ELIZABETH GONZALES 1 NOVEMBER 2021
Tobago might not have a strong presence in animation right now, but Animae Caribe Festival founder Camille Selvon Abrahams believes the island should try to capitalise on the tremendous opportunities the industry offers.
She made the statement on Friday at the Tobago premiere of Battledream Chronicle, a film by Alain Bidard, at MovieTowne, Lowlands, Tobago.
Selvon Abrahams said Tobago is an ideal location to develop, expand and market animation through its rich heritage, protected sites and diverse culture.
“It is a viable career for young people, it is a multi-billion-dollar industry,” Selvon Abrahams said.
“In fact, research shows that it’s about $250 billion worth and it’s growing exponentially.”
She believes animation could be a major tourism revenue-earner.
“This is just a perfect platform to bring in tourism. It’s a different kind of tourism to do with technology and animation and festivals. Who would not want to come to Tobago? Who would not want to jump on a plane and come to our island?
“So that’s what we want to build – a whole ecosystem that supports the animation industry in Trinidad and Tobago.”
In 2017 the Tobago House of Assembly, along with the Cove Eco-Industrial Development Co, established an animation centre at the Cove eco-industrial park. The Animae Caribe Festival later partnered with Cove to help younger animators on the island.
“We always wanted to have Animae Caribe in Trinidad and one edition in Tobago,” Selvon Abrahams said. “We usually have three days in Trinidad, and end it in Tobago. However, for this year we decided to do spend two days in Tobago.”
On the impact of Animae Caribe Festival, celebrating 20 years in existence, Abrahams said people are beginning to realise how powerful the industry is.
“When I came back after studying, I felt there was no information about animation because it’s not in our culture.
“It’s not that Trinidad would do it and Tobago won’t, it was just not there. That was the reason I needed to create the festival.
“What we found is that more young people were coming to us with a serious interest in animation in school and as a career…When we first started we had young people coming in saying their parents don’t want them doing it – ‘They prefer me to be a doctor or lawyer.’
“But recently, over the past five years, we have had parents come in saying, ‘I want my child to get into animation.’
“I’m glad to see those in authority seeing this as a viable career.”
On Saturday the festival ended in Tobago with a full-day animation workshop that included eight animators from Tobago.