Thanks to a joint effort by international animation organizations, trade show facilitators and a sprinkling of corporate sponsors such as MTV, the World Animation Celebration (WAC) returns for a second year at the landmark Pasadena Civic Center from February 16 to 21. Co-produced by the International Animated Film Association (ASIFA) Hollywood, Women in Animation and the International Visual Effects Society, among others, this year’s festival focuses on the ever-increasing popularity of animation within feature films, TV, commercials and a widening roster of new media, according to festival director Leslie Sullivan. By targeting the technological, artistic and business sides of the industry, WAC expects to top last year’s head count of 20,000 attendees.
The International Business Conference for Television Animation (IBCTA), held concurrently at Pasadena’s Doubletree Hotel, gets down to business with two intensive days of industry panel discussions on subjects ranging from international co-productions to financing. Panelists include Tom Freston, chairman and CEO of MTV Networks, Nelvana’s Michael Hirsh, Nickelodeon’s Albie Hecht, DIC’s Andy Heyward, DreamWork’s David Simon and Sunbow’s C.J. Kettler, among many others.
Key events include the World Animation Competition, which offers cash prizes, awards and commissions to winners in more than 40 competitive categories, and the Klasky Csupo Screenwriting Competition with US$10,000 in prizes. A wealth of WAC screenings offer feature film premieres, tributes, retrospectives and special shows. New this year is the World Celebration of Anime, a festival within the festival celebrating the art of anime.
Perhaps the most unique event of the week is the World Animation Marathon, wherein 2,000 students produce an animated film in one day, as part of a career opportunities expo.