The Korean cartoon and animation film industry is currently enjoying an upswing with about 120 animation studios collaborating with US and Japanese animation companies to provide input to TV shows and movies. A spate of recent animated feature films made in Korea proved to be huge family hits such as the 2011 movies “Leafie” and “A Hen into the Wild” and the more recent “The King of Pigs,” “Penguin Pororo” and “Mashimaro” helped boost Korea’s animation industry to third place in the world. The country’s first full length animated movie “Hong Gil-dong”, released in 1967, set the stage for animated movies.
With the popularity at home of Korean cartoon and animated movies and with Korean animators and artists being increasingly involved in international hits, the Seoul International Cartoon and Animation Festival (SICAF) to be held from the 23rd to the 28th of July has become a significant event and now ranks as one of the five most important animated film festivals in the world. The event was first held in 1995 and is promoted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the city of Seoul. The event showcases the work of Korean and overseas cartoon and animated moviemakers and artists related to the genre through exhibitions and themed film shows aimed at adults, teenagers and children.
As the festival serves as a platform to present and explore new techniques in movie-making in the genre, it displays the latest work of celebrated and up-and-coming cartoon and animated artists. It also provides opportunities for fans to meet with a range of industry notables through a series of master classes. As an important international event, it helps to identify industry trends, assists to expand the market for cartoon and animated film making, matches artists and animators with investors and distributors, and encourages new talent with a host of shows and competitions. The Seoul Promotion Plan is one of the ways that new artists and animators receive a boost. More than 1,500 films are submitted each year to the organising committee for the competitive and non-competitive categories. In 2012, 45 countries competed in the festival. Prizes are awarded for feature films, short films (professional), short film (student) TV and commissioned films and internet animation.
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