Cinematic Arts Department hosts event to mark annual World Animation Day

By Emily Nyabere

Last week, the Cinematic Arts Department hosted a webinar celebrating World Animation Day. Those in attendance were, Animation artists, industry stakeholders, representatives from other institutions, USIU –Africa students and faculty among others. The virtual event was host to people from different industry sectors, different parts of the country and even different parts of the world, with key guests joining the forum to address the audience from Miami, USA as well as Montreal, Canada.

The event was graced by the Associate DVC – Academic Affairs, Prof. Munyae Mulinge who noted that the B.A Animation program at USIU – Africa was born out of the institution’s demand-driven, talent growing expansion agenda. In his remarks he reminded the institution as well as other educators and supporters of the animation industry of the immense collective responsibility that they had in ensuring that the talent that the youth are imbued with is properly harnessed. He also encouraged mentorship and growth of the young people through marking and celebrating important occasions such as the World Animation Day, which is one of the mainstays in USIU-Africa’s events calendar.

Also present at the webinar were Immaculate Juma – an advocate of the high court and founder of Art Law Kenya, Harto Muhato – Chair of the Association of Animation Artistes Kenya (A3K), Kwame Nyong’o of Apes in Space Animation as well as an adjunct Prof at the Cinematic Arts Department, Shadrack Munene – Head of Animation at ADMI (Africa Digital Media Institute) and Daniel Santos, Toon Boom Sales Director in EMEA & APAC regions. The panelists spoke on a number of issues pertinent to the field, including how to bridge the gap between academia and industry, industry representation by associations, the business of Animation as well as legalities surrounding creative’s work. One of the University’s partners, AdaLabs Africa, was at hand to shed more light on their current partnership with the Cinematic Arts Department, who they have partnered with to establish an ongoing animation boot camp.

Miami-based Dean Lyon, famously known as director of VFX for the “Lord of the Rings trilogy” crowned the evening as a special treat for the animators. With a wealth of over 30 years’ experience in the animation and film industry, he had a lot to show and tell. His works and words awed and inspired the audience.

He concluded his session with a screening of an ad that he did for Ford that echoes his sentiment of a good story will always sell. Speaking at the close of the session, Edward Mulandi, a participant noted that animation was how he experienced the world around him.

“Animation has always been a part of my pop cultural diet. It has opened me up to new cultures to me especially through Japan's Studio Ghibli animation films and now the exciting series and shows that Netflix acquire and produces. I am excited that African animators who are claiming this medium for themselves. Seeing the Faiba ads from Fatboy Animation to @nashohmy's work getting recognition on Twitter has been wonderful to watch. I love animation, and my life would be poorer without it!” he said.

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