David Plesic and Juan Sanmiguel
.Anime Festival Orlando was held on August
18-19, 2000 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Inn Gateway. Anime
Gaijin America organized this event. Guests included voice actors Doug
Smith and Wendee Lee, Steve Bennett, president of Studio IronCat Comics
and Marshall Hash, president of Hash Inc makers of a powerful graphics
The festival claimed to be the first hotel based anime convention in Orlando. The event did have some bumps. At registration, the pre-reg line went slower the regular ticket line. The pre-reg line ran out of freebie bags early on. The art show was also a bit weak. The show consisted of loose pictures either taped or pinned to a cloth divider wall. There were some good pictures but no where near the quality of other SF conventions. The art show was in the same room as the panels, which made it hard to present more elaborate displays such as models. The anime auction had people bringing cast offs from their collections and then requesting high minimum prices.
The convention had a fair amount of programming. Wendee lee gave a talk on her career. Steve Bennett did a panel on the Japanese culture and gave a cel painting class. Marshall Hash demonstrated the capabilities of the Animation Master software, which his company produces. A music video contest was held. Contestants made music videos using clips from anime. Entries included “Devil Goes Down to Georgia” to Dragonball Z and “War” using several sources. The only problem is that most of the videos appeared bleached out. Some tapes looked worse than others ranging from black and white to a tape you would see after several generations. Other competitions included a Name That Anime Tune contest, Who Wants to be an Otakunaire?, a costume contest, and a quick draw contest (winners were posted in the art show). Gaming took an interesting turn. Added to the standard card and role playing games were electronic games. Street Fighter Alpha 3 (Dreamcast) and Tekken (Play Station) tournaments were held. Films were being shown at all times and there was a dance on Saturday night.
This was pretty good for a first effort. They have more to do than the local media conventions. Hopefully they can smooth out their problems for future shows. .
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