About Otafest

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!

Our Mission

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

22 years

142 volunteer staff

300 volunteers

257 content contributors

$135,899.00 raised

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 – http://www.pathwayscsa.org) and we encourage you to consider making a donation if you are able to. We aspire to continue supporting local Indigenous communities in the future.

Statistics

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!

  • Otafest 2020

     

    May 15 - 17, 2020

  • Otafest 2019

    May 17 - 19

    9,222 Attendees
    $10,242 raised for Pathways Community Services Association

     

    Otafest 2019

  • Otafest 2018

     

    May 18 - 20

    9,572 Attendees
    $12,000 raised for The Alex Youth Health Centre

  • Otafest 2017

    June 30 - July 2

    7,724 Attendees
    $11,180 raised for The Tom Baker Cancer Centre

     

    Otafest 2017

  • Aurora 2016

     

    Nov 4 - 5

    1,824 Attendees
    $2,670 raised for Between Friends

  • Otafest 2016

    July 1 - 3

    7,995 Attendees
    $10,000 raised for United Way of Calgary

     

    Otafest 2016

  • Aurora 2015

     

    Nov 13 - 14

    2,542 Attendees
    $1,500 raised for Children’s Cottage Society

  • Otafest 2015

    May 15 - 17

    8,144 Attendees
    $10,100 raised for Distress Centre Calgary

     

    Otafest 2015

  • Aurora 2014

     

    Nov 29

    2,040 Attendees
    $1,500 raised for Boys & Girls Clubs of Calgary

  • Otafest 2014

    May 16 - 18

    7,787 Attendees
    $13,500 raised for Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society

     

    Otafest 2014

  • Aurora 2013

     

    Nov 30

    1,716 Attendees
    $2,300 raised for Seniors Secret Service

  • Otafest 2013

    May 17 - 19, 2013

    4,947 Attendees
    $12,474 raised for Canadian Mental Health Association – Calgary Branch

     

    Otafest 2013

  • Aurora 2012

     

    Dec 15, 2012

    843 Attendees raised for

  • Otafest 2012

    May 18 - 20, 2012

    4,938 Attendees
    $11,000 raised for Calgary Humane Society

     

    Otafest 2012

  • Lite 2011

     

    Nov 12, 2011

    700 Attendees
    $1,000 raised for Autism Aspergers Friendship Society of Calgary

  • Otafest 2011

    May 20 - 22, 2011

    4,135 Attendees
    $10,398 raised for Japan Red Cross

     

    Otafest 2011

  • Lite 2010

     

    Nov 13, 2010

    800 Attendees
    $2,000 raised for Children’s Cottage Society

  • Otafest 2010

    May 21 - 23, 2010

    3,697 Attendees
    $5,300 raised for Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

     

    Otafest 2010

  • Lite 2009

     

    Nov 14, 2009

    900 Attendees
    $5,000 raised for Mustard Seed

  • Otafest 2009

    May 15 - 17, 2009

    4,361 Attendees
    $1,735 raised for Alberta Children’s Hospital

     

    Otafest 2009

  • Otafest 2008

     

    May 16 - 18, 2008

    4,278 Attendees

  • Otafest 2007

    May 19 - 20, 2007

    2,709 Attendees

     

    Otafest 2007

  • Otafest 2006

     

    May 21 - 22, 2006

  • Otafest 2005

    May 21 - 22, 2005

     

    Otafest 2005

  • Otafest 2004

    May 15 - 16, 2004

  • Otafest 2003

    May 24 - 25, 2003

    Otafest 2003

  • Otafest 2002

     

    May 24 - 26, 2002

  • Otafest 2001

    Sep 15 - 16, 2001

    700 Attendees

     

    Otafest 2001

  • Otafest 2000

     

    June 17 - 18, 2000

    900 Attendees

  • Otafest 1999

    July 3 - 4, 1999

    700 Attendees

     

    Otafest 1999

Attendance numbers are warm body counts.