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ACPI: PHL animation sector aims for high-quality services, original content

(Manila, Philippines, June 26, 2013) — For decades, the Philippine animation sector has been a key contributor to the development of content for cartoon television shows and animated films in markets like the US, supplying a significant share of animated content globally. Today, the sector is focusing on developing original content in the country as well as empowering stakeholders to continue working with companies from the US, Japan, and Europe, according to Benjamin Marasigan, president of the Animation Council of the Philippines (ACPI).

“In a way, the animation industry in the Philippines is one of the oldest because we’ve been doing work for companies abroad since the 1980s,” says Marasigan. “Right now, we still need to develop our own industry by developing our own content and intellectual property.”

Marasigan, who was recently elected as president of ACPI, is expected to share his expertise to further boost the growing animation sector in the Philippines. His first foray into the industry was in 1992 when he joined animation company Filcartoons. This allowed him to experience the “Golden Age of Animation” in the Philippines when he became part of animating popular cartoons in the ‘90s, including The Flintstones, Captain Planet, and other Hannah Barbera shows.

However, with the growth of the animation sector came stronger competition from other Asian countries such as China, India, and Korea, which offer the same kind of state-of-the-art animation services and technology as the Philippines but at lower cost.

But Filipino animators remained resilient, showcasing world-class skills in flash animation and web design; graphic and art design; mobile application; 3D gaming both for consoles and PC platforms; interactive games; e-learning modules that require animation and animation training; and full 2D and 3D animation that includes pre- and post-production services like in-betweening, clean-up, digital background through scanning and pre-composting, color styling, special effects creation and digital ink and paint application.

In 2012, the animation sector posted 3-percent growth and earned US$132 million. There was also 4-percent growth in employment of Filipino animators that deliver high-value creative services to a number of prestigious international animation studios.

“Even with the appreciation of the Philippine peso in the past year, there are more investors coming in. There are some foreign companies that are interested in setting up operations here. When these plans materialize, it will generate income and provide employment at the same time,” says Michael Kho Lim, ACPI executive director.

To continue the positive growth of the animation sector, Marasigan hopes to strengthen their partnership with the government. “ACPI is grateful for the support that the government has given the animation sector. We hope to increase efforts and continue successful public-private partnerships,” he says. ACPI is also working hand-in-hand with the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) in attracting foreign investors and global clients to invest in Philippine animation services.

According to Marasigan, ACPI is pushing for initiatives to provide incubation centers for start-up Filipino animation companies that can create original content, thereby providing avenues for local artists to exhibit their work. ACPI is also recognizing the role of the government to support original Filipino content on television by passing laws that require minimum airtime of local content. This initiative is inspired by legislation that France and Korea implemented for television content in their respective countries.

In November, ACPI will be bringing “Animahenasyon”, ACPI’s flagship project which is an annual animation competition and exhibition of original Filipino content, to Iloilo City. Iloilo City has been identified as one of the Next Wave CitiesTM by IBPAP and the Department of Science and Technology’s Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICTO). Next Wave CitiesTM are locations where the next wave of growth of IT-BPM, including creative services like animation, is expected to happen.

“We have very talented artists, not only in Manila, but also in the other locations in the Philippines. If we are able to tap their talent, then the sector will be bigger and better,” Marasigan says.

Lim adds, “When ACPI celebrates the festival’s 10th anniversary in 2016, we are looking at making Animahenasyon an international festival. By that time, we’d like for the Philippines to be known not just for its high-quality animation services and but also a source of original animated content.”

“An animator is an actor with a pencil,” newly-elected ACPI president Benjamin Marasigan quotes a classic line as he shares his vision for Filipino animators and maximizing the potential of original animation content.

Executive director Michael Kho Lim (third from left) and Benjamin Marasigan (rightmost) with members of the Animation Council of the Philippines, Inc. (ACPI) attend international trade fairs to showcase Philippine animation content.

Animator/Actor

“An animator is an actor with a pencil,” newly-elected ACPI president Benjamin Marasigan quotes a classic line as he shares his vision for Filipino animators and maximizing the potential of original animation content.

Executive director Michael Kho Lim (third from left) and Benjamin Marasigan (rightmost) with members of the Animation Council of the Philippines, Inc. (ACPI) attend international trade fairs to showcase Philippine animation content.

About the Animation Council of the Philippines, Inc.
The Animation Council of the Philippines, Inc. (ACPI) is a non-stock and non-profit organization whose member companies specialize mainly in, but not limited to, either 2D or 3D animation. It is an organization recognized and supported by the Philippine government whose aim is to promote the animation industry globally with the intention of creating an identity for the Philippines to be considered among the preferred countries that service the animation industry.

ACPI is a partner association of the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP).

About the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP)
The Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) is the enabling association for the information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) industry in the Philippines. IBPAP serves as the one-stop information and advocacy gateway for the industry. With over 300 industry and support-industry members, including five associations — the Animation Council of the Philippines, Inc., Contact Center Association of the Philippines, Game Developers Association of the Philippines, Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Association of the Philippines, and Philippine Software Industry Association — IBPAP plays a pivotal role in sustaining rapid growth of the IT-BPM industry by working to ensure an enduring supply of high-quality labor, supporting service innovation, and providing country visibility.

IBPAP assists investors in setting up operations easily and quickly in the Philippines. Relevant research, introductions to key government and industry officials, and a series of briefings at each step of the investment process ensure a seamless development process. On-going support is provided through a wide variety of initiatives, including programs for HR development, business development, and on-going knowledge sharing and networking opportunities.