Now in its 6th year, Philippine animation festival Animahenasyon is once again rounding up the country’s best works of animation. With a slew of entries from both local and foreign animators, the festival serves as the platform for both amateur and professional Filipino animators to share their work with the world.
Slated on November 26 to 29 at the DLS-CSB SDA Campus, Manila, the festival has attracted quality submissions from all over the archipelago, as well as from countries such as Portugal and Bulgaria.
Apart from showcasing and awarding the best animation films through its multi-category competition, the festival is also recognizing the efforts of outstanding individuals who have contributed to the industry. One of these is talented independent animator Nelson “Blog” Caliguia Jr., who is set to be awarded the Outstanding Emerging Artist in Animation Award for 2012.
Artistic creations from imitations
A director, writer, and animator of several award-winning animation films, Blog has found success in the independent circuit in the years since graduating from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde in 2007. According to Blog, he chose to pursue the indie path for more creative freedom, and to focus on his personal projects. “I chose this in my hope to make my career more meaningful and fulfilling,” he remarks.
As an artist, Blog is unafraid of using his personal experiences in his creations. “I learned that it is useful to treat the project as a form of semi-autobiography,” he says. “After I started to infuse my own identity, feelings and experiences into the film, a lot of creative decisions became more natural.”
When it comes to any creative output, Blog believes that it all stems from imitation. He learns more about storytelling through reading and watching works of other skilled storytellers. “After enjoying the creations of these storytellers, I would be filled with admiration—an admiration that would lead to imitation, and the inspiration to make stories of my own,” he says.
The state of Philippine animation
As someone who is heavily immersed in the animation industry, Blog can attest to the fact that Philippine animation is alive and well, which, according to him, “has already established itself as one of the main animation service providers in Asia, especially in 2D animation.”
However, Blog also acknowledges the challenges of the industry today with its service-provider model, which is difficult to sustain due to stiff competition. Blog explains that sub-contracted work can sometimes be highly irregular, thus resulting in long stretches of dry spells.
But despite this, he considers the future of Philippine animation to be very bright, mainly due to the advent of new sophisticated and easy-to-use animation software.
“Through the further advancement of technology, the technical nitty-gritty of animation production [is] minimized,” he says. “I think that there would be more Filipino animation productions in the future—both from the independent and mainstream sectors—taking full advantage of the new and upcoming technological resources.”
Animahenasyon and the future
Animahenasyon has played a key role in inspiring local animators with its yearly show of creativity and innovation in animation storytelling. Blog regards the festival as “the Philippines’ most prominent animation event,” which he credits to the persistence and efforts of the Animation Council of the Philippines Inc. (ACPI).
Being regarded as Animahenasyon’s Outstanding Emerging Artist for this year is, indeed, an honor for Blog. Yet he also admits to being intimidated by it. “I am deeply honored, but at the same time quite intimidated by the title,” he says. “I have been blessed with so many things early in my career and to ask for even more right now, I think, would be too much conceit.”
Just like Animahenasyon’s future, Blog is looking forward to developments in his own career after he receives this award. He is currently working on a 30-minute animated film titled “Doon Po Sa Amin,” which he hopes to finish early next year and submit to as many festivals as possible.
“What I constantly dream of is to achieve at least one international animation award in the distant future,” he muses. “But, even if I don’t achieve this, it won’t break my heart. Whatever the future holds, I just hope that it would be a cheerful one, to be cherished alongside loving friends and family.”
Blog leaves young animators who have big dreams for their doodles with a simple advice drawn from Salinger’s ‘Seymour: An Introduction’: “please follow your heart, win or lose.”