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New U.S. ani-fest to pool emerging talent

Many of us could probably get to the moon and back with the air miles we earn each year for business travel, but if you're on the hunt for emerging toon talent, it may be wise to consider adding another pitstop to your 2007 travel schedule. Renowned animation festival planner Irene Kotlarz (who's been running events since the '60s in toon hubs like Cambridge, Bristol and Cardiff) has teamed up with Cartoon Network to launch a new fest called Platform in Portland, Oregon from June 25 to 30.
January 1, 2007

Many of us could probably get to the moon and back with the air miles we earn each year for business travel, but if you’re on the hunt for emerging toon talent, it may be wise to consider adding another pitstop to your 2007 travel schedule. Renowned animation festival planner Irene Kotlarz (who’s been running events since the ’60s in toon hubs like Cambridge, Bristol and Cardiff) has teamed up with Cartoon Network to launch a new fest called Platform in Portland, Oregon from June 25 to 30.

The mission of the event is to provide a forum for celebrating and exploring new developments in animation, a mandate that’s particularly apropos now, when media proliferation seems to be birthing new canvases for animated content almost daily. According to Kotlarz, there’s a feeling in the community that other fests aren’t doing a great job recognizing work in new media, which is making up more and more of animators’ overall business these days. Weighing this need and the fact that there isn’t a U.S. event that brings the region’s animators together in full strength, it became pretty clear to Kotlarz that an opportunity existed.

Using seed money from Cartoon, which is keen to foster a new generation of animators adept at creating content for platforms including mobile devices and the web, Kotlarz set about scouting locations and talking to folks in the industry about what the event should be.

In response to this feedback, she has come up with a comprehensive program that balances screenings and exhibitions with inspirational speakers (which were just being lined up at press time), networking opportunities and hands-on workshops. Platform also features a competition component that will award more than US$50,000 in 19 categories, including ‘Best Television Series for Children,’ ‘Best Film for Children’ and ‘Best Performance by an Animated Character.’ (Deadline for entry is March 1, and all the rules and regs are on-line at www.platformfestival.com.)

Platform is aiming to attract 1,000 attendees this first year, and Kotlarz expects animation students will come out in hordes. In order to make it easier for folks from all income brackets to participate fully, she’s keeping the price of all-access admission low at US$150 for the week (US$85 for students). JC

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