Animation World Magazine, Issue 2.1, April 1997

Event Preview:
NATPE's Animation & Special Effects Expo

by Wendy Jackson

Just around the corner is the NATPE's first annual Animation & Special Effects Expo (ANIFEX), coming up May 8-11 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. What makes this event unique is that it is being presented by The National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE), a nonprofit organization known best for its annual television convention. Their decision to create an animation event came from their observation of the tremendous growth in the animation industry over the past few years.

Originally a market for domestic television distribution, NATPE conventions have experienced a dramatic increase in international participation, along with exhibitions from companies involved less directly with television programming, in the animation and special effects industries. Responding to this, NATPE added an "Animation Pavilion" to the exhibition at their 1996 annual convention, and found that, while it was successful, this alone was not enough to accomodate the need for an industry-specific forum for animation. "After looking at the phenomenal reaction to the Animation Pavilion, we realized that there was a need for a conference which brings all these elements together under one roof," remarked NATPE's Bruce Johansen. So, immediately after the '96 convention, it announced plans to create ANIFX, and has since been very busy organizing the the four-day event.

More a business conference than a festival, ANIFX is being designed to appeal to an industry audience, with exhibitions, a job fair, and 20 seminars focused on various topics in animation and effects. UCLA, The WGA Animation Writers Caucus, Blue Sky Studios, The Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Union Local 839, and (yours truly) Animation World Network are among the participating organizations producing seminars, which will cover everything from new technologies to commercials, licensing, Internet broadcasting, training, marketing, and children's programming.

Concurrently, exhibitions from more than 60 major companies, such as Walt Disney Television Animation, Medialab, Apple, D'Ocon, Nickelodeon and Mainframe will be showcased in the exhibition hall, presenting products and services, as well as job opportunities. To foster the development of new talent, NATPE even plans to award scholarships to animation students for the completion of projects.

For information on the events taking shape for the Animation & Special Effects Expo, visit the NATPE's ANIFX website at or call 1-800-NATPE-GO.

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