Fourteen pioneering students and first graduates of an animation skills training programme administered by the Professional Development Institute and Girls' Town on Maxfield Avenue, are slated to join the production team at Reel Rock GSW Animation Limited in March 2014.
The programme features an international innovative partnership between the public and private sectors and was made possible by contributions from The World Bank, The Embassy of Japan, The Jamaica Social Investment Fund, Toon Boom Animation, and Reel Rock GSW Animation Limited.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Wayne Sinclair, CEO of Reel Rock GSW Animation Limited said: "We created this programme with JSIF and Girls' Town to meet a specific need that we have for animators to work on a major international contract that starts production in March 2014".
"Honestly, I had conservative expectations for what I would see because the young people who were selected for the programme were coming from very difficult circumstances, with little or no experience in animation. But I was blown away by what I saw. These young Jamaicans will definitely have an opportunity to work with us come March next year!" Sinclair declared.
As part of the training programme, the selected students were exposed to cutting-edge technology through licence grants from Toon Boom, as well as the 12 basic principles of animation and the animation production pipeline. A pre-requisite for graduation was that each student, working individually and in teams, was required to produce an animated 'short' of not less than 30 seconds in length.
Sinclair noted that the long-term aim of the programme is for the graduates to receive advanced certification with Reel Rock GSW Animation which will put them on a level equal to that of other animation industry professionals worldwide.
Reel Rock GSW Animation recently secured a contract to co-produce 52 episodes of Luck Fred; a cartoon series in which each episode will be 12 minutes long. The series has been distributed to over 160 territories worldwide and airs on The Disney Channel and Nickelodeon in Europe, Asia, South America and Australia.
Under the terms of the agreement, Reel Rock GSW Animation will receive a percentage of the ownership of the global intellectual property rights of the project. The other co-production partners are from Spain, Italy, Luxembourg and Ireland.
Sinclair estimates that the project will require Reel Rock GSW Animation to hire an additional 65 animators and illustrators to effectively service the contract.