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Tuesday, November 28, 2023


In December, the USVI will become the animation capital of the world during a weeklong film festival said to be one of the largest of its kind ever held on U.S. soil. According to Robert West, the festival's director, the event, scheduled for Dec. 3-8, 2001, will attract thousands of animation professionals, students, fans and press from around the globe.
The festival will be a competition of animated films under 30 minutes in length in several categories including animation for the Internet, advertising, films for a television series, and director's films. The director's films will be screened at the Reichhold Center for the Arts over a period of five days with two shows per evening. Films in other categories will be shown at the Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort, Tillett Gardens, and the Westin on St. John. Venues have not yet been selected on St. Croix, though West says there will be at least two. An international panel of judges will choose the winners.
In connection with the festival, during the month of September 160 children from all three islands will have the opportunity to participate in four weeklong animation film workshops to be held on St. Thomas and St. Croix. Students will learn the fundamentals of animation and make short films that will be shown during the festival. The workshops will be conducted by David Ehrlich, an instructor of film studies who has taught animation workshops for children around the world. All students will be able to attend the screenings of the "Children's Films" for free.
Before moving to St. Thomas, West ran film societies and festivals in the U.S. for many years. "We came to St. Thomas with something creative in mind," explained West's wife, Ann, who is also the festival's administrator. "After being here a short time we realized that film is something the island embraces," she said.
They are currently developing a Web site (www.animationinparadise.com) which they expect to launch in March. In the meantime, the Wests may be contacted by phone at (340) 714-3319 or by e-mail at usviintaff@gmnmail.com.

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