A Brief History of Jamaican Animation
The history of animation in Jamaica has not been easy to track down, but we know it existed a long time ago as evidenced by such commercials as this quench aid ad from 1992
and this Sheltox ad from 1984
Whether they were drawn and animated by Jamaican’s is still unknown at this time, but it does beg the question, what happened after this point? JANN was able to find, a gentleman by the name of George McBean, who was deeply involved in a project back in 1991 that sought to introduce animation to Jamaica as a viable career option and economic booster. The project was a collaboration between JIS, Disney, Unicef and CARIMAC. The project was called “Film Animation For Development Jamaica ” and was held in 1991, which came off the heels of the first “Film Animation For Development” event held in Prague in 1990. George McBean has been producing illustrations and animated films mostly for UNICEF for the past 40 years. He has attended several world summits to discuss the use of animation as a tool for development as well conducting the first animation workshops in Jamaica. Below you can see a picture of George McBean lower left hand corner with Disney animators and students from Carimac sitting on the steps of the Phillip Sherlock Auditoriumat the UWI Mona Campus.
The following is an interview with Fred Wilmot who was the JIS official representative for this project.
The following character was designed and animated in Jamaica for a cartoon called “Johnny Sad Boy” to tackle child abuse and neglect. It was then colored at the Barbados Community College.
…and here is the cartoon:
The history after this point becomes foggy once again, as not much evidence exists of animation activity to follow until the 2000’s when Jamaican’s freelancing in their home or schooled and employed overseas started achieving milestones.
Adrian Lopez of Liquid Light Studios produced Jamaica’s first 3D animation “Roots” and won a BWIA award at Trinidad’s Animae Caribe Festival in 2002 for most outstanding animation. He is also lauded as the first person to introduce 3D animation in local TV commercials and Music Videos. Since then he has gone on to produce award winning commercials.
Adrian logan, Jamaican, art lead for FIFA soccer 2009 , character designer on Brian Lara cricket , among others 3D Animator/Art Lead at Atlantis Eduplus, Art Lead at HB Studios, 3D Generalist . Composite Artist at Camelot. https://www.linkedin.com/pub/adrian-j-g-logan/b/423/278
JANN’s President Corretta Singer went on to become Jamaica’s first female 3D animator (or female animator in general as far as we can ascertain) and has achieved for herself the People’s Choice awards at Animae Caribe 2006, Trinidad for the animated short “Voyajah: Episode2”. Most Outstanding Animation Award at Animae Caribe 2007, Trinidad for the animated Music Video “Deeper: Shadow Song”. One of thirty finalists in the Nickelodeon Animation Festival 2009 for her short “Kina Sky”, which aired on Nickelodeon in the United States. Best animation award at the 2010 Reggae Film Festival for “Kina Sky”. It also won the “Director’s heart” award at the I-Will_Tell festival 2011 in London, and has screened in Romania, Australia, Trinidad, and the O2 Arena during the London Olympics in 2012.
Reinardo Chung won Digicel sponsored Best Animation award at the 2012 Reggae Film Festival for “Bad Influence”.
Allison Latchman was the winner of the DEW Best Caribbean Animation Award for Cabbie Chronicles in 2010. Runner up in the 2010 Reggae Film Festival for best animation.
Marlon Johnson won Most Promising Animator at 2011 Animae Caribe for “Natural Enemies”.
Stephen Williamson won Best Jamaican Animation in 2012 at the Trinidad Animae Caribe Festival for “The Logo Designer” and Best animation for the 2013 Reggae Film Festival for “Team Ex”.
Kevin Jackson won Best Animation in 2013 at the Lignum Vitae Film festival at NCU for “Runners”.
Other notable international mentions are the work of Ian Gooding (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0328951/) as art director on the Walt Disney features The Princess and the Frog which was nominated for an Annie (the Oscars of Animation), Wreck-It Ralph, and Chicken Little; Craig Lyn, an Emmy award-winning visual-effects specialist whose work has been seen in X-Men Origins: Wolverine; and Wayne Carnegie, who’s work as a surfacing artist has been featured in The Nut Job and the soon to be released film Spark.
Fast forward one score from the UNICEF workshops and animation has knocked on our doors once again through Toonboom, World Bank and JAMPRO. In 2011 Joan Vogelsang, then head of the Toonboom Corporation who lived in Jamaica for a period of hjer childhood, stood in the JAMPRO conference room and lit a spark that has fueled the current initiative being backed by the Government to roll out training through the tertiary institutions aimed at producing thousands of animators to meet the demand for outsourcing studios.
Jamaica has staged 4 animation festivals and 2 film festivals to show case and award filmmakers. Reggae Film Festivals in 2010 onward; Animae Caribe 2011; Animae Caribe 2012; Alliance Francais Animation Week in 2012, Kingstoon in 2013 and NCU Lignum Vitae Film Festival in 2013. Following Vogelsang’s visit in 2011, 3 more studios were born, Alcyone, Skyres and GSW Animation and an animation association, the Jamaica Animation Nation Network emerged . This bit of history is still being unfolded and as such this page will be a living document.
As history is made, it will be updated. For now, feel free to take a look through George McBean’s page as JANN would like to honour him for his invaluable contribution as well as the Reggae Film Festival for being the first festival to honour animation in Jamaica as well as NCU and Kingston for taking up the efforts to spread the awareness.