The London Effects and Animation Festival (Leaf), which was due to take place in October, has been cancelled after manufacturers, already suffering a serious decline in profit margins, decided to further reduce their marketing spend, writes Sam Espensen.
The Digital Arts World (DAW) 3D and special effects exhibition, which was to take place alongside Leaf, has also been suspended. The three-day Advanstar event, which included the exhibition, awards, conference and festival was to be held at Earl's Court.
Events director Karen Parks said: "The market for animation and 3D solutions has undergone dramatic changes over the past 10 years. Manufacturers and suppliers have seen margins reduced dramatically and marketing budgets have declined in similar measures. Under these circumstances the need for a dedicated trade show disappears."
Some industry members are blaming bad organisation at Leaf 2002 for this year's problems. Bruce Steele, director of visual effects at Glassworks and a Leaf committee member, commented: "You only need to blow it once. There were some criticisms of last year's show, so it's not surprising that people don't want to spend any money. Unfortunately it was on track to be a really good event this year."
Last year the organisers of Leaf entered into a partnership with DAW's former owner, Future Publishing, to hold the two events together. Parks said that the two had to be "pulled together in just 11 weeks, and there were organisational difficulties".
Attendance was up last year from the previous year, with 600 attending the festival and conference, and over 4,000 visitors.
Aardman head of production Heather Wright, though unhappy the event is not going ahead, said: "The industry does not have the time nor the money to go to these events. The CGI world is buoyant at the moment but people don't have time to make competition shorts anymore. We have never taken stands at shows - we get jobs from the quality of our work and word of mouth."
Parks said that Advanstar was "putting the programme on ice" while it reviewed its options.