Animation may not be the first thing that pops to mind when you hear the name Jamaica, but the Caribbean island of nearly 3 million people is making an effort to position itself as a player in the global animation industry. Two weeks ago, 43 students graduated from the inaugural class of ‘Animate Jamaica,’ a six-month certificate program of the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication. [The graduation photo above comes from this set on Flickr.]
The program has garnered enthusiasm in Jamaican media as a possible solution for easing the country’s perpetual unemployment problem for young people. Animate Jamaica has the backing of both Jamaica’s government and the World Bank Group. The initiative’s lofty aims, according to the World Bank, is to position Jamaica “as one of the global hubs of animation with South Korea, India, and the Philippines as a means of tapping into the significant creative talent of Jamaican youth and their interest in participating more actively in the global economy.”
Nearly two-thirds of the graduating students have already been guaranteed work, in part due to the Jamaican studio Reel Rock GSW, which was a major backer of the Animate Jamaica program. They signed a co-production deal last year with French animation outfit Red Frog to produce 13 episodes of Quiz Time for Disney Junior France [see video below]. The success of that production has led to an even bigger co-production deal to work on 52 episodes of the Disney Channel/Nickelodeon series Lucky Fred in conjunction with Spain’s Imira Entertainment.