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Melbourne Anime Festival Shuts Down

posted on by Jon Hayward
Manifest, the first dedicated anime convention in Australia has shut it's doors due to financial difficulty and lack of volunteers;

Artwork from Manifest
deviantart gallery
The Manifest Organizing Committee made the decision on the future of the Melbourne Anime Festival Incorporated at a Special General Meeting held on Saturday the 30th of November 2013. The decision was then officially announced through Manifest's website and facebook page in a post titled "Time to Say Goodbye" written by the current president of MAFI, Cari-An Moffatt.

The post goes on to state that the growth of conventions in Australia has led to Manifest's demise as fans are not spending money at fan-run conventions like they have done in the past. Reading through the comments on facebook President Cari-Ann Moffat confirmed the reasons in the facebook group "Save Manifest" with the following comment;

"MAFI is broke and understaffed. In order to run Manifest 2014, we would have needed around $15000 within 3 weeks and around another $70000 by February to make the initial *deposits* for venue and other equipment. The final amount needed is about 3 times that amount. We'd also need 20-50 competent, experienced committee members plus about 200 on-the-day volunteers. We just don't have the resources anymore."

Committee member Amy Tomoe confirmed that crowd funding was not a solution and that shutting down MAFi was to ensure that organisation ended correctly rather than being forced to shut by the government, Amy also added that;

"The depth of the situation became clear during the last month and measures were taken to deal with it, but those measures were only able to cover MAFi's costs for a few weeks. The decision was made to close up on MAFi's own terms now rather then go into debt and have the government shut MAFi down on their terms."

Fans of Manifest were encouraged to share their memories of Manifest using the #manimemories hashtag on Twitter and facebook.

History of Manifest

Artwork from Manifest deviantart gallery
Manifest was started in 1998 when anime clubs from The University of Melbourne (Wonderful Weekly Watchers of Anime), Swinburne University (Swinburne Anime Club) and Melbourne Anime Society held a screening and BBQ to fund-raise for the newly formed Monash Anime and Comics Club. The event's success led to Anime Marathon '99 and then in 2000 the Melbourne Anime Festival was formed and the first event was run over two days in August. This is how Australia's first dedicated anime convention in Australia was formed.

In February 2004 due to the ongoing complexity of organising the event and more committee members not being involved with the anime clubs, Melbourne Anime Festival Inc (MAFi) was registered. The event continued to run for several years at the University of Melbourne, adding a small one day event known as Minifest in 2005 as a thank-you for volunteers (that later became @con) and a cosplay ball in 2008 known as Amaranth. Then in 2009 having outgrown the university, Manifest moved to the Melbourne Showgrounds where it has remained to this year adding several guests and the 24 hour session known as Mani-Midnight.

A Final Word

Considering that Manifest was where ANNAU was first brought together, we've sat down and brought together every Manifest report we have ever written on ANNAU for your #manimemories. What's now known as the Melbourne Mecha Workshop is personally responsible for this editor's addiction to Zoids and Gunpla and many of the ANNAU writers have been a part of or met at Manifest over the years. And of course we have to mention that Manifest has helped to influence the very landscape of anime in Australia through the hordes of attendees, events and conventions created from Manifest (including Wai-Con and AiCon) and the fans it has fostered.

Peppa goodbye sketch
by Knoxious Designs
on Tumblr.

If you would like further updates on Manifest (if they write them) they will be found on Manifest's Facebook Page and website.


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