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Cardiff Animation Festival 2018 – preview

Chapter Arts Centre are doing something special for the Cardiff community once again by hosting this year’s Cardiff Animation Festival, right after the end of their successful art festival Experimentica. The festival, which looks to cover all types of animation from student pieces to Isle of Dogs, will take place between April 19 – 22nd at Chapter. A full schedule has already been released, detailing a bunch of fun stuff, including a live Q&A workshop with Isle of Dogs animators, over 90 short films, workshops, and industry sessions for those trying to break into the competitive world of animation.

The multi-day festival appears to have lots to offer everyone, regardless of animation ability. The first day, known as the “Industry Day”, is more catered towards those who have a professional interest in animation and the surrounding industry. Passes for the Industry Day are available, with sessions including Afternoon Tea with the Children’s Commissioners, giving delegates the rare opportunity to learn how to pitch to TV networks and how to market independent short-form content, as well as a chance to sign up for a one-to-one sessions. The Industry Day will kick off with a keynote from Bob Ayres, the head of TrueTube, which received a record-breaking seven awards nominations at the most recent BAFTA Children’s Awards. Panels also include a talk on Licensing and Distribution, featuring speakers such as Alison Taylor (Aardman Rights) and Helen Howells (HoHo Entertainment). The rest of the festival will take a slightly less serious tone for hobbyists and watchers, but the first day is incredibly useful for those with even a cursory knowledge of the animation sector.

Friday will celebrate new Welsh stop-motion animated feature Chuck Steel: Night Of The Trampires. Director Mike Mort, Art Director Bridget Phelan, Executive Producer Randhir Singh, and animator Laura Tofarides will give an exciting look behind the scenes, as well as a chance to see a few deleted scenes. The film is almost the centrepiece of the entire festival, as it will also be the basis of a four-day exhibition based on the film’s sets, props, puppets, etc.

Masterclasses will also be available, including one from Cartoon Saloon’s Mark Mullery who will treat audiences to behind the scenes of Oscar-nominated feature film The Breadwinner, a stunning animated drama about a little girl living under Taliban rule. The film will also be screened ahead of its UK release, which is a nice touch.

Another highlight appears to be the workshop by internationally-renowned artist Jac Saorsa, who will lead a Life Drawing for Animators workshop. The workshop is tailored to hone drawing skills crucial to animation. Suitable for animators, students, hobbyists and anyone looking to develop their drawing skills for animation.

The major highlight for We Are Cardiff who are, self-admittedly, a little too dog-obsessed, is the Isle of Dogs feature. For those who haven’t seen it yet (WHY HAVEN’T YOU SEEN IT?), the film is directed and written by Wes Anderson, and features some gloriously detailed stop-motion of talking dogs. A workshop based around the film, involving Lead Animator Kim Kong, Model Maker Josh Flynn, and Kerry Dyer, head of the Isle of Dogs Puppet Hospital, will be put on show, detailing some props, methods, and insights into the making of the film.

The festival will also be screening 99 short films, which will be assessed by The Jury, who are tasked with selecting the winners of the animation programme from films on display. The Jury, who are named rather ominously, will be made up of independent director Rhiannon Evans (Heartstrings, Fulfilament), Manchester Animation Festival producer Jen Hall, author and Skwigly Animation Magazine Managing Director Ben Mitchell, Aardman animation director Will Becher, and independent producer, Director of Animation UK, and newly-appointed director of the British Animation Awards, Helen Brunsdon.

Sadly, all passes excluding the Industry Day pass have now sold out, but there are tickets for sale on the Cardiff Animation Festival website for individual events. Further details, including the timetable for the entire festival, can be found there, too.