Fri | Jan 19, 2018

Animated video challenge unearths new talent in Jamaica

Published:Thursday | May 26, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Twenty-four-year-old Ikem Smith, a freelance visual artist from Kingston, has emerged as the first-place winner in the Caribbean Development Bank's 2016 Vybzing Animated Music Video Challenge.

Smith has earned a prize of US$2,000 for his animation created around the competition theme, 'Beam Me Up with ICT'. Leighton Campbell and Rushane Jones placed second and third, winning US$1,550 and US$1,250 respectively for their work. Jones also earned the most votes on Facebook for the Peoples' Choice category, winning an additional US$250 for his video.

"I feel relieved that I won, as I had made the decision a few months ago to pursue a more creative solo endeavour," Smith said when he received the news of his win. "Getting the submission done forced me to learn a lot, and these winnings will get the wheels turning some more, so I'm definitely grateful," he said.

In March, the challenge was issued to Jamaican animators to create a music under the theme 'Beam Me Up With ICT', which explores how information and communication technologies (ICT) can transform the cultural, economic, social and educational lives of youth in Jamaica.

"We are delighted with the response to the challenge this year and are pleased to have seen the outpouring of talent. We want to encourage young people to develop their competencies and work toward being world class in this field. We congratulate the winner and runner ups and thank each person who participated. We must also thank the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, for the close partnership and for opening the gateway for us to host the CDB Youth Vybzing and Challenge," said Angela Parris, manager of CDB's information unit and coordinator of the Vybzing Programme.




"I worked on the project on and off over two weeks using Blender, which is an open source animation software, to create this video, which is a mix of 2D and 3D animation," Smith revealed as he outlined his creative process and inspiration for his video.

"The music was inspired from my experience in high school when we used to drum on the desk to make beats for our freestyle rapping," he added.

Smith is a graduate of Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts where he studied Visual Communications.

The Vybzing Animated Video Challenge and Vybzing Youth Forum were held in April ahead of CDB's annual Board of Governors Meetings held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre May 18 and 19. The Vybzing activities were hosted in Jamaica in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information. The winners received their prizes at a presentation during the closing ceremony on May 19.