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China Int'l Cartoon & Animation Festival opens
By Cui Xuyan ( chinadaily.com.cn )

Hangzhou's Baimahu Ecological & Creative Town is humming with throngs of fans this weekend for the 8th China International Cartoon & Animation Festival (CICAF), April 28 to May 3.

China Int'l Cartoon & Animation Festival opens

The press conference of the 8th China International Cartoon & Animation Festival (CICAF) is held in Hangzhou on Saturday. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]

As the biggest event dedicated to animation and cartoon in China, Hangzhou-based CICAF brings together leading artists, industry insiders, university professors, and fans every year. The aim of the event is to promote animation and cartoon development in China and cultivate more talents through the exchange of ideas.

"Compared with the previous animation festivals, the 8th CICAF features more international participants, bigger brand names, more professional discussions and more sales transaction," Weng Weijun said in his opening remarks at the 2012 CICAF press conference on April 27. Weng is the director of the Publicity Department of the CPC Hangzhou Municipal Committee.

The 8th CICAF attracts participants from a record 61 countries and regions, including US, Japan, Italy, and the UK. Meanwhile, representatives from 12 renowned international animation and film festivals will gather at the CICAF Summit to exchange viewpoints on future development of the industry, making CICAF a carnival for international animation and cartoon lovers.

Among the participants, this year's big names include Japan's SHUEISHA, China's CCTV, Shanghai Animation Film Studio, and Rovio Entertainment, the team behind the smash hit game Angry Birds. However, CICAF is not just about big names. You may get impressed by some promising young animators as well. Every year, young people submit their works for the Golden Monkey King Award, formerly known as the Monkey King Award.

According to Weng, of the 1,160 entries received this year, 30% come from outside China. The international entries include works from world-class animation institutions such as Studio AKA in the UK, Film Academy Baden-Wuerttemberg in Germany, and California Institute of the Arts in the US. Weng says these international entries will "help the Golden Monkey King Award gain international recognition."

The festival also features a series of seminars on animation talent training, new trend in animation development, and bottlenecks in current development. Experienced domestic and international professionals and researchers are invited to go deep into these issues and share their expertise.

Another highlight of the festival is the industrial exposition that provides a platform for product display, cartoon trade, and program cooperation. Last year, participating companies inked business contracts totaling 12.8 billion yuan ($1.9 billion), which explains why an exhibition booth is hard to get this year.

"We raised the bar on participation this year, but there are so many companies vying to display their products, and the exposition room is still limited," says Weng.

The six-day festival includes the 8th Cartoon & Animation Industry EXPO, summit forums, animation contests, 2012 China COSPLAY super show, animation film screenings, international cartoon transaction fair, Comic Exhibition & Auction, and a talent recruitment fair.


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