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Mackinnon and Saunders Launches Manchester Animation Festival Award

Manchester-based studio creates award for its inaugural event; unveils new website and ticketing information.

MANCHESTER, U.K. -- The Manchester Animation Festival has unveiled the award that will be won for its upcoming competition strands. The award has been sculpted by Mackinnon and Saunders, the Manchester based Animation Company that has previously worked on films such as Tim Burton's Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie and Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr Fox. The company has a long history with short film, commercial and television animation. They are also known for supplying the puppets for Bob the Builder, Postman Pat and most recently the reboot of The Clangers. 

Festival co-director Steve Henderson said, “We are absolutely over the moon to see what Mackinnon and Saunders have made. We knew they would create something wonderful for us but we were not expecting something quite so amazing! We are certain that this award will be much sought after and become an iconic emblem of the festival itself"

The bee was designed and crafted by character designer and sculptor Joe Holman, who based the design on the festivals bee logo. The festival selected a bee design for its logo as bees are the symbol of Manchester dating back to the industrial revolution when the cotton mills of the city and the enormous workforce powering them were likened to the "worker bees" toiling away within the city. The animation industry in the north west has recently experienced a boom in productivity and is steadily emerging as the center of animation in the UK, so the workforce of the industrial revolution are now replaced by the innovators of the creative revolution that the city is excelling in.

Based on the festival’s bee logo, new award was designed and crafted by character designer and sculptor Joe Holman. "After talking with Ian Mackinnon the thought was to combine the industrial theme of Manchester into the bee image of the MAF logo," Holman commented. "We tried to keep a handmade quality to the construction, this isn't a slick engineered piece, it has been hand crafted. It's almost like a stop motion armature too, it’s not too big a leap of the imagination seeing it flying around, being animated."

The sculpture was created using a mixture of traditional sculpting techniques with the addition of found object elements. The bee is held aloft by a thick piano wire and Holman even sacrificed an old clock to make use of the gears, cogs and other mechanisms in the design of the base. The base itself is hexagonal, the shape of both a bolt nut and a honeycomb, combining the industrial elements and the bee design. 

"This is an artisan piece to me and it has been fascinating watching it develop. As soon as we saw the logo we thought "We could make them a great bee!" we knew that the festival really deserved something special and we knew we could deliver that," said Mackinnon and Saunders producer Sarah Mullock.

The bee sculpt will be given to winners of the Short Film and Graduate Film categories which will be selected by a jury. The Audience Award, which will be selected by votes collected at the festival and the Fellowship Award which will be awarded to a person as commendation of their special contribution to animation.

As well as unveiling the award the festival has also launched its new website which will be populated with details on the festival program. New events will be added on a daily basis starting Monday before passes and tickets for the festival go on sale on Friday the 2nd October 2015 after the full program is revealed.

The Manchester Animation Festival takes place November 17-19.

Source: Manchester Animation Festival

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.