Skip to: Site menu | Main content

What is Otafest?

In 1999, Otafest was born 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 decade, Otafest has grown to become its own non-profit organization (Otafest Film and Cultural Festival Planning Committee), and while we still showcase anime, that is only a part of the festival now.

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, demonstrate the intricacies of tea ceremonies, and Iaido (the art of drawing a sword from a scabbard). We have 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.

We bring the latest shows and videos, as well as the fondest classics, and provide an opportunity for fans to see anime on the big screen, as well as a chance for the curious to see what it’s all about. We are a chance for fans to get together and celebrate their hobby, and to share their passions with you.

We hope to see you this year!

Justin Lo
Chairman, Otafest 2010

Otafest Statistics




Otafest 1999 July 3 - 4 Approx 700
Otafest 2000 June 17 - 18 Approx 900
Otafest 2001 September 15 - 16 Approx 700
Otafest 2002 May 24 - 26 (not tracked)
Otafest 2003 May 24 - 25 (not tracked)
Otafest 2004 May 15 - 16 (not tracked)
Otafest 2005 May 21 - 22 (not tracked)
Otafest 2006 May 21 - 22 (not tracked)
Otafest 2007 May 19 - 20 2709
Otafest 2008 May 19 - 18 4278
Otafest 2009 May 15 - 17 4361
Otafest Lite (2009) November 14 Approx 900
Otafest 2010 May 21 - 23 (not yet available)

Otafest Mandate

At Otafest our goal is to provide the participant with a rich and diverse experience of many culturally relevant artistic elements found within modern and traditional Japanese culture.

As a patron you will find yourself lost in the diverse nature of our festival’s programming; be it the varied artists of all sorts attending the event to display their work, the high amount of Japanese media showings of a greatly mixed variety, or the highly interactive performance events encouraging you to be inclusive within them you will find that our festival has something for you.

Otafest is not a mere festival aimed at giving an audience a set experience, rather it is a festival aimed at encouraging our patrons to become a part of the experience. We encourage this involvement through our commitment to promoting amateur artists by providing them with opportunities to develop and showcase their artistic and cultural expressions within the Otafest community, as well as through our creation and implementation of interactive playgrounds in the form of special events that allow the patron to become an active part of the festivities. We welcome a diverse crowd of all ages to share in our festival, and invite you as a patron to take part in the inclusivity and participatory nature of our yearly event.