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Friday, September 20, 2013

DFA Promotes PH Comics & Animation!

09.20.2013 – The Philippine Animation industry and the Comics community is a thriving culture in the country. Both share struggles to provide jobs for aspiring artists and it’s also a difficult challenge how to stay competitive with other regional countries in Asia.

The Department of Foreign Affairs held a special seminar last week inviting representatives from Animation and Comics to talk about concerning issues and what the government can offer to expand their reach that would bring back interest.

Some might only know the DFA for issuing passports but they are here to help address concerns. Everyone’s perception of the DFA is that they are the government that issues passports. But they also do more for the country as one of the departments that is the primary agency responsible for the pursuit of foreign policy.

Their mission is to advance the interests of the country and the Filipino people overseas. Their key foreign policy pillar: economic security through economic diplomacy. And the last part that they do relates to the seminar discussion the DFA’s role on the promotion of Philippine Animation and Comics which is Cultural Diplomacy.

Honorable Jesus R.S. Domingo, Assistant Secretary of the DFA opened the seminar with his speech and introduction of what his agency’s role will be in helping the Animation and Comics industry. He discussed also what would benefit both Anime and Comics from the DFA that would expand its reach outside the country. To get more on the details the DFA has the largest organization in terms of foreign deployed personnel. They have more than 1,000 DFA Foreign Service personnel in 84 embassies, consulates and missions. They have access to foreign governments, markets and organizations abroad. They lastly have collaboration with Filipino communities located in these countries.

What the DFA offer to help can be through Cultural Diplomacy, Economic Diplomacy, Diaspora Diplomacy, Promotion of the creative industry during conventions, and expositions, and Introduction of the industry to key people and organizations.

The possible ventures with the UN and other International Organizations (IOS) would definitely put the country in the map by both Animation and Comics if this succeeds. The present collaborations with the DFA are through promoting their character mascot in “Captain DFA” which will have an appearance in upcoming events aside from the forth coming Komikon on November 16, 2013.

Just a quick trivia about the Assistant Secretary during his talk revealed to be a Star Trek fan or a Trekkie of The Original Series. So much that he’s excited with the collaboration and what he and his agency can help both the animation industry and comics community.

Beside Hon. J.R.S Domingo there are also other speakers who participated in this seminar. The first was Atty. Mark A. C. Herrin discussing intellectual property rights and his department IP PHL discussing how to protect your creation, where to register and other means to have your original ideas be saved from being stolen.

The next speaker is Ms. Domini Fangon talks about the Animation industry where she has put up a research paper. She found out about the ever growing economy of the animation industry comparing how the Japanese has a model or template in producing them connected with other departments involved which also reveals the process and why it’s successful.

This reveals the current issue that is why the Philippine animation industry is struggling to compete with regional neighbors and in need to improve which includes upgrading the technology as well.

But all this can be addressed through the support of the government through the DFA partnership and through events like Animahenasyon showcasing Filipino original content to enhance content creation and to improve strategy to enhance outsourcing destination, animation, education and career in promoting locally produced original content.

The last speaker is none other than Carljoe Javier who has been present in the previous Komikon events who discuss how the Philippine comics is seen as an industry when in reality it’s a thriving community which was the appropriate way to address it presently.

Mr. Javier touch base on how the DIY of publication began in the mid-1990s after the publishing houses closed down and some of the artists moved to other things. Those who kept doing what they are passionate about continued and also gave birth to the current comic book community or known locally as “Indie Komiks.”

He spoke about how Filipinos are talented globally especially in the American comic book industry. The Philippines is second only to the US in terms of comic book publication and said it’s a locally comics community. Most are self-published called “guerilla operation” since the artists do their own distribution system and mostly seen during the events in Komikon.

The industry that everyone knew is a passion driven community and that’s how the current situation local talent go through. Not everyone is financially able to produce high quality comic books it’s a small scale project that is funded through by parents and regular day jobs that’s why it’s more defined as a community.

Carljoe says every international comic book convention the organizers looks forward to see a Filipino artists as a guest but not anyone can afford to travel let alone apply a visa to go. But possibly with the help of the DFA this could change that and besides the issue of distribution the local bookstores only support a selected artists and publishers.

But as the Hon. Assistant Secretary has said the best way to promote the growing community is outside the country. Not the bookstores as the local publication won’t change the way their system works. The comic book community has the better avenue in getting the best possible promotion outside the country with the support of the DFA. By next month they will held a special event to promote both animation and comics.

There will be a week long mini expo promoting both animation and comics sometime in the second week of October 2013.

Special acknowledgements to the Department of Foreign Affairs for the invitation to have featured the artists and animators who participated in this seminar as more detail about the event will be announced very soon.

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