NATPE decision-makers have created a new event dedicated to animation and special effects. From May 8 to 11 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, NATPE’s first annual Animation & Special Effects Expo, also known as ANIFX, takes off.
In a discipline where festivals and conferences seem to be constantly multiplying, Bruce Johansen, president and CEO of NATPE, sees ANIFX as something different. ‘We checked around and found there aren’t any other markets; they tend to be festivals, like the [L.A. Animation Festival]. There was an exhibit floor, but [ANIFX] will be much larger and more comprehensive. . . . There are a lot of dimensions to this conference that you wouldn’t normally find at a festival . . . and the special effects add another dimension.’
With this ‘more comprehensive’ conference, NATPE hopes to draw interest from both the deal making and creative sides of the business, as well as those trying to break into the business. Daily seminars deal with everything from how to get a job in animation and the importance of good writing in animation to marketing animated entertainment and licensing for the children’s market.
Some other dimensions that make the conference effective, says Johansen, include providing a meeting place for those already in the business and those who want to learn more about the industry.
‘It offers an opportunity for people who want to go up the career rank and rub shoulders with the decision-makers. Not just people in television, but in the entertainment industry in general. It’s also an opportunity for the advertising community to mix with producers and distributors. It’s an opportunity for the international people to obtain licensing and merchandising rights, so there is that market element. It’s an opportunity for distributors to sell to TV stations and other outlets.’
According to Johansen, the decision was made to spread the conference over a four-day period that includes a weekend in the hopes of attracting two different crowds. ‘Thursday and Friday will probably draw more of the suits and, Saturday and Sunday, more of the actual creative element.’
Two thousand people are estimated to attend and, at press time, 70 companies had signed on as exhibitors.