Award-winning cartoonist calls for simpler gov’t subsidy applications

Local comic writer and cartoonist Angela Lao’s recent animation “Desireland, Multiverse” has won the LA Shorts Awards Best Short Film – Diamond Award.
The 13-minute animated story was created in February and was inspired by the situation the city faced during the pandemic outbreak.
The recently awarded animation is the first story in her planned series under the name “Andrew’s Parallel Worlds.” Lao is also working on a second short film which will shed light on travel restrictions in Macau, while the third will tackle the pandemic outbreak. According to Lao, she plans to create a total of 12 animations under the “Andrew’s Parallel Worlds” series.
In “Desireland, Multiverse,” she expresses the hope that people will give up harboring too many desires, and instead have a “heart of thanksgiving to people who treat them nicely, and to show […] care to these people in return.”
“Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, I spent most of my time animating, and it was also inspired by this problem,” said Lao.
As the cartoonist community in the city is rather small, and Lao said that she is seeking job opportunities abroad as there is a lack of prospects for the cartoonist community in the Macau, unless one is successful in gaining a sponsorship budget for making animated films from the government.
She said that those working as cartoonists in the city could never work as full-time cartoonists due to limitations on income.
“Whenever I won awards in my animation career, some people would ask me to teach their kids drawing or would ask me to draw their cartoon faces. However, this provides very limited income,” Lao explained.
The comic writer also expressed her hope that the government could launch subsidy application forms in English for those local residents who have difficulties in typing and writing in Chinese characters.
She expressed her hope that the city will use English for such applications in future. She said that this is possible in, for example, Sri Lanka, which allows residents to submit government applications in English. In Sri Lanka, English is not an official language but holds the status of “recognized language.”
“The administration works […] to get support from the government are complicated [in Macau], which also made it very hard for me to get sponsorships from them,” said Lao.
“Artists are artists, they’re not clerks or administrative assistants, but the government expects every artist to work all these admin jobs for sponsorship applications. I am cooperating with someone to handle this part. He sent nearly twenty [subsidy] applications but just one [was] accepted,” she added.
In the meantime, Lao hopes that the government will create opportunities for them to work as full-time cartoonists and not work in schools as art teachers, which according to her is what usually happens.
Since 2019, she has published 100 short animation films, many of which are in English, while others are dubbed.
She has also received several awards, including from the Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival, the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, the Gold Movie Awards and the Macao Annual Visual Arts Exhibition.
Most of her animations are drawn and edited by her, as well as featuring her own music and melodies.
Lao writes stories about the city’s social issues, including her winning animation series, “CaCa: Tell You Jokes!” which features issues such as traffic congestion and the lack of parking spaces in Macau.
The short film won an “Award of Recognition” in the Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival (HIMPFF) in its May 2016 competition series.

Categories Macau