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Thoughts on 60 Years of Hong Kong Animation

Emily Wong, chairman of the Hong Kong Animation Filmmakers Society and organizer of the recent 60 year animation anniversary event at Hong Kong Filmart, shares her take on what animation means to the community.

All images courtesy Emily Wong

By Emily Wong

Hong Kong Animation Filmmaker Society

Editor’s Note:  The Hong Kong Animator Filmmaker Society recently celebrated 60 years of Hong Kong Animation with a full schedule of exhibits and events at the 2012 edition of the Hong Kong International Film & TV Market (FILMART).  When I was in Hong Kong this past December for SIGGRAPH Asia, I had the chance to spend time with many of the members of the Hong Kong Animation Filmmakers group, who showed me all over the city and took me to some fantastic restaurants.  More importantly, they shared with me their passion for animation, many having worked all over the world, but having made their way back to Hong Kong at various times in their lives to collaborate and share their knowledge and experiences with others in the community. 

Two speakers at the event, Keeto Lam and Tony Willis, sent us write-ups, along with some post-event thoughts from Emily Wong, head of the organization and director of the event (her thoughts as well as images and video from the event are shared below). If anyone ever embodied the essence of the word “dynamo,” it’s Emily.  She is a total force to be reckoned with and one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

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Animation is not an opinion - it is an event, the event is to amaze, to entertain, to enjoy and to understand. Recently, an event “60 Years of Hong Kong Animation” exhibition was held in Hong Kong. When we look back, there were wonderful animation artworks and effects works that had been done. But it is so far not quite enough! While we review and we celebrate what had been before, but like many other animation communities in the world, animation in Hong Kong is highly underutilized, except in the areas of entertainment. So we try to look at the possibility of what animation can be. It is never an easy straight road, right? One and a half years ago, an animation society called “Hong Kong Animation Filmmaker Society” was set up here, establishing by 9 unique individual animators in Hong Kong. Their fundamental belief is that animation is in synergy with all aspects of life. And we take pride and pleasure in realizing those links through the craft of animation. 

During the opening ceremony for the "60 Years of Hong Kong Animation" on the 19 March 2012, it was a celebration and as well a reunion of local animators. We had a live music performance to celebrate and to enlighten the whole thing. I guess animation and music mix well with each other. They both can make people feel affection. Animation is for enjoyment, it is a mixture of passion and care and hard work. It is also a thousand and one dreams to many of the auteurs in town. These auteurs work with their own hands around the clock. And this animation dream that we pursue, we trust that it is a business and as well a noble art. Life is always not so easy and eventually we all need support and respect to keep our dream and creativity going.

John Sinarwi surrounded by attendees. As a young architecture student in the UK, John by chance got a job in Richard Williams' SoHo studio and found himself working next to Art Babbitt.

John signing autographs.

Event organizer Emily Wong.

Emily on the far left, producer and comic book maven Neco Lo Che-Ying in the center and John second from right, along with other visitors to the event.

Nico addresses the crowd.

One of the many displays of animation-related items.

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