Jamaican Animation Company Lands International Contract

Photo: JIS Photographer Executive Director of GSW Animation Limited, Wayne Sinclair. The company was recently awarded an international contract for the production of 52 episodes of a cartoon series for global distribution.

Story Highlights

  • Local animation company, GSW Animation Limited, has secured an international contract for the production of an animation series
  • The contract is for the production of 52 episodes at 12-minute episodes for a series
  • GSW’s success has everything to do with Jamaica’s ability to produce excellence

Local animation company, GSW Animation Limited, has secured an international contract for the production of an animation series.

“The contract is for the production of 52 episodes at 12-minute episodes for a series that has already received global distribution,” says the company’s Executive Director, Wayne Sinclair.

The international partner will announce further details about the award soon.

Mr. Sinclair attributes the success to the company’s quality work and talent of its artistes, mainly from the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, who were put through a period of rigorous training and testing of international work from series such as Fox TV’s cartoon series ‘Bob’s Burgers’.

“The dedication of the staff and disciplined approach to adapting our work ethic to global standards have been key to us being able to produce at the quality standards that we have set,” he tells JIS News.

President and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian-based Toon Boom Animation Incorporated,Joan Vogelesang, tells JIS News that contracts such as that which was awarded to GSW are “high-end” deals.

She has high praises for the Jamaican company and the talent pool. “The capability, quality and responsiveness are very evident in GSW and in Jamaica in general, and that is very positive test case to go forward,” she says.

“The wonderful thing about GSW is that the quality that they have been able to put out from their studios, in a very short order, is actually very high and therefore they have been able to secure projects from Europe,” she adds.

Ms. Vogelesang says that GSW’s success has everything to do with Jamaica’s ability to produce excellence and believes that it augers well or the growth and development of the local animation industry.

The Government has been positing Jamaica to gain a foothold in the lucrative global industry, with Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) designated the lead agency in the thrust.

The government partnered with the World Bank and the Government of Canada to stage the two-day conference “KingstOOn” animation conference and film festival in June, and has convened a high-level working group to aid in facilitating the growth and development of the industry.

That taskforce has already begun its work and has started to craft the policy framework required to support all aspects of the industry, through the provision of an enabling environment.   The intent is to not only drive growth in this emerging sector but to position Jamaica as the animation hub of the entire Americas.

Mr. Sinclair expresses optimism about the development of the animation industry in Jamaica.  The local industry, he points out, has the opportunity to become service providers for international partners looking for a cost effective and efficient way to produce their content (entertainment, gaming, engineering, architecture etc.) and as developers and distributors of our own Intellectual Property (IP).

“Our global brand recognition and large Diaspora community make for a level of market acceptance that no other country has access to at such an early stage of their industry’s development,” he tellsJIS News.

He states that the “key restrictions are access to affordable capital and a large (in excess of 300) established pool of qualified animators that can produce according to global standards and work ethic.”

State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (STEM), Hon. Julian Robinson, is however confident 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 states.

Mr. Robinson points out 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,” he says, “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.”

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, notes further that the Government is in discussions with the HEART Trust/NTA for the inclusion of an animation workforce training course, to be added to its curriculum, to produce Jamaica’s first home grown batch of animators.

Vice President at Toon Boom with responsibility for Marketing and Communication,Karina Bessuodo,tells JIS News that she is moved by the level of preparation and the co-operation among stakeholder partners and government agencies, whose efforts, she says, are geared at creating an enabling environment for the industry to grow.

“It was very fascinating to see that all the educational institutions are ramping up to implement tactical training in order to supply GSW with the qualified workers needed to deliver the project it was awarded and build capacity to take on other projects here in Jamaica and the rest of the region,” she states, adding that the effort was also being made to secure a balance in gender placing for training.

Currently, the global animation industry, valued at over US$200 billion, is experiencing rapid growth, expanding by over $1 billion per year or about a 20 per cent yearly growth rate.

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