The Vital! International Animation Festival (formerly known as Cardiff) is closing its doors due to financial losses incurred at its latest edition in June 1998. This years festival director Jane Williams has left the organization, and the board of directors is now responsible for managing a debt which sources said amounts to approximately (U.K.) £25,000. A press release issued to sponsors and creditors said the decision to shut down is due to several market factors including the decision of the Annecy festival to go annual and the timing of the Second World Summit of Childrens Television held earlier this year in the U.K. In addition, the U.S. animation studios are no longer in a recruiting period and therefore, also did not support the festival at the level of previous years, all of which contributed to a lower level of industry support than forecast. Joan Lofts, chair of the festival board of directors, said, To have to close the festival organization at a time when British animation is vibrant and growing is particularly painful but without confirmed financial support at this point there is no alternative. However, insiders expect that the festival will be reincarnated in the future, or combined with existing events in other locations such as London or Bradford. After all, the festival began in London more than 30 years ago, and has only been held in Cardiff since 1992.
Read Heather Kenyons review, Cardiff: A Difficult Year to Be Any Festival, in the August 1998 issue of Animation World Magazine.