JIS News

The Government will be investing in the training and education of animators, to ensure that the country has the requisite skills, in sufficient numbers, to meet the demand for the expertise both locally and internationally.

This was disclosed by State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, during an interview with JIS News at the closing of the KingstOOn animation conference and film festival on June 22, at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge, University of the West Indies (UWI).

He said that already, discussions have been held towards introducing animation education in the school system. The intention is to train students to become animation artists for film, television, video games, and the internet.

“We have met with the Ministry of Education and they have actually started putting together a curriculum for animation. We are going to ensure that the curriculum is consistent with what the industry actually wants…,” he told JIS News.

Mr. Robinson said the staging of the conference and film festival, which sought to give visibility to the pool of talented young Jamaican artists, will provide the catalyst for the development of animation as a major industry in Jamaica.

He informed that follow-up discussions have already commenced with the World Bank and Montreal-based Toon Boom, which is a major software development company, “about linking us with companies that are looking for opportunities to outsource to Jamaica, so we have already started the follow-up kind of actions.”

The State Minister expressed pleasure at the huge turnout and participation in the two-day event. “It has really been heartwarming to see the kind of turnout and enthusiasm that has been displayed here,” he told JIS News.

He praised the animators for the stellar work they produced in the various categories of the competition held, noting that the pieces were judged by a panel of internationally acclaimed adjudicators.

“I think it affirms to us that there is an abundance of talent and creativity out there in animation in Jamaica and we just need to put in place the systems and mechanisms to translate what is raw talent into an industry that can earn for Jamaica, foreign exchange, and provide employment for a lot of people, so it has really energised us,” he stated.

Over 135 entries were received in the categories of Best Final Animation Product or Advert; Best Experimental Animation; Best Storyboard/Script; and Best Character.

“Down to Earth” by Kira Clayton, was adjudged the Best Final Animation Product or Advert; Tanya Batson-Savage’s “Endeavour” won forBest Storyboard/Script; “Red Locks – The Village Ram”by George Hay, was the Best Character; while “HelloKingstOOn”by Kemar McInnis was the Best Experimental Animation.

The winners were presented with an array of prizes including scholarships, internships, and free internet service.

The two-day KingstOOn conference and film festival was organisedby the Government in partnership with the World Bank, the Canadian High Commission, and JAMPRO.

By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter

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