If a festival lasts 10 years, it means two things: first, the organizers are ambitious and determined; second, it is worthy. The 10th China International Cartoon and Animation Festival opens next Monday, and this year’s edition promises to be bigger than ever.
Many stories have been told during the past decade and Dong Yue, director of the Hangzhou Festival and Exhibition Office, which organizes CICAF, said the festival has done five things.
Cosplay Super Gala is an eye-catching show at the annual China International Cartoon and Animation Festival, which has attracted a large number of animation fans.
“It cultivated the city’s animation and cartoon industry, lured more professionals to work in the city, attracted more tourists, promoted Hangzhou, and enriched the cultural life of locals,” Dong said. From nothing to a huge event, the festival “animates” the city, and is “a new business card” for Hangzhou, he added. Dong said he is proud of the festival’s growth. The first CICAF in 2005 attracted foreign exhibitors from the UK, USA and South Korea. About 120,000 visitors attended. Last year, 472 exhibitors from 68 countries and regions participated while the number of visitors reached 1.2 million. Dong said companies, organizations and representatives from 74 countries and regions will participate at this year’s weeklong festival.
“I am glad to see that during the past 10 years more and more international animation and cartoon brands have been introduced into the festival,” said Wang Shixiao, a 27-year-old Hangzhou native who enjoys animated movies. He comes to CICAF every year and has witnessed how “the festival brings in popular names like One Piece and Marvel Comics bit by bit.”
The business the festival has generated has also grown substantially since 2005, when the volume of transactions reached 3 billion yuan (US$480 million). Last year the figure was 13 billion yuan. No wonder the festival is the most influential animation and cartoon festival in the country.
A clown at the float parade
This year’s theme is “International Cartoons and Animation, Beautiful Hangzhou.” Big international names like Transformers, Shrek, Doraemon, and Crayon Shin-chan will be on hand, while the popular Chinese cartoon series “Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf” is sure to get the children in attendance excited. An exhibition of real Transformers — the first time on China’s mainland — will delight the series’ legion of fans. Huge, small and people-sized Transformer models will be showcased from April 28 to June 2 in seven exhibition areas, coupled with many 3D and holographic images. Another eye-catching show, COSPLAY Super Gala allows fans in seven competition areas in nine countries including the US, Netherlands, Japan and Denmark to compete for prizes. The final competition is to be held from April 29 to May 2. Over 400 groups involving more than 30,000 participants are expected to compete.
As part of CICAF, the China International Cartoon Exhibition includes more than 400 animated shows. The festival will award its Golden Monkey Award to competing entries from 23 countries and regions.
US-based toy manufacturer Hasbro will be on hand. Hasbro has licenses to make the popular Transformers and Star Wars toys. Japanese publisher Shueisha Inc will also attend.
Golden Monkey Award is one of the highlights at the annual animation gala.
Big names include Tsai Chih Chung, a famous cartoonist from Taiwan known for his graphical works on Chinese philosophy and history, and Zhu Deyong, a Taiwanese cartoonist who draws light-hearted comics. Representatives from the festival’s global counterparts include San Diego International Comic-Con, Festival International du Film d’Animation d’Annecy, the Ottawa International Animation Festival, and Cannes TV Festival (part of its film festival). Even Russia’s cultural administration is sending a group for a visit.