$ 135899
Raised for Charity

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 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.


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.


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

Otafest 2019

May 17 - 19
9,222 Attendees
$10,242 raised for Pathways Community Services Association

Otafest 2018

May 18 - 20
A Celebration of the Gods
9,572 Attendees
$12,000 raised for The Alex Youth Health Centre

Otafest 2017

June 30 - July 2
Canada 150
7,724 Attendees
$11,180 raised for The Tom Baker Cancer Centre

Aurora 2016

Nov 4 - 5
Fairy Tale Ball
1,824 Attendees
$2,670 raised for Between Friends

Otafest 2016

July 1 - 3
Angels Remastered
7,995 Attendees
$10,000 raised for United Way of Calgary

Aurora 2015

Nov 13 - 14
2,542 Attendees
$1,500 raised for Children's Cottage Society

Otafest 2015

May 15 - 17
Space Pirates
8,144 Attendees
$10,100 raised for Distress Centre Calgary

Aurora 2014

Nov 29
2,040 Attendees
$1,500 raised for Boys & Girls Clubs of Calgary

Otafest 2014

May 16 - 18
School Girl
7,787 Attendees
$13,500 raised for Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society

Aurora 2013

Nov 30
Black Swan
1,716 Attendees
$2,300 raised for Seniors Secret Service

Otafest 2013

May 17 - 19
4,947 Attendees
$12,474 raised for Canadian Mental Health Association – Calgary Branch

Aurora 2012

Dec 15
843 Attendees

Otafest 2012

May 18 - 20
Magical Girl

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

Lite 2011

Nov 12
700 Attendees
$1,000 raised for Autism Aspergers Friendship Society of Calgary

Otafest 2011

May 20 - 22
4,135 Attendees
$10,398 raised for Japan Red Cross

Lite 2010

Nov 13
800 Attendees
$2,000 raised for Children's Cottage Society

Otafest 2010

May 21 - 23
3,697 Attendees
$5,300 raised for Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

Lite 2009

Nov 14
900 Attendees $5,000 raised for The Mustard Seed

Otafest 2009

May 15 - 17
A Vision of the Future
4,361 Attendees $1,735 raised for Alberta Children's Hospital

Otafest 2008

May 16 - 18
4,278 Attendees

Otafest 2007

May 19 - 20
2,709 Attendees

Otafest 2006

May 21 - 22
Attendance not tracked.

Otafest 2005

May 21 - 22
Attendance not tracked.

Otafest 2004

May 15 - 16
JRPG / Dragon Mage
Attendance not tracked.

Otafest 2003

May 24 - 25
Attendance not tracked.

Otafest 2002

May 24 - 26
Asian Heritage Month Collaboration
Attendance not tracked.

Otafest 2001

Sep 15 - 16
700 Attendees

Otafest 2000

Sep 15 - 16
700 Attendees

Otafest 1999

Jul 3 - 4
Angel of Death
700 Attendees