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Exposing Animae producers to the world

Published: 
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Industry contributors, EA Games animation executive Capihus Moore; Anuskha Somai, marketing executive, Spang Makandra, of Suriname; and Jeunanne Alkins, of Bim and Bam Adventure Tales.

One of the highlights of this year’s Animae Caribe Animation and Digital Media Festival was a pitch for local producers to collaborate on a UK TV series. Gecko is a TV series and feature film franchise created by Melwood Pictures based around the adventures of a calypsonian gecko, Ramon. The animated comedy will be a visual and musical treat for a global audience with a unique design, animation style and a mixture of original and classic Caribbean music.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) recently hosted the pitch session in keeping with their desire to assist developing countries in boosting economic diversification in order to adjust to the new reality of lower commodity prices.

Krista Lucenti, Trade and Investment Specialist at the IDB, said: “Animation services are an area with great potential for outsourcing opportunities and its net foreign exchange earning capacity is definitely one that we support.

“The IDB recognises the vast potential that the creative economy as a whole has to offer and is delighted to see T&T positioning itself to further tap into the global animation sector.”

This unique animated TV comedy will see collaboration between a team of industry professionals, from T&T, the US and the UK. The highly labour-intensive process behind animation production means that work is very often shared across countries and even continents.

The multinational studios leverage various forms of partnership, co-production and joint ventures with global partners. From the point of view of the major studios, co-production can provide flexibility while working with small studios and bring new and fresh creativity from other countries.

Local animation production studio Full Circle Animation Studio will work with independent film production company, Melwood Pictures, to see Gecko realized. The Animae Caribe festival will be collaborating with industry players on this long term project to develop and enhance the skills of local talent to make this pioneering project become a reality.

Melwood Pictures founder, Max Howard head of the production company for the series, said: “I have been pitched many great ideas for animated feature films and TV shows, but Gecko stands out as breath-taking. Today, more than ever, we need to communicate a message of tolerance without prejudice. With Gecko, through animated entertainment, a positive message is delivered.”

Executive producer for Gecko is Trinidadian-born Baroness Floella Benjamin.

“Most of all Gecko will be there to give hope to those who have a dream and want to put that dream into action, that’s why I am so passionate about Gecko reaching the screen as soon as possible,” she said.

Festival founder, Camille Selvon-Abrahams noted: “This phase of Animae Caribe’s operations is about development. After 16 years of groundwork, we are primed to take on this project. We have all the ingredients to make this a reality, this is a game-changer for the creative economy. The outcome from this project will enhance the skills of UTT animation students, writers and musicians of the Caribbean.”

Concept creator Ramsay McBean, who previously visited Animae Caribe festival, said: “The Gecko TV series is a great opportunity to make a unique and fun show which also creates tremendous opportunity for artists, writers and musicians in the Caribbean. This begins with the workshops led by the very talented Bruce Smith.”

Disney’s Proud Family creator, Bruce hosted a one day intensive workshop on the writing and development process for a series, at the UTT Academy for Performing Arts on November 21 at the same time impacting the stories being developed for the Gecko Series. Local actresses Nikki Crosby and Carla Gonzales participated with direction from Richard Young for the script and character development for the film.

Animae Caribe Animation and Digital Media Festival took place November 20-25 and provided participants with hands-on exposure to international animators, directors and producers.

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