Otafest 2022

May 21-22, 2022

Calgary Telus Convention Centre

Otafest is Calgary’s non-profit, all-ages Japanese anime and pop culture festival featuring anime screenings, an exhibitor hall, community panels, cosplay contests, voice actors, concerts, and so much more!

Saturday

May 21

Box Office
8:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Festival Hours
10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Exhibitor Hall
10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Sunday

May 22

Box Office
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Festival Hours
10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Exhibitor Hall
10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

What's In Store?

Panels

We feature 100+ events including official Otafest content, industry panels, community content, and more!

Guests

Otafest brings in celebrities from around the world for Q&A and autographs!

Gaming

The Otafest Arcade features board, card, PC, and console gaming along with various tournaments to get your game on!

Cosplay

We host a variety of cosplay contests for all skill levels, from beginners to international-level competitions!

Exhibitor Hall

From original artwork and commissioned portraits to autographs, jewelry, plushies and video games.

Sketch Drive

A Unique Otafest feature! Have your portrait drawn with all proceeds going to charity!

More!

Otafest has something for everybody & you’ll have to see it to believe it!

Tickets

Total Access

Enjoy the entire festival, including our Exhibitor Hall, musical events, panels, and more!

Autographs

Meet your favorite stars, take photos and get their autographs!

Free WiFi

Enjoy complimentary wifi connectivity while in the Telus Convention Centre.
Mask

Masks are mandatory at Otafest 2022.

Vaccine

Proof of vaccination is required at Otafest 2022.

Please see Otafest’s policies for details and exceptions.

Hotel

The Marriott Hotel

Just an elevator ride away from Otafest, you can book your stay at the Calgary Marriott Downtown Hotel with special rates for Otafest attendees!

Connected directly to the Telus Convention Centre and boasting Calgary’s largest standard guestroom available with a single king or two double beds and large windows, the Marriott’s rooms feature beautifully appointed furniture and hypoallergenic Duvets, fitness center, pool access, and wireless internet.

Kick It up a Notch​

We have a variety of ways you can get involved with Otafest beyond simply attending, and we can’t wait to see what you have to offer!

Please be patient with us!

We have a wide variety of ways for you to get involved with Otafest. At the moment, however, our application forms are not ready.

We appreciate your patience so much as we get all of our registration forms and applications up and running! We will post to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media as more information and application dates become available.

AMV Contest

Otafest’s AMV Contest is open to everyone who wants to submit an AMV video into competition provided that it’s their own work and conforms to all the contest’s rules. 

You do not need to be present at the event to enter, but attendance is always encouraged when possible.

Artist Alley

Artist Alley provides an outlet for artists and creative designers ranging from hobbyists to professionals to showcase and sell their work. Pieces are inspired by anime, manga, video games, and other popular cultural themes and topics. 

Only original works may be sold in Otafest’s Artist Alley, no commercial merchandise.

Auction

Submit your stuff to be sold at the Otafest Auction!

Otafest will retain 10% of proceeds, owners will receive all else generated from the auction unless otherwise indicated (e.g. if you indicate that you want the proceeds donated to charity).

Café

The café is a unique and fun experience for patrons and volunteers alike. Participate in food service, dances, and photos while making a bunch of friends in the process! You’ll be a part of one of Otafest’s most tight-knit and welcoming volunteer groups!

Cosplay

Cosplay is an incredibly important part of our festival and we love seeing cosplayers turn out in style to showcase your latest creations. 

Otafest runs a variety of cosplay contests to include as much diversity as possible!

Exhibitors

Otafest’s Exhibitor Hall brings local stores, industry, and travelling vendors into one convenient location to sell official figures, manga, plushies, art, games, media, posters, and other wares.

How It's Made

How It’s Made brings the community together by sharing knowledge and experiences in cosplay and related crafts. The event is set up just like a science fair: presenters display cosplay pieces or equipment that they have made or used, educating visitors about the processes involved. It’s all about building up the cosplay community in Calgary!

Panel Submission

The majority of Otafest’s programming is provided by community members like you who have creative ideas to present to their peers.

Whether you’re hosting a game show, an educational talk, or anything else, we’d love to see your unique creativity and we’re excited to see what you have in store this year!

Sketch Drive Application

Otafest’s Sketch Drive embodies our belief in volunteerism and charity. As part of Otafest’s mission to give back to the community, Sketch Drive offers the opportunity for emerging and experienced artists to hone their talents for a good cause.

The Ota Factor​

Otafest’s best vocalists fight for the top position in the spotlight! Formerly known as “Otafest Idol”, contestants dazzle the audience and judges with their best voice to discover if they truly have that Ota Factor.

Come on in and sing your heart out!

Volunteer Application​

Otafest would be literally impossible without our wonderful volunteer base, and we make it as fun as possible to volunteer with us!

Whether you’re volunteering alone or with friends, we’ll do our best to keep you smiling throughout the whole weekend.

Charitable Initiatives

Skipping Stone Foundation Logo

Each year, Otafest selects a local charitable cause to support. Please help us reach our $5,000 goal to support the local community and remember to attend closing ceremonies for our traditional fun (and often embarrassing) games for our planning team! You can help by participating in Otafest's Charity Auction, Angel Passes, Sketch Drive, Cards Against Otafest, & more!

Skipping Stone Foundation

Otafest’s 2022 charity initiative supports the Skipping Stone Foundation.

Skipping Stone connects trans and gender diverse youth, adults, and families with comprehensive and low barrier access to the support they need and deserve.

Founded in 2016 with the goal of providing trans and gender diverse youth positive and affirming opportunities surrounding their gender identity and expression, Skipping Stone grew to act as a system and services guide, assisting the youth and families in accessing supports and navigating the system, including health care, education and social services. By 2019 Skipping Stone had provided life-changing services to thousands of trans and gender diverse youth, families and adults across the province.

Skipping Stone provides a variety of services, including:

  • One on one peer mentoring for youth, parents and caregivers
  • Group programming, which includes discussions, film screenings, education, creative outlets, guest speakers, etc.
  • Making gender affirming gear available to trans and gender diverse individuals
  • Exploration of Fashion and Style for trans and gender diverse individuals
  • Community events
  • Mental health and Counselling services
  • Medical Services
  • System Navigation

Sponsors

We would like to thank all of our sponsors for their generous contributions to our event ♥
Alberta Foundation for the Arts
Calgary Telus Convention Centre
Calgary Marriott Downtown Hotel
Wi-Com Solutions
Otafest's Official Radio Provider

Otafest Festival Policies

1. Definitions

  1. In these policies,
    1. “Artist Alley” refers to the designated location for the sale of personal artwork;
    2. “Cosplay” refers to the special event known as Cosplay;
    3. “O.P.E” refers to the Otafest Policy Enforcement department;
    4. “Otafest” refers to the Otafest Festival, it’s staff, volunteers, and representatives;
    5. “Patron” refers to any person attending the Otafest Festival with valid proof of admission;
    6. “Exhibitor Hall” refers to the designated location for the sale of merchandise. Some events call this room the Merchant Hall, the Vendors’ Hall, or the Dealers’ room;
    7. “Viewing room” refers the designated viewing areas for video programming;
    8. “Wristband” refers to the proof of admission used by Otafest.

2. General Policies

  1. The following activities are not permitted during Otafest:
    1. Engaging in any activity prohibited by law;
    2. Any act which could result in substantial risk or harm to people or property;
    3. Engaging in disruptive and unsafe behavior that disturbs other patrons, staff, or the public;
    4. Sexual misconduct, such as indecent exposure, offensive touching, or sexual harassment;
    5. Physical or verbal harassment of the public or staff;
    6. Loitering.
  2. All patrons must abide by all TELUS Convention Centre procedures, policies, and bylaws, as well as all local, provincial, and federal laws and bylaws.
  3. Seating for events or in viewing rooms is first-come, first-served. Due to fire regulations, sitting in aisles and seating beyond the room’s capacity are not allowed, and Otafest is bound by law to strictly enforce this.
  4. Alcohol is only permitted in designated areas within the Otafest festival space. No outside alcohol is permitted.
  5. Disruptive behaviours caused by intoxicating substances may lead to removal from the festival areas or revocation of wristbands. Patrons displaying outward signs of intoxication may be asked to leave festival areas until such time that they are no longer intoxicated.
  6. Food and drinks are normally permitted during events and inside viewing rooms, but please clean up after yourself. Please use available garbage bins to dispose of waste. Patrons will be informed if food or drinks are prohibited.
  7. Talking out of turn during events or in viewing rooms is disruptive to other patrons. Please save your comments for outside the event or viewing room.
  8. With respect to some Otafest events, such as Cosplay, Otafest Festival Policies may be temporarily overridden for participants of that event. The only persons that may authorize this override are:
    1. Chairman;
    2. O.P.E Head;
    3. Assistant O.P.E Head;
    4. Emergency Management Officer;
    5. Cosplay Director or delegate.

3. COVID-19 Safety Protocols

  1. Vaccine eligible patrons are required to show proof of vaccination prior to obtaining a wristband.
  2. Patrons who are not vaccine eligible are required to show a privately paid negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours prior to their initial arrival at Otafest.
  3. All participants of Otafest are required to wear a mask.
  4. Otafest will use the email address provided on registration forms for contact tracing purposes, if deemed required by government regulations.
  5. COVID-19 safety protocols may be revised without notice pending government policy or Otafest’s discretion.

4. Wristbands and Admission

  1. Wristbands must be worn and be visible at all times. Individuals without wristbands will not be granted access to the Festival.
  2. Any patron who has their wristband revoked will not receive reimbursement or refund of any part of their admission.
  3. A fee will be charged for replacing a lost wristband. Replacement badges must be authorized by the Registration department.
  4. Please return any wristbands found to Otafest staff immediately.
  5. Admission is non-refundable.
  6. By purchasing admission, the patron agrees to follow all policies herein.

5. Attire and Costumes

  1. All patrons are required to dress in accordance with public decency laws while at Otafest.
  2. All patrons are required to wear footwear. Socks or bare feet are not acceptable.
  3. Otafest reserves the right to deem any attire or costume unacceptable and request the wearer to either change or make modifications as necessary.
  4. Patrons should be aware that they may be asked to remove all or part of any costume that is bulky, difficult to maneuver, or otherwise presents possible safety issues for the wearer or other patrons.

6. Harassment and Assault

  1. Otafest has a zero tolerance policy for any type of harassment and/or assault towards staff, volunteers, patrons and/or the public at large.
    1. Harassment is defined as any intentional behavior that alarms or threatens another person. This includes but is not limited to, any unwanted physical contact, following someone without reason, or threatening to harm someone.
  2. Sexual misconduct is unacceptable at Otafest, and will result in the revocation of the patron’s wristband and involvement of local police.

7. Liability

  1. Although we strive for the safest possible environment, Otafest and its affiliates are not responsible for any loss, damage, theft, or injury while attending Otafest.
  2. Patrons are responsible for their individual actions and any repercussion that may result.
  3. Civil or medical emergencies are to be handled directly by the proper authorities.

8. Merchandise and Theft

  1. All merchandise from Otafest itself, the Exhibitor Hall, or Artist Alley, must be paid for.
  2. Any patron caught shoplifting will be handed over to the proper authorities, have their wristband revoked, and refused service into all future Otafest events. There will be no exceptions.

9. Photography and Video Recording

  1. Photography/Video Recording is restricted in the screening theatres and may also be restricted in other specific events. Patrons will be informed if photography or video recording is prohibited.
  2. No photographer, videographer or journalist shall make use of any implement that rests wholly or partially upon a supporting device that is anchored to, tethered to or in any other way deriving strength or stability from any source other than the photographer, videographer or journalist’s person (i.e. Tripod) without express written permission from authorized Otafest staff.
  3. No photographer, videographer or journalist shall make use of any implement that exceeds 24 inches in its largest dimension (i.e. large reflectors or light boxes) without express written permission from authorized Otafest staff. Body mounted stabilizers and harnesses are exempted from this policy.
  4. Photography, videography and verbal interviewing is prohibited within 1m of any venue entrance or emergency exit (marked by overhead signs), elevator door, escalator entrance/exit or bathroom entrance/exit. The aforementioned activities shall also be prohibited on or from any staircase, stairwell or landing within a staircase or stairwell.
  5. Additional areas of congestion may be designated as “No stopping/No photography” zones without prior notice by posting visible material including, but not limited to floor markings and or wall mounted signs.
  6. Photography of original artwork in Artist Alley is not allowed without express permission of the artist.
  7. Photography, videography and verbal interviewing is prohibited within the Exhibitor Hall (Exhibition Hall C, D, E) except in designated areas or with written permission from authorized Otafest staff.
  8. Usage of the venue’s power outlets is prohibited.
  9. Obtain permission from the subject(s) before taking pictures of guests, other patrons, or the general public.
  10. By entering the venue, all persons consent to being video recorded by Otafest staff/volunteers.

10. Weapons & Props

  1. Otafest has the following definitions:
    1. A “weapon” is defined to be any item that: is designed to cause injury or death, or anything a person actually uses or intends to use to cause injury or death. Also includes any item which is designed, used, or intended for use to threaten or intimidate.
    2. A “prop” is defined as any item used by an attendee to enhance their costume.
    3. A “prop resembling a realistic weapon” is defined as any prop that can be mistaken for a weapon by a casual observer at any distance.
    4. A “prop resembling a non-realistic weapon” is defined as a prop meant to resemble a weapon, but that would not be mistaken for a dangerous item by a casual observer at any distance. This would include props that resemble fantasy weapons, futuristic weapons or stylized weapons.
    5. A “general prop” is defined as any other prop that is not meant to resemble a weapon.
  2. Any prop designed to be visually or functionally indistinguishable from items classified as “illegal” or “restricted” under City, Provincial, or Federal mandate, is categorically barred from any Otafest event. Any props that may be mistaken to be a public danger by a reasonable person at a distance are categorically barred from any Otafest event.
  3. All props that are brought to Otafest MUST BE INSPECTED by O.P.E immediately upon arrival and registration at the festival. Failure to adhere to this regulation may result in your prop being confiscated, or revocation of your convention pass.
    1. The O.P.E Staff will have the final say on whether a prop will be allowed at the venue.
    2. General props will be marked in a highly visible way such that staff and patrons can tell from a distance that the prop is allowed for general use at the festival.
    3. Props that resemble a realistic weapon or is otherwise inappropriate MUST be removed from the venue.
    4. All props may be subjected to continued assessment throughout the event by the O.P.E or Event Staff
  4. Prohibited items
    1. Projectile Weaponry
      1. Absolutely no projectile weaponry will be allowed at any Otafest event at any time, this includes but is not limited to: Airsoft, BB, Paintball, Nerf, or any similar guns, thrown weaponry such as shuriken and throwing darts. There shall be no throwing of any kind of prop at any time.
      2. All other firearms/projectile weapons are required to have orange safety tips at all times on the venue grounds.
    2. Metal Bladed Weaponry
      1. Absolutely no metal blade weaponry is allowed regardless of sharpness or hardness of the blade. This includes swords, knives, axes, pole arms, or any other prop composed of metal.
    3. Practice Swords
      1. Bokken, kendo, and other wooden practice swords shall be deemed as bladed weapons under this policy
  5. Generally Acceptable Materials: The following is a list of generally acceptable materials for the construction of homemade props. All items will still be assessed on a case by case basis by O.P.E staff.
    1. Cardboard
    2. Foam
    3. Wood
    4. PVC and Plastic High Density Foam
  6. Forbidden Materials: The following is a list of forbidden materials for the construction of homemade props. There are certain exceptions that may be made on a case by case basis.
    1. Metal
    2. Glass or Ceramics
    3. Plastics or Composite Materials that has been fashioned to, or that can hold an edge or sharp point.

11. Autographs

  1. Otafest does not guarantee autographs from a particular guest.
  2. Otafest reserves the right to limit or otherwise cut any autograph line at any time.
  3. Unless otherwise stated, up to two (2) acceptable items per person may be autographed per line.
  4. Autographs on unlicensed or inappropriate materials may be declined.
  5. Patrons shall not exhibit rude and/or inappropriate behaviour.
  6. Guests reserve the right to accept gifts.
  7. Guest-specific changes may apply and will be communicated through official means including but not limited to: website, program guide, social media, and signage at the event.

12. Violation of Otafest Policies

  1. Otafest reserves the right to enforce punishment against any patron who violates these policies. Such punishment can include, but is not limited to:
    1. Asking a patron to leave a particular event, viewing room, or the venue;
    2. Revoking a patron’s wristband without refund;
    3. Banning a patron from future Otafest events.

Harassment Complaint Procedure

At Otafest, we want to ensure that you have a positive and inclusive experience, and this is why we take harassment very seriously. We are committed to our community.

If you have a harassment concern, the first step is to report it. You can speak with any of our staff members or volunteers to begin the process. The staff member or volunteer will contact the Chair, or designate, and we’ll take it from there.

About Otafest

24

Years

440

Volunteers per Year

$135,899

Raised for Charity

Our Mission

Otafest creates inclusive events which build a community of fans of Japanese anime, popular culture and related arts.

Our Story

Otafest was born in 1999 when the University of Calgary’s Dedicated Otaku Anime Club decided to have a 1 day film festival showing Japanese Animation (anime) to the public.

Over the next decades, Otafest grew into a larger festival run by a non-profit organization (The Otafest Film and Cultural Festival Planning Committee) and while we still showcase anime, it’s just a part of the festival experience.

Otafest is an annual conference for anime enthusiasts. We are a creative outlet for fans, where you can show your passion and appreciation of the hobby. We are a space for you to show off the costumes you have made, the music videos you have created, and the art you have painted and drawn. Otafest is a forum for discussion and education. We host educational panels introducing you to the basics of the Japanese language and tips on how to use computer programs to enhance music videos and CG art. In the past, we have hosted guests who explained the process of donning a kimono, demonstrated the intricacies of tea ceremonies, and Iaido (the art of drawing a sword from a scabbard). We have also invited guests involved in the voice acting and animation industries to speak of their experiences.

Otafest is a marketplace. We gather dozens of vendors together from all over Western Canada to facilitate the best bargain hunting in town. And, of course, we haven’t forgotten our roots: Otafest is an anime festival.

Each year, we host charity events and fundraisers during the festival to be donated to that year’s selected charity. Dedicated rooms such as the Maid Cafe donate their proceeds to the charity as well.

We hope to see you this year!

Acknowledgement

Otafest acknowledges that the land we gather on is the traditional territory of the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Blackfoot Confederacy (comprising the Siksika, Piikani and Kainai First Nations), as well as the Tsuut’ina First Nation, and the Stoney Nakoda (including the Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley First Nations). The City of Calgary is also the home of the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.

Calgary is home to many First Nations peoples from across Turtle Island. We acknowledge that settlers on the land occupy and directly benefit from the process of colonization.

Each year, Otafest selects a charity to give back to those in our community and beyond. In 2019, our charity of choice was Miskanawah (formerly Pathways) and we encourage you to consider making a donation if you are able. We aspire to continue supporting local Indigenous communities in the future.

Commitment to Anti-Racism Improvements

May 31, 2021

Hi folks, thank you so much for your patience!

This time last year, Otafest made a commitment to be better allies. We’ve done a lot of work and study on anti-racism work this year, and will continue to do so. After elections last year, the incoming leadership team collectively put in over 300+ hours of both anti-racism and inclusivity & diversity training. We held a total of 6 sessions over half a year so that all staff could have a chance to share in our learnings, and contribute their learnings too. All staff members in a decision-making capacity completed the training.

Procedurally, we took some time to dive through our internal policies for procedures that could contribute to systemic racism. We identified a key barrier in our internal progression policies that could contribute to difficulties for POC to climb the ranks, and eliminated that. We continue to be mindful that systemic racism can be unintentional in nature, and the only way to address that is to actively view our decision making from an anti-racism lens. We’ve learned from our training that to be better allies, we should focus on doing the work, rather than talking about doing it, so we hope our actions were felt by the community in our programming this year, and will continue to be felt in the future. This summer, our plan is to continue with more advanced anti-racism training surrounding restorative justice practices.

At the Board level, we created a dedicated anti-racism committee, to make sure these initiatives don’t get forgotten. Late last year, our membership elected the most diverse leadership team Otafest has had. On the Board, 6 out of 7 of us are visible minorities, and on the wider leadership team, 7 out of 9 of us are visible minorities. This specifically includes individuals who are Asian, Black and Persian. 3 out of 9 of us identify as queer. Each of us bring our lived experiences to try to continue to make Otafest as inclusive as possible, bring diverse viewpoints to our most critical decision making, and to be better allies.

And to do so, we know that anti-racism work must be ongoing and evolving. We will continue to provide annual updates on our progress.

Thank you for your time,

Jenny Chan
Otafest 2021 - Chair