The 16th China International Cartoon & Animation Festival (CICAF) was held in Hangzhou, capital city of southeast China’s Zhejiang Province from September 29 to October 4. A total of 2,680 Chinese and foreign enterprises and institutions from 65 countries and regions around the world participated in the animation festival’s online and offline activities, with 10.12 million people joining the festival online. Nearly 1,000 original animation works sought to win the “Golden Monkey King” Awards competition. At the same time, the competition has also introduced a venture capital match-making session to promote exchanges and cooperation among animation, cartoons, games, publishing and derivative products, so as to create an industrial ecosystem via the competition, according to China International Cartoon & Animation Executive Committee Office.
From less than 10 animation enterprises in 2004 to more than 300 in 2019, Hangzhou’s cartoon and animation community has expanded rapidly in a short span of more than 10 years. Meanwhile, Hangzhou’s animation industry has formed a complete industrial chain, ranging from original content production to animation production and derivative development. Many young people have seen their animation dreams come true here. Hangzhou has undoubtedly become an ideal land to realize dreams for China’s animation industry.
Start up the animation career in Hangzhou
Lei Tao is one of the best examples of seeing one’s animation dream come true in Hangzhou. In 2010, Lei, who studied animation in college, founded Thunder Animation in the animation hub.
In order to produce the most perfect and most suitable original Chinese animation works for preschool children, Lei and his team invited Pixar animator Anthony Wang, who has participated in Toy Story and Finding Nemo, and international industry experts such as BBC screenwriters Andrew Emerson and Rachel Murrell for group creation in China or remote online guidance. He also consulted a professor of colorimetry at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and designed a set of color value combinations for their cartoon series Rainbow Chicks that are the least harmful to children’s eyes.
“The extreme pursuit of detail and strict control are the characteristics of every dream hunter in Hangzhou’s animation sector,” said Lei. “I think this should be one animation industry feature to be proud of in Hangzhou.”
Shen Hao, the founder of Fanfan Inc, is another young person to establish his animation career in Hangzhou. “Hangzhou’s animation industry ecology is resilient and enduring. This is where I started my business.”
China’s animation industry has entered a period of rapid development, but the original content is not interesting enough in terms of story and human design, according to him.
In addition to actively participating in and organizing the “Nova Cup” competition hosted by the CICAF for more than ten years to discover and cultivate local cartoon creation talents in China, Fanpan Inc also introduced the editing and creation integration mechanism in the Japanese animation industry, which determines the works’ content focus by readers’ market response, according to Shen.
Enjoy Chinese-style animation in Hangzhou
Starting from 2014, Hangzhou has rolled out relevant policies to encourage cross-industry integration and create an economic form that covers the entire industrial chain. Cosplay is an important part of derivatives in the animation industry. Every year, the CICAF will hold the China Cosplay super ceremony competition, a big party for animation lovers and cosplay players at home and abroad to show their individuality and enjoy an animation carnival.
Senior cosplay players “Chicago Typewriter” and “The Greater China” attended the event again in Hangzhou this year. They said that in China, no city can create such a strong atmosphere of animation culture than Hangzhou, and local residents have a high degree of tolerance for dimensional culture.
Every year during the festival, Hangzhou’s airports, high-speed railway station, subway stations and both sides of roads feature the event’s signs, creating an overwhelming animation festival atmosphere. It’s fair to say that Hangzhou’s animation enthusiasm is flowing in the city’s blood.
“In Hangzhou, a Coser can verify all one’s unconstrained ideas to encourage one to dare to think, do and realize,” according to them.
Embrace the animation sector’s future in Hangzhou
Animation practitioners in Hangzhou are convinced that China’s animation will usher in a better era. How to find the innovation points and creative ideas of Chinese animation? Su Huan, CEO of Hangzhou InNow, believes that the animation industry itself is about cross-industry fusion and pluralism, especially the exploration and shaping of traditional Chinese culture.
“Next year, we will launch an App based on artificial intelligence technology to break the technical barrier of animation production and let more people feel the charm of animation easily via this application,” Su said.
Teng Kuixing and Liu Qin are well-known dubbing directors and actors in China. They jointly served as judges of the animation festival’s dubbing competition, which is also the only national-level animation dubbing competition.
Both Teng and Liu mentioned that the current shortage of high-quality talents is a common challenge facing China’s entire Animation Comic Game market. However, in their view, Hangzhou has been training and transporting young talents for various sub-sectors of the animation industry through various means. For example, this year’s dubbing competition uses the resources of the animation festival platform to provide win-win cooperation opportunities for enterprises and winners.
Many Hangzhou animators are striving to produce the first-class original Chinese animation works, which is the source power and firm belief of their animation creation. Thus, Hangzhou deserves the name of “China’s Cartoon and Animation Capital”.