Skip to: Site menu | Main content

Connect with us on: The Forums | Twitter | Facebook | Deviant Art | Flickr

Are You Ready?


Otafest is a Japanese Animation (anime) themed festival held annually at the University of Calgary. Like many anime conventions and festivals, it began as a small 1 day event run by the University of Calgary’s anime. The first Otafest was held in 1999 and attracted a few hundred attendees.

Over the next decade, the festival has grown and expanded to become its own separate non-profit entity (Otafest Film & Cultural Festival Planning Committee). For the last few years, the festival has been held over May long weekend. Otafest 2009 had just over 4000 paid attendees, with over 4300 people overall!

Over the last few years, the anime community around Otafest have joked about how much fun the annual festival was, and how nice it would be to have a 2nd winter based festival so that they didn’t have to wait another year.

While the planning committee has laughed off such an event as unfeasible (re: suicidal) for years, after an evening of bravado, bluster and boasting, followed by a period of careful analysis and banging on calculators, the committee realized that the funny feeling in their stomachs was the dawning horror of realization that a 2nd, smaller, winter based festival was actually quite feasible and that we hadn’t just crossed the line of no return; it had vanished into a speck of light in the distance.

And so, Otafest-lite was born.

What is Otafest Lite?

Otafest-lite is a 1 day anime festival held at the University of Calgary on Saturday, November 13th, 2010. It will be similar to the Otafest you know and love, except that it will be on a much reduced scope. While Otafest spanned multiple buildings at the University and offered 5 rooms of AV programming, a large vendors hall, an artist alley, and over 80+ individual panels, contests and other special events, Otafest-lite will be held solely in the Science Theatres at the University and feature 3 rooms of AV programming, a small area for vendors and artists and roughly 20 live events.

The goal is to re-create the small-convention atmosphere which characterized Otafest’s past, while giving back to the community. Target attendance is roughly 500-1000 people – Otafest-lite 2009 had just over 900 attendees! We also donated $5,000 to the Mustard Seed!