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Manila, Cebu animation sectors eye collaboration

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CEBU’S animation industry received a boost with prominent Manila-based studios expressing interest in forging linkages and collaborating to corner a bigger share of the global animation market.

Representatives of three animation studios from Manila as well as the Animation Council of the Philippines, Inc. (ACPI), Game Developers Association of the Philippines and College of St. Benilde were in Cebu to take part in the Sugbo Entertainment Expo (SEE), an annual event that highlights the comics, animation and game development sectors as part of the Cebu Business Month celebration.

Synergy88 Entertainment Media, Inc., Toon City and Toei Philippines are among the biggest animation studios in the country.

Synergy88 is one of the most successful content creators in Manila, Toon City is an all-Filipino animation studio that provides services to Walt Disney Television Animation and other major clients, and Toei is the biggest animation studio that does work solely for the Japanese market.

Animation industry leaders in Cebu welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with the Manila studios.

Lawrence Po Panganiban, chairperson of the annual Sugbo Entertainment Expo (SEE) and of the Cebu-based Enigma Kai comics and animation studio, said they hope to grow the local industry into a globally competitive industry.

Panganiban said they want to “forge a strong partnership and collaboration between Cebu and Manila because in the digital entertainment industry, there are no borders.”

Rene B. Misa, executive director of ACPI, said they will be talking with Cebuano animator Philmore “Emot” Amodia.

“We are growing rapidly. I asked Emot, ‘could we talk so that we will have a presence in Cebu’,” Misa said during the press conference prior to the opening of the SEE Cebu 2019.

Animation is currently one of the outsourcing services provided by the Philippines, but the local industry is fragmented, with most players doing individual work.

Ma. Geraldine Yumul, Synergy88 business manager, said the global animation market is valued at about US$200-billion. The Philippines has cornered only 0.7 percent of this market.

Synergy88, which is behind the first Filipino anime series “Barangay 143” on GMA network, is now collaborating with Netflix to produce a Japanese animated series for kids called “Dino Girl Gauko”.

Yumul said such collaboration with Netflix shows that Philippine animation studios are capable of capturing bigger global animation contracts.

“Let’s see how big the market is out there. We just need to keep searching (for projects),” Yumul said in the same press conference .

There are more than 6,000 professional animators in the Philippines. In Cebu, around 50 work with known studios, according to Amodia, art director of Emottoons and president of the Cebu Animation Guild.

Virgilio Espeleta, president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the chamber will place its bet on the digital entertainment industry.

“I believe this is the future. Why? More than half of the population are digitally able aged 24 and below. It’s a huge market. This is another strong pillar that drives the economy,” he said.

SEE Cebu is one of the activities during the Cebu Business Month, an annual event organized by the Cebu Chamber. (Ventures Cebu)

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