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State Minister for Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, has expressed confidence that Jamaica has the talent to attract investment in the animation industry and satisfy the demand for labour.

“We know we have the people…we know we can, through our investment promotions, attract the companies here,” he stated.

The State Minister was speaking at the opening of the KingstOOn animation conference and film festival on June 20 at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge on the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).

He noted, however, that investment must be made in training and education to ensure that the country has the appropriate skills in sufficient numbers.

This type of training, Mr. Robinson said, must begin in secondary schools, to give students the option of developing careers in animation and “provide the opportunity for employment creation and foreign exchange earnings.”

Organised by the Government in partnership with the World Bank, the Canadian High Commission, and JAMPRO, the two-day KingstOOn festival seeks to chart the way forward for the country to develop a world-class animation sector and tap into the lucrative global industry, which was valued at US$146 billion at the end of 2012.

The event will raise awareness among key stakeholders, entrepreneurs and creators about the emerging opportunities in Jamaica; give visibility to the pool of talented young Jamaicans and regional artists; identify key challenges in the industry, and examine feasible solutions, which will allow Jamaica to be a part of the global network for outsourcing and creative content.

Activities got underway yesterday with a conference and exhibition, which attracted scores of creative industry players, policy makers, and students, as well as representatives of top international animation educational institutions and companies.

There was a lively panel discussion with participation from the State Minister Robinson, local television production representatives, and players in the international animation arena, such as Ron Saks of Columbus College of Art and Design.

The session highlighted and examined the contributions to be made by government, the education and private sectors in the development of the animation industry, as well as the plans that are being put in place to ensure that Jamaica benefits from the dynamic and growing global sector.
The forum also explored the issue of the digital divide; the business of animation as it relates to production, distribution, and exploitation of intellectual property; developing a career as an animator; and the challenges facing local animators and production companies.

The event concludes today (June 21), with animators pitching their creative ideas to a panel of judges, consisting of renowned local and international animators, with the hope of having their ideas selected development. Awards will also be presented to winners in various categories.

 

By Alphea Saunders, JIS Reporter