By Shelley Surpin
The First International Zhengzhou Animation Forum and Trade Fair was held October 19-23 in the city of Zhengzhou, Henan Province, China. The keynote address was delivered by Ken Katsumoto, Executive Vice-President of Family Home Entertainment for Lionsgate Films.
Close to fifty foreign visitors from the U.S., Europe and Asia attended the 3 day Forum, including Nelson Chin, Vice Chairman of ASIFA (The International Animated Film Society), John Murrah, Disney Visual Effects Supervisor, Marge Dean of Wildbrain and Bill Dennis, Exec Director of ASIFA International. A like number of Chinese animation company principals also attended the Forum. Kevin Geiger, formerly with Disney, was the foreign liaison for the Forum.
The Forum commenced informally with a visit to the construction site of the planned Zhengzhou Animation Base. Provincial officials made speeches in front of a model of the castle-like building, due to be finished in 2 years. A visit followed to a nearby office building, the temporary home of the Animation Base, housing several animation companies and a training center. The morning was capped off by the Official Opening Ceremony held in the impressive conference center where all guests were given corsages, and various ministers and municipal, district and provincial officials spoke before the keynote address.
The foreign guests offered their insights and experience in a series of short presentations and then were treated to showings of locally produced animation fare. Almost simultaneous translation abounded.
At the end of the Forum, a branch of ASIFA was established in Zhengzhou and a temporary steering committee was formed with Karen Malach as the head. It was agreed that the Animation Forum would reconvene in two years time. The official web site can be found at http://www.zzani.org/en/.
Shelley Surpin is an entertainment lawyer with a fondness for animation. Zhengzhou was her first trip to China. She can be reached at email@example.com.