Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pre-Anime Festival with Peter Tatara

Hey guys! I got another Pre-Anime Festival interview for you to check out! Presenting Peter Tatara, the Programming Manager of the New York Anime Festival for 2007 and 2008!!! Is he excited? YES HE IS! With excitement and fun comes responsibilities. So let me tell you some things about Peter's job for the festival. "I supervise all the shows guests, screenings, panels, and special events. Lance, the Show Manager, is above me and looks over my work as well as everything in the Exhibition Hall." Everyone at the New York Anime Festival worked hard on putting the festival together! So read and learn about their duties and what they got in store for you, the fans!!! Enjoy!!!


For your duties at NYAF, what do you expect yourself to be doing for those three exciting days of NYAF?
Little to no sleep and puffy red feet. I honestly don't know what I'll be doing during NYAF yet. I spend a year creating a schedule, and the three days during NYAF fixing anything that breaks.

Do you have any negative or positive thoughts about the event?
Very positive. NYAF invited Hideyuki Kikuchi and Yoshitaka Amano this year, two of my heroes since childhood, and I'm very excited to welcome them to NYC.

Because last year had an unfortunate scam, what did you guys do to boost up security or protecting the attendees and visitors of the convention?
Last year, a travel company set up shop in the New York Anime Festival, offering attendees a free tropical cruise. Only thing is, once NYAF ended, we learned there was no free cruise -- and they went after everyone who entered their contest with very suspicious time share offers. We worked with the NYPD immediately after NYAF to follow up on the company, and worked to undone any damage done to our attendees.

Is there anything at this convention that you are preventing from happening other than a possible scam?
We don't know what an exhibitor will do on the show floor. We look into every exhibitor before they come to the show, and if they appear legitimate, we bring them in, but we never know what will go on from the show floor. If something seems fishy -- from bootlegs to a scam -- we'll shut it down.

What can fans expect from this year’s convention? Are there any big surprises for the fans out there?
>NYAF's bigger and better in 2008. Last year was our first year out, and we've built up everything that worked in year one to an amazing degree. We've got longer hours, more guests, more events, and activities throughout New York City.

What is the difference and similarities between this year’s convention and last year’s convention?
The biggest complaint we had last year is that most of the show wrapped at 7 PM. This year, we're keeping most events running until 10 PM. It's still impossible for us to keep NYAF upon 24 hours a day, but we're going to be cranking things until much later in the evening.

How did you decide who to invited and why were the guest list chosen as such? Are there any returning guests from 2007 NYAF? Who are the new guests to be part of the NYAF?
As Programming Manager, NYAF's guests are ultimately my responsibility. I get a lot of suggestions from attendees and fans in NYC, and as a man myself, I also know who I'd swoon over. Our guest list is a combination of all this. This year, we're happy to have guests including Mike Sinterniklaas, Tom Wayland, Jamie McGonnigal, and Veronica Taylor return. As we're a NYC show, anyone in NYC who has had a part in the creation of anime is welcome to NYAF every year.

Any guests you wanted to invite but was not able too? How did you feel when such a result occurred?
Of course. There's only a limited budget, and there are many, many more names who I wanted to bring who I couldn't in '08. For any guests I reach out to but can't bring this year, I immediately plan to get them involved come '09.

I noticed that you invited an “Iron Chef” name Masaharu Morimoto as a Guest of Honor. Some fans might question and ask “Why a chef?” Can you tell everyone out there why did Reed Exhibitions decided to invited a chef to an Anime Convention? Whose idea was it?
The New York Anime Festival is a celebration of Japanese popular culture. Looking at our guests, we have authors, illustrators, voice actors, fashion designers, and an Iron Chef. Why? Chef Morimoto has done more to introduce Americans to Japanese cuisine than perhaps any other chef in the past 20 years, and we want to celebrate that. Inviting Morimoto was my idea, and I'm very, very excited to welcome him to the show.

Now about the Lucky Star Dance contest. Why and how did NYAF and Bandai decide on doing such an event? Why Lucky Stars and their dance? Why in public?
The Lucky Star Dance Contest was my doing. We wanted to have a fun event prior to NYAF that involved YouTube, and as we're very good friends with Bandai, we gave them a call. We're so happy with the results and all the amazing videos that have come in. And why do it in public? We wanted something what would celebrate both anime and NYC -- and there's something beautiful about watching a dance which took Japan by storm in front of some of NYC's most iconic landmarks.

For the Lucky Star Dance contest how was the point system decided? How well or not well do you think the fans or participants will be performing this dance?
Points are decided based on location, costume, editing, and effort. More than anything, it's about effort. It's about how much heart you put into your video -- and I've been amazed by the results. I thought we'd get some very good results, but everything we've gotten back has been GREAT.

Some people might consider Lolita as cosplay and others might consider it as fashion. Why was a Lolita brand or the concept of Lolita chosen to be part of the NYAF?
Lolita is fashion. Newcomers to the Lolita scene may feel it to be cosplay, but from personal experience, Lolita is an entire lifestyle. Why is Lolita a part of NYAF? Because NYAF is a celebration of Japanese popular culture. NYAF isn't just anime and manga. It's something that makes us unique, and we've very happy to welcome guests that span the pop culture world in Japan.

With so many Lolita brands out there why and how did the final decision come down to Baby, The Stars Shine Bright?
Lolitas. Prior to inviting Baby, we spoke to a number of Lolitas around NYC and the USA. We heard, loud and clear, that they wanted to see Baby, The Stars Shine Bright.

For the special events that NYAF is having, some fans might be willing to spend the money to come attend the events, but others might decline due to the expensive price. Why are the prices so high? Even though the prices are as such why should anyone attend these events?
A ticket to NYAF includes 99% of the events going on at the show -- including all our panels, screenings, autograph sessions, and most of our concerts. A ticket to NYAF is also no greater than the ticket to an average anime con. We've got some special events, though, that need an additional ticket. We have a concert at the Knitting Factory that's $18 and an mc chris concert that is $10. To pay for these events, we need to charge for them, and I don't think $10 or $18 is that bad at all. We also have dinner parties with Hideyuki Kikuchi and Baby, The Stars Shine Bright for $125. These are definitely pricey, but these events are intimate dinners with these guests and the price of the actual dinner is included in the price tag.

Anything you want to add to this interview? Anything you want to tell the fans?
Thank you for all your support, and I hope you enjoy this year's New York Anime Festival. The day it's over, we'll begin planning for 2009, and if there's anything you want to see that wasn't part of the show this year, let us know!


Thanks again Peter! Good Luck with the festival!!
If you want to learn more about the New York Anime Festival please visit
Image from the New York Anime Festival website
© 2008 Linda Thai

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