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Top 10 Annual Animation Events That Animators Should Attend

ben marvazi 2020

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With the changes, constant evolution, and advancement in animation technology, animators are required to keep up to date with these changes so that they are not left behind. This is why animation events are organized to inform animators of the latest animation techniques they should be aware of.

Animation events are simply programs, conferences, or workshops that provide information related to the animation industry. The ideas shared in these events would in no small way be a source of inspiration to animators to help them constantly think outside the box.

Remember that saying about two heads being better than one, well, in this case, we're talking about uncountable heads! Similar to animation communities, animation events also provide opportunities for networking with other animators.

Who knows, just a little chat with one animator you've never known before could be all you would ever need.

Let's not forget the numerous networking opportunities that these animation events provide. Networking also happens in these events where you can share ideas and also get contacts with big whales in the animation business. 

Do you know the fun part of these animation events? These animation events are fun-packed! The events are also a form of retreat for animators, where they can take their hands off work for a while, breathe, and let enlightenment and new ideas flood their minds.

In this blog post, we'll cover the best-rated animation events that animators can be a part of around the globe. Trust me, there are lots of animation events out there held in fun locations. Some of these events have been established decades ago and followed through the evolution of animation, so you can trust them to always be filled with information. 

Follow through, read on as we bring to you the top 10 animation events around the world you should make plans to be a part of!

Top International Animation Events You Should Plan to Attend

A. The SIGGRAPH Animation Event

siggraph showcases animation technology for animators

Image via SIGGRAPH

SIGGRAPH is an acronym for Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques. It is an annual animation event organized by ACM SIGGRAPH. This animation event incorporates both academic presentations as well as an industry trade show for animators. 

Additional events at the conference include educational courses and panel discussions on recent topics in computer graphics and animation, alongside interactive techniques. Fun isn't left out either!

Since the establishment of SIGGRAPH in the 1970s, this event has experienced significant growth, peaking around the turn of the century.

SIGGRAPH also has several awards programs to recognize the contributions of animators to computer graphics. One of these awards is the Steven Anson Coons Award for Outstanding Creative Contributions to Computer Graphics.

It has been awarded every two years since 1983 to recognize an individual's lifetime achievement in computer graphics.

Let's quickly talk about the SIGGRAPH ASIA animation event since they are similar.

SIGGRAPH ASIA is a separate arm of the SIGGRAPH animation event that is usually held in Asia. And yes! Both arms of the SIGGRAPH event call out to animators to make submissions of their work to be showcased at the event.

See? Your work as an animator can be showcased to thousands of people. Talk about the best way to advertise your animation business!

B. The THU Animation Event

trojan horse was a unicorn or THU is an event for animators

Image via THU

THU is an acronym for Trojan Horse was a Unicorn. Although the tag of this event could have made you go back to confirm what you just read, there is no doubt that the event seeks to empower animators through access to opportunities, education, and inspiration. 

The event also helps to build unique experiences where animators can foster genuine connections with people from all over the world.

Animators working in concept art, illustration, visual effects, video game design, animation, and more, all come to learn the secrets that shape the creative impulse. Your work as an animator can likewise be submitted to be displayed at the event.

This THU event is sought-after in an animator's calendar; not with the endless line of talks, workshops, portfolio reviews, mentorship sessions, animation battles, and recruitment events that brings together the best talent in the animation business, VFX, games, from the world over.

If you're an animator who seems to have lost touch with the enthusiasm for animation, or probably the drive to continue in the animation business has dwindled; attending the THU animation event is sure to reignite the passion for their craft.

C. The Animist Tallinn Animation Event

the animist tallinn is the international animation festival

Image via ZippyFrames

The Animist Tallinn event is an annual animation event that offers animators an overview of the best contemporary films, values animation as an art form, and promotes creative thinking. The event aims to explore the connection between animation and other fields of life. 

Do you have anything related to animation that can be used to describe animation concerning other aspects of life? Then you can submit them for a chance to be shown at the event!

Established in 2021 by MTÜ Animist Tallinn, the event is beginning to etch its name among one of the best animation events for animators. Animist Tallinn brings together animation enthusiasts and filmmakers in a relaxed atmosphere, creating an opportunity to exchange and generate ideas.

Aside from the international competition program, the festival explores the connection between animation and other fields of life. The event sees experts in their field dissect life topics at various film screenings and lectures.

You can expect a wide opportunity to learn and also wind down in the best cafes and party locations where the event is held!

D. The Viborg Animation Festival (VAF)

the viborg animation festival

Image via VAF Press Kit

The main objective of VAF is to celebrate the diversity of animation. The Viborg Animation Festival focuses on animation culture and seeks to show that animation is more than entertainment by exploring areas of art, animation pedagogy, and its tremendous ability as a means of communication.

VAF is Denmark’s largest international animation festival and a celebration of all things animated. The VAF animation event is all about presenting great animation experiences, where the audience meets and experiences the animators' desire to tell stories and to experiment with animation.

The event caters to all age groups, showing a wealth of animated films for children, the young, and adults from all over the world. The exhibitions to be showcased interpret the relationship between art and animation, while workshops and conferences for professional animators show what animation is truly capable of.

If the write-ups about this event don't get your attention and push you to attend, I'm sure what you're about to read next would!

  • In the VAF animation event are awards and prizes such as:
  • VAF Best Feature worth €1500
  • VAF Best Short worth €1000
  • The Open Workshop Danish Talent Award for strictly Danish-produced animated short films. It features a prize of 20.000 DKK, equivalent to €2600, and a residency in the Open Workshop.

Mouthwatering right? These are not even all of the possible awards and prizes, there are lots more! Well, all you have to do to be a part of this is to plan and make your animation videos, submit them to the organizers of the event, and then lastly, go to the event! Note however that some rules and regulations govern the submission of animation videos.

E.  The Festival of Animation Berlin

the festival of animation in berlin is the perfect annual animation event

Image via FilmFreeway

FAB is the first film festival dedicated to animation film in Germany's capital city of Berlin.  Established in 2018, it annually presents the best-animated films in both regional and international categories featuring traditional Cartoons, Stopmotion, CGI, Cross-Media-Experiments to 360° film.

The event not only aspires to promote numerous filmmakers but also to pay tribute to the art of animation. This gives filmmakers from Berlin and around the world an opportunity to associate with like-minded people, as well as to connect with an audience that admires and appreciates their work.

This animation event has a category for competition and also a rich side program revolving around animation-related themes. For submission of your animation videos, ensure they meet the taste and standards of the organizers.

F. The Fantoche International Animation Film Festival

all animators flock to the fantoche international animation festival

Image via FilmFreeway

This event is the largest cultural event in Switzerland that is devoted exclusively to the full array of animation techniques, content, and media.  It offers the very best in entertainment for young and old alike. The event has also served as a meeting place for animation specialists in Switzerland and abroad since its establishment in 1995.

The animation event which benefits from broad media coverage attracts both industry professionals and the general public. The diverse programs at the event comprise more than 250 animated short videos and feature films from around the world every year. 

The schedule is augmented by a wide range of presentations, panels, lectures, and exhibitions. Each year, Fantoche holds both an international and a Swiss competition for short animated productions. 

With the eye-catching presentations and groundbreaking categories of competition, animators all around the world are invited to be a part of this event. If this event already caught your attention, do well to go through the full rules and regulations of these competitions.

G. The Giant Incandescent Resonating Animation Festival (GIRAF)

giraf is an annual animation event in calgary, alberta

Image by Quickdraw Animation Society via Contest Watchers

GIRAF is an annual animation event that runs each November at the Globe Cinema in Calgary, Alberta. The event is aimed at celebrating the spirit of independent, underground, and experimental animation. Showcasing Canadian animators and presenting diverse animations from around the globe, this event records thousands of attendees yearly.

This animation event is organized by the QuickDraw Animation Society, a non-profit dedicated to the art of animation. GIRAF is committed to creating greater awareness for animation as an art form through interactive activities including workshops, artist talks, installations, live performances, and thoughtfully curated screenings. 

Programs at this event are aimed at promoting animation to animation fans, local filmmakers, and a general audience. Focusing on presenting works that push boundaries through the development of new techniques, animation videos of hybrid forms of creative, and challenging subject matter is paramount. Added to this is the love for discovering animators and films that have been missed by other events.

GIRAF welcomes animations such as abstract or narrative, hand-drawn or computer-generated, from freelance animators or well-established professionals, or anywhere in between. 

Let's not forget the GIRAF competitions that host several categories with mind-blowing prizes and awards to be won. And of course, they are governed by some terms and conditions.

 H.      The Ottawa International Animation Festival

animators all over the world attend the ottawa international animation festival

Gif via OIAF

This animation event was established by the Canadian Film Institute and it is the largest competitive animated film festival in North America, regularly attracting upwards of 25,000 attendees every year.

Making its place among the most respected forums for animation in the world. The OIAF provides an engaging array of first-class screenings, exhibits, talks, and special events, to highlight the talents of animators from Canada and all over the world.

The OIAF is known in the world of animation events for its practice of pitting both commercial and independent projects in competition with one another, a strategy that leads to a wide breadth of styles and formats. It features traditionally-drawn animated films, animation made with computer graphics, and more recently, even projects made in virtual reality.

Want to know an interesting fact about this event? The OlAF is on the prestigious qualifying festivals list of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences which allows the OlAF Grand Prize winner to bypass the usual qualification process for the Oscars!

I.   Taichung International Animation Festival (TIAF)

the taichung international animation festival

Image via FilmFreeway

TIAF is organized by the Taichung Film Development Foundation (TFDF) with the support of the Information Bureau of the Taichung City Government.

Founded in 2015, TIAF is the only city film festival in Taiwan that features strictly animation. This animation event has established itself as a major international animation festival‭, ‬popular among moviegoers and animators‭, ‬domestic and abroad alike

In 2017, TIAF launched the Short Film Competition with awards totaling TWD 1.2 million (approx. 36,000 USD),  drawing the attention of global animators as well as an encouragement for Taiwanese filmmakers and animators to submit their innovative projects.

Multiple categories of awards, competitions, and prizes are open to animators around the world which you can be a part of if you make an animation video submission! In case you're captivated by what you've read about this event already, you can go through the full rules and regulations on how submissions are made for these competitions.

J. Supernova Digital Animation Festival

supernova digital animation festival showcases the new technology for animators

Gif via Denver Digerati

The Supernova Digital Animation Festival is a comprehensive showcase of digital animation and motion art that promotes experimentation, innovation, imagination, individual artistry, equity, diversity, and solidarity amongst those leveraging computer software as the primary tools in their craft of animation. 

The event is presented by Denver Digerati, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization specializing in digital animation and motion art, promoting the freedom to create without restrictions.

The dynamic presentation with which Supernova exposes the craft of digital animation and motion art is through a robust infrastructure of public LED screens, an online platform that allows global participation, as well as distinguished partnerships with organizations that seek to support the development of this wide-ranging, wildly expanding artform called animation.

Although Supernova’s main emphasis is on short-form animation and motion artworks, however; the forum also considers long-form projects, including feature-length films that promote distinguished advances in the medium. 

There are no limits to submissions of any specific genre, but animators must explore experimental practices and innovative creations that are pushing the boundaries of animation in new and exciting ways.

The fun part of this event is that not only established animators can submit their work, but students can also get in! Students are encouraged to submit their work for the annual Student Shorts competition of the event. Like all of the previously discussed animation events, various prizes and awards are up for grabs while following their conditions.

Why Animators Should Attend These Animation Events

Heard about opportunities? Well, these events could be just what every animator needs to get that desired break in their animation business. Imagine struggling to get things done all along or trying so hard to score a good deal, you never can tell, attending one of these events could be just what is needed to make those dreams and wishes come to life.

Let's not fail to mention the connections and exposure that come with these events! Believe me, they are innumerable! Then put the whole connection and big break talks aside, how about the various insights and exposure to the latest animation techniques that are usually shared in these events? It is surely going to be worth every penny you spend to purchase the fare ticket!

you're right as an animator to attend these events

GIF by Paramount Pictures via GIPHY

And yes! The competitions, the awards, and numerous prizes are also included in some of these events are surely tempting side attractions that would push any animator to intentionally be a part of one of these events. Not to mention the fact that your works as an animator could also get featured in these events, giving you a wider audience than you can think of.

In a nutshell, these animation events are a way to help animators and also non-animators appreciate the art of animation. The whole brain-work, design, production process, and the most important, time, animators spend to bring out the best animation possible is the driving spirit behind every of these animation events. 

So, as an animator, do well to go and appreciate your craft and art by attending an animation event!

Although this blog only talks about 10 animation events animators should go to, bear in mind that numerous animation events exist and are held around the world.

While considering and planning toward attending these animation events, check out our free masterclass videos, download a copy of our free marketing handbook to help grow your animation business and career, and have a look at our blog on "How to Start an Animation Studio"!

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