The recent event at the British Council, organised by the Association of Animation Artistes Kenya (A3) was a resounding success with a full house attendance. The speakers including Dumi, from Anamazing Workshop, South Africa, Claudia Lloyd from Tiger Aspect Studios, UK/Kenya and the Know Zone Team, all provided a great flavour of current commercial and non-profit productions that are running in Kenya, and South Africa. The event was even attended by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communication, Dr. Bitange Ndemo, a key player in mobilising and creating an environment conducive to helping the industry emerge.

The morning program of talks provided a space for Q&As with the attendees, which was at times "animated" - each speaker spoke of the commercial/ financial difficulties of launching animated series for an African audience, or as in the case of Tinga Tinga Tales, an international one. Amongst the topics of discussion were the role of a producer in securing funds. How funding/ investment is divided up amongst different contenders, distributors, merchandising, screening rights etc. The South African guest, spoke about the current incentives that exist in SA that provide a space to begin to look at an emergent industry. This proved to be an ideal spring board to look at the role of government bodies in facilitating and encouraging this sector to grow. Other speakers included the software company, ToonBoom representative, who presented in interesting overview of the possibilities of tapping into the global market. He also spoke of economic incentives in licensing of this software, to encourage use of legal copies, rather than pirated software - these included an encouraging 50 to 60% discount on the retail price, with room to negotiate.

The public were largely very receptive to all speakers. Some of the issues raised included: the importance of the dissemination of information from official bodies to the general public in a transparent and effective manner, the importance for educational institutions to recognise the merits of this field and to provide suitable in depth training, the artistic and technical skills that are required, what are the benefits of joining the association, the need for critical mass and collaboration.

The afternoon session included different workshops in Adobe After Effects, a master class by a Digital Matte Painter from Animal Logic/ Weta Digital, and a collection of screenings from local and other African animators, in the main foyer.

The event was bubbling with excitement and seemed largely positive, with current news of broadband reaching the general public, in the next couple of months, the possibilities seem endless... of course this enthusiasm could not help but be eclipsed but the fact that today, in Nairobi, like most days in the week, there is no power.
The power rationing is naturally having a detrimental effect on peoples ability to work and is debilitating....

For more info: you can go to Kenyan Animation
or the Official webpage for the association at this link has since gone dead and will redirect to a page that is archived on the Webarchive Association of Animation Artistes

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