The Philippine animation industry has been a lucrative business over the past few years.
Michael Kho Lim, executive director of the Animation Council of the Philippines Inc. (Acpi), said that, in 2011 alone, the Philippine animation industry drew in a total revenue of $128 million (roughly P5.3 billion).
He added: “That was generated by around 8,000 animation professionals, not just animators.”
Lim explained that the bulk of the revenue came from animation studios and production agencies producing outsourced material for clients in the United States, Japan and Canada. These foreign clients, in turn, used the material for their own feature films (live and animated) and advertisements.
The 2012 figures have yet to be consolidated, according to Lim. However, he is optimistic that the 2011 numbers could be matched.
But Acpi has set loftier goals. Lim stressed that the local movie industry and the local viewing public need to step up their support for local animators and animated films.
He noted: “When ‘Dayo’ and ‘RPG: Metanoia’ participated in the 2010 Metro Manila Film Festival, it didn’t perform so well at the box office. But when Walt Disney and Pixar come out with animated features, pinapanood agad (people rush to see them).”
The Philippines’ first all-digital full-length animated film “Dayo: Sa Mundo ng Elementalia” was shown in the 2008 MMFF. During its run, it earned just over P5.6 million versus the production cost of P58 million. “RPG: Metanoia,” the country’s first full-length 3D animation film, grossed only P15.8 million, against its estimated production cost of P100 million.
Lim noted that making full-length animated features is expensive. “That’s why we need to make it known here and abroad that our artists are at par with Hollywood’s in making animated feature films.”
Expanding the work of local animators to an international market would then pave the way for significantly higher revenues, he stressed.
Acpi is composed of 50 member organizations, animation studios and schools. The council is recognized by the Philippine government, and is currently in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry, Board of Investments, the Bureau of Export and Trade Promotions, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) in developing and promoting local animation to foreign markets.
Lim revealed that Acpi and the concerned government agencies are making plans for the prestigious Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France, set from June 10 to 15. Lim described the festival as the “mother of all animation festivals.”
He explained: “On the local front, we hope that the coming Animahenasyon will convince Filipinos that we can match what Hollywood comes up with, as far as quality animated films go.”
The 7th annual Animahenasyon animation festival and competition will be held from Nov. 19 to 22 this year in Iloilo City.