I have been following Manchester Animation Festival since its launch in 2015, and this year I was lucky enough to attend the three day festival held in Manchester’s impressive HOME venue.
Run by the super team, Festival Director Steve Henderson (also editor and co-owner of skwigly.com) and Festival Producer and Programmer Jen Hall, I had no doubt that MAF would be an incredibly well put together showcase of the animated art form.
MAF did not disappoint. The programme was jam-packed with fantastic events, panel talks, masterclasses and networking events. From the festival, I have put together a run down of my event highlights.
First up is ‘SmallFilm Stories,’ featuring panel talks from Daniel Postgate and Dr Chris Pallant, discussing the work of Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin, Ivor the Engine, The Clangers, Bagpuss. A wonderful look into how the SmallFilms studio team created many of the much loved animated television shows during the 60s, 70s and 80s.
Another not-to-be-missed talk was the accomplished Director Barry Purves. It is always a huge pleasure to witness Barry speaking about his incredible career, honestly sharing the highs and lows of the animation world with great humour.
Wildcard screening goes to The Line Masterclass, a sold out event that I managed to grab a last minute ticket for. Presented by Directors Max Taylor and Tim McCourt, this was a no holds barred insight into the companies journey, from passion project humble beginnings to working on dream client music videos for Gorrilaz.
The Animated Women UK team shared their first hand experiences working in the male dominated animation industry, sharing tips and hits on how to navigate through potential challenges. Discussing questions around equality and inclusion, the talk was a positive account of where changes can be made in order to boot out bad practice.
The last day of the festival was dedicated to the ‘Educating Animators – Academic Conference.’ This full day conference explored how Educators and Industry are approaching challenges and opportunities of developing the next generation of animators. The event included presentations and keynotes from Academics and Industry, giving insightful talks into teaching practice, research and employability.
I had a brilliant time catching up with past acquaintances and making new contacts. MAF is certainly one of the most friendliest festivals I have attended and I would certainly recommend a visit to current students, professionals and animation enthusiasts!