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 decade, Otafest has grown to become a three day festival with approximately 4000 attendees annually. The festival is run by a non-profit organization (Otafest Film and Cultural Festival Planning Committee), and while we still showcase anime, it is 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.

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 provide a chance for fans to get together and celebrate their hobby, and to share their passions with each other.

We hope to see you this year!

Justin Lo

Otafest Mandate

Otafest is a Calgary based nonprofit organization expressing the values of charity, quality, and transparency. The body of our activity pertains to the promotion of Japanese art, culture, and media in the Canadian community, and our organization rests firmly on the spirit of community collaboration and volunteerism.


Otafest 1999 Jul 3 - 4, 1999 Approx 700
Otafest 2000 Jun 17 - 18, 2000 Approx 900
Otafest 2001 Sep 15 - 16, 2001 Approx 700
Otafest 2002 May 24 - 26, 2002 (not tracked)
Otafest 2003 May 24 - 25, 2003 (not tracked)
Otafest 2004 May 15 - 16, 2004 (not tracked)
Otafest 2005 May 21 - 22, 2005 (not tracked)
Otafest 2006 May 21 - 22, 2006 (not tracked)
Otafest 2007 May 19 - 20, 2007 2,709
Otafest 2008 May 16 - 18, 2008 4,278
Otafest 2009 May 15 - 17, 2009 4,361
Otafest Lite 2009 Nov 14, 2009 Approx. 900
Otafest 2010 May 21 - 23, 2010 3,697
Otafest Lite 2010 Nov 13, 2010 Approx. 800
Otafest 2011 May 20 - 22, 2011 4,135
Otafest Lite 2011 Nov 12, 2011 Approx. 700
Otafest 2012 May 18 - 20, 2012 4,938
Otafest Aurora 2012 Dec 15, 2012 843
Otafest 2013 May 17 - 19, 2013 4,947

Charitable Efforts

Attendees of Otafest 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-chairman-in-a-dress' fundraising drive of 2011. We are very proud of our community for coming together and donating to great causes!

Otafest 2009 $  1,735 Alberta Children's Hospital
Otafest Lite 2009 $  5,000 Mustard Seed
Otafest 2010 $  5,300 Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation
Otafest Lite 2010 $  2,000 Children's Cottage Society
Otafest 2011 $10,398 Japan Red Cross
Otafest Lite 2011 $  1,000 Autism Aspergers Friendship Society of Calgary
Otafest 2012 $11,000 Calgary Humane Society
Otafest 2013 $12,474 Canadian Mental Health Association - Calgary Branch