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Manchester Animation Festival Announces Full 2018 Program

U.K.’S largest animation festival returns for fourth year at Manchester’s HOME.

‘Virus Tropical’ directed by Santiago Caicedo.

The Manchester Animation Festival, a three-day festival celebrating animation in all its forms, returns to Manchester’s HOME November 13-15. The event, now in its fourth year, is the largest animation festival in the U.K., and its packed program includes animated short competitions, feature films, retrospective screenings, workshops, networking events, panel discussions, masterclasses and screen talks from some of the brightest and best talent in the industry.


‘Funan’ directed by Denis Do.

Film previews at this year’s festival include: Night of the Trampires, the high-octane 80s set comedy horror, followed by a Q&A with director Mike Mort, and This Magnificent Cake!, an anthology telling the story of five characters in colonial Africa in 1886: a worried king, an ageing pygmy, a failed businessman, and a young deserter -- followed by a Q&A with co-director Marc James Roels.

Winner of the Feature Film Cristal at Annecy Animation Festival, Funan tells the incredibly powerful story of a young woman trying to survive in the regime of the Khmer Rouge in the 70s. Santiago Caicedo’s Virus Tropical, adapted from a graphic novel memoir by cartoonist Powerpaola, is a coming-of-age story told from a girl's perspective as she grows up between Ecuador and Colombia. Finally Tito and the Birds, explores the culture fear via a young boy’s journey to save the world.

Other screenings include “Smallfims on the Big Screen,” a selection of the company’s classic television, a Barry Purves Retrospective, Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, and an Anijam screening of a series of films made as part of the 48hr Challenge.

Masterclasses & Making-of Presentations

‘Next’ by Barry Purves.

40 Years of Barry Purves” brings the filmmaker and animator to the MAF stage to celebrate his work in feature films, television and short films and his incredible contribution taking British animation to a global audience.

MAF meets the team at Locksmith Animation, the U.K.’s only high-end CG feature animation studio dedicated to the global family audience, ahead of the company’s first feature film release, Ron’s Gone Wrong, slated for 2020.

Festival sponsor Blue Zoo shows how real time rendering is revolutionizing its CG animation, demonstrated via exclusive sneak peeks of the studio’s new projects currently in the pipeline.

JAM Media and Nickelodeon’s new show Becca’s Bunch, made at Altrincham animation studio Factory, gives an insight into how the world of Wagtail Woods was made, taking it from a quirky film to a hit TV series for the pre-school audience.

JAM Media and Nickelodeon’s ‘Becca’s Bunch.’

A Framestore masterclass invites Prajakta Nandlaskar to talk about her role as senior animator working on blockbuster titles such as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and The Martian. Plus, arts collective The Line show how they have developed some of the most innovative short films and commercials of recent years.

Further making of sessions include the making of The Highway Rat, based on the books by Julia Donaldson and Axel Sheffler with director Jeroen Jaspaert, and the making of Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, with head painter Roy Bell and animator Tim Allen.

Industry Q&A

New for 2018, MAF has partnered with Brown Bag Films to introduce a new series of Q&A sessions, Animated Answers, where experts will take questions from established or aspiring animators looking to move ahead and find the best place for them in the industry. There will be four sessions looking at what makes the perfect animator, production pipelines, what size of studio suits you, and “Switching Specialisms.”


This year’s panels include “Animated Women UK,” with a Tips and Hits session celebrating women who have succeeded in the business, creating a platform for them to share their stories, and discuss equality and inclusion.

‘The Highway Rat’ directed by Jeroen Jaspaert.

Smallfilms Stories” celebrates the wonderful work of Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate, whose shows helped define all the British children’s animated television that followed. A panel of experts, including educator and author Dr. Chris Pallant and BAFTA-winning producer and writer Daniel Postgate (son of Oliver Postgate), will discuss Ivor the Engine, Clangers, Bagpuss and everything in between.

In the Frame: Educating Animators” will discuss the balance between students learning the key skills the industry is looking for and taking that all important personal journey of discovery, while “Getting Your Film Seen” guides filmmakers of all levels through the best way to find an audience.

Finally, “Making it in Manchester” once again celebrates the studios and practitioners that make the city one of the nation’s animation hotspots.

MAF Film Awards and Industry Excellence Awards

‘Drôle de poisson’ (‘Funny Fish’) directed by Krishna Chandran A. Nair.

This year’s Film Awards celebrate some of the best animated short films from around the world, with 69 films screening in competition from 19 different countries. Short Films, commissioned films, which is a showcase of creative responses to a client brief, immersive films, covering VR and 360 film and student films, which demonstrates the talent and skills that can be nurtured in academia.

The Industry Excellence Awards return too celebrating individuals in the industry who excel in Character Design, Scriptwriting, Storyboarding and Character Animation. There is a series of IEA workshops to accompany this strand.

The awards will be presented on Thursday, November 15 by animation legend Barry Purves.

Family Day

On Sunday, ahead of the festival, children and families are invited for a day of animated fun including Short Films for Children, a collection of the best in animated shorts from around the world, while Scratch ‘n Sniff Cinema presents Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

‘Tito and the Birds’ directed by Gustavo Steinberg, Gabriel Bitar and André Catoto Dias.

Events & Exhibitions

Meet The Trampires” is a chance to see the puppet stars of Chuck Steel’s Night of the Trampires and ask questions from the film’s experts.

“Coming soon to your screen” (November 9, 2018 through January 6, 2019) is a new site-responsive work from Darren Nixon. Over the course of eight weeks the exhibition space will be transformed into a slow-moving wall drawing in two parts. The movement of the wall drawing over the exhibition’s duration will become the basis of a short animated film that will be screened before the main cinema features at HOME as part of Push Festival in January 2019.

Returning for 2018, Skwigly’s hugely popular quiz challenges festival goers on their animation knowledge.

Manchester Animation Festival takes place at HOME on from 13-15 November 2018. Tickets and passes are on sale now, for more details visit

Commissioned Film Competition

Short Film Competition

Student Film Competition

Source: Manchester Animation Festival