Chinese Animation Industry 2009.

The Chinese animation industry in recent years has been used as a service platform by American and European studio’s and is probably best known for producing many of the cartoon shows on TV’s across the world. Designed in the West and animated and produced at high quality in the East, seems to have worked out very well for both sides.

While this was a great opportunity for the Chinese companies to make good money, it would have a very serious effect on the creative artists and the domestically made projects, that China had built up in it’s early years. With the temptation of American and European money, the gamble of putting up big money to create Chinese content shows and train up new and young talent became less of an attraction. The result was a work force that created nothing for the domestic market, but produced thousands of western animation projects every year.

But if you were to turn the clock back 50 years, the situation would have been very different. Animation was a very highly regarded film medium, and with some fantastic animators and artists. Titles like ‘Monkey King’, ‘Ne Zha’ and ‘Black Cat’ are as popular today as they were when they were made and even more popular than many of the projects on TV today. An era of quality was replaced around the early 80’, by an era of making money, and many large factory styled studios like Cuckoo’s Nest and Hong Ying sprung up.

Today, these big studios are a shadow of their former self and with a flood of young talent trying to recreate a classic and quality based animation that can compete with the rest of the world, the future of the animation industry in China is at an exciting stage. This years Shanghai Animation Festival brought some of those names to the fore.

One of those names was Sandman Animation Studio, a studio that won two awards at this year’s ceremony. A studio based in Suzhou, that seems to have mastered the balance of animation styles for the East and West, and producing service based animation as well as their own animation TV series for the international and domestic market. When we visited their luxury studio on the shores of the Jin Ji Lake, they were in production of ‘Horrid Henry’ 52 X 11 min for England, a feature film ‘ a Child’s Christmas’ for Wales and their own ‘My Pet’ TV series of 104 X 11 episodes.

We asked Sandman’s President, Kieron Seamons, how he saw the future of Chinese animation?

“I am very confident in the future of Chinese animation and very confident that Sandman Animation Studio will be a driving force in that change and direction. In recent years, we have shown our dedication to producing some of the best animation and producing some of the finest artists in the country and our current productions will set a bench mark for all animation produced in China for years to come !”

The bright yellow studio seems to glow with excitement, and the friendly team buzzed around us as we toured the offices and rooms, from stacks of high-teach equipment, to toys, to lines of artists all drawing away, we seemed to be a long way away from those factory days of the early 80’s.

As we left the warm glow of the studio behind, the toys, the artists and artwork, We couldn’t help feeling that the future of Chinese animation was in very, very good hands.


Online article.