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What's up with Nigeria?

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What's up with Nigeria?

Greetings all-

I am the admissions manager at VanArts, and I have been flooded with emails and information requests from Nigeria, especially over the past few months. A few applications have also arrived from there, and also from Uganda and Ghana. None of the prospective students who applied were able to acquire a visa to come over to Canada...the Embassy's system there is very cutthroat and inconsistent, from what these applicants tell me. There is also, on the applicants' part, a severe misunderstanding of how difficult it is to get a visa. Most of them apply very late before a program starts, and think they can just go down to the Embassy and pick it up the same day, but in fact it takes several weeks or even months to process, and then usually is rejected.

I'm just curious to know if anyone who works at other schools, whether they be animation-related or not, is also experiencing this. I also get TONS of correspondence and students from India, but that doesn't surprise me because I know that animation is huge over there. I know that South Africa has a booming animation there a similar interest or trend in Nigeria too? Or are there other reasons for this mass interest in coming to Canada in general? I've communicated extensively with several of these prospective students, and the vibe I get is that some of them could just be looking for a way to get out of the country. There has also been an epidemic of e-mail cash scams from Nigeria too, where people pretend they are royalty looking for Canadian bank accounts to deposit their money, and then drain the accounts. So while I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, I'm a bit skeptical about all this rampant 'interest' in animation coming from there.

Anybody know what's going on?

-Ken Priebe

I don't have any specific info on this, but if I lived in a country where women are sentenced to death penalty by having rocks thrown at them, I'd do anything to escape. Even study animation.

Rigghhhtt on, Daniel!

Hi mr. Priebe, I was browsing around the ASIFA website and I found a letter from their president that is related to this subject. I hope it is of any help:

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Letter from ASIFA President Noureddin Zarrinkelk


When I wrote that article "ANIMATION AND EARTHQUAKE" (to be found in ASIFA.NET News from January 2004) I expected some response or reactions from my friends, animators, and colleagues around the world;
The people who have survived the earthquake and are still living and make their lives out of animation (including Roy Disney and Eisner who fight for billions !).
But days, weeks, and months passed and nothing was heard from anyone. The silence continued for almost five months, all the time that the article was on the first page of our ASIFA website.

BUT what I did not expect was a shocking letter from the very victims who have suffered the harm and heaviness of such an earthquake.
Yesterday I received a message from Mr. Charles daCosta in my inbox, with such a great affection that I could not stop my tears.
A friendly simple short letter but including a fact as big as the continent of Africa!

Read his message:

Salaam Noureddin -

Allow me to introduce myself - my name is Charles daCosta, an animator, who is currently undertaking a PhD at the Surrey Institute of Art and Design in England.

I just read your write-up 'ANIMATION AND EARTHQUAKE'. Interesting piece.
First of all I know for a fact there's a lot of animation going in Africa. I graduated from the National Film and Television Institute [NAFTI] in Ghana, West Africa, in 1989. There has been an animation programme running at the institute since 1978.....and quite a few animators have emerged from the programme.

So the big question is 'where are they?' hasn'e been easy practising the craft so most of them have moved into other cinematic fields.
Things are getting better....but slowly - and this is due to the difficult economic circumstances. Membership of ASIFA is far beyond the means of many.
Conferences are impossible to attend firstly because of costs, and secondly because 'white' countries are suspicious of Africans applying for visas AT ANY TIME. Say you're an animator and they view you with even more scorn and suspicion. We know for a fact that conferences and such interactions are the best opportunity to further our craft. Yet we have to be realistic about how the world sees us - Africans - and get on with our lives as best as we can.

Keep in touch.


Now again my question:
what are we going to do for these lost talents?

1- Raise fund for those who cannot afford Asifa fees?

2- Lower fees for them down to ten or five US Dollars or even free?

3- Every BM as the representative of a country pick an African country to contact, study their situation and take care or at least make a report about it within the year?

4- Any more comments?

Noureddin Zarrinkelk

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