Otafest creates inclusive events which build a community of fans of Japanese anime, popular culture and related arts.
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 has grown to become a large three day festival, with 9,500 attendees in 2018. The festival is 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 act as a creative outlet for fans, an occasion where they can show their passion and appreciation of the hobby. We are an event where fans can show off the costumes they have made, the music videos they have created, and the art they have painted and drawn. Otafest is a forum for discussion and education. We host educational panels introducing others 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 individuals 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!
Otafest Attendees have made charitable donations to various causes through various fundraising drives and activities. These have included the great “head-shaving” initiative of 2010, and the infamous “let’s-put-the-chairman-in-a-dress” fundraising drive of 2011. We are very proud of our community for coming together and donating to great causes!
$12,000 raised for The Alex Youth Health Centre
$11,180 raised for The Tom Baker Cancer Centre
$2,670 raised for Between Friends
$10,000 raised for United Way of Calgary
$1,500 raised for Children’s Cottage Society
$10,100 raised for Distress Centre Calgary
$1,500 raised for Boys & Girls Clubs of Calgary
$13,500 raised for Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society
$2,300 raised for Seniors Secret Service
$12,474 raised for Canadian Mental Health Association – Calgary Branch
843 Attendees raised for
$11,000 raised for Calgary Humane Society
$1,000 raised for Autism Aspergers Friendship Society of Calgary
$10,398 raised for Japan Red Cross
$2,000 raised for Children’s Cottage Society
$5,300 raised for Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation
$5,000 raised for Mustard Seed
$1,735 raised for Alberta Children’s Hospital
Attendance numbers are warm body counts.