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Manchester Animation Festival Announces Program Highlights

Technical director Mark Mullery to present behind-the-scenes masterclass on making ‘The Breadwinner’ during a packed three-day event.

Cartoon Saloon’s technical director Mark Mullery will present a masterclass on making ‘The Breadwinner’ next week at the Manchester Animation Festival. The Manchester Animation Festival, Nov. 14-16, revealed highlights from its upcoming program. The event will include screenings, talks, masterclasses, workshops and panels.

“We’re looking forward to bringing Manchester a reflection and celebration of what has proved to be a very strong year for the animated art form, for a third year,” says festival director Steve Henderson. “Tickets are selling incredibly fast, across all the events – screenings, masterclasses, panels, the lot! We’re so excited for what we’re sure will be an amazing event.”

Screenings and masterclasses will include Loving Vincent, in which the directors will talk about creating the first hand-painted film from 65,000 individual paintings. The event will also feature a discussion of the effect of Brexit on the animation industry, and a retrospective of the work of Ivor Wood, the animator and creator of a whole host of children’s favorites including The Magic Roundabout and Paddington.

In addition, there will be exclusive U.K. screenings of Don Hertzfeldt’s new film World of Tomorrow Episode Two, and previews of Tehran Taboo, The Breadwinner, My Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea and The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales.

The festival events take place at HOME -- Manchester’s center for international contemporary art, theatre, film and books, which opened in 2015.

Festival highlights include:

Masterclass: The Breadwinner

Tuesday, Nov. 14, 7:00 p.m., Cinema 1

Oscar-nominated studio Cartoon Saloon’s technical director Mark Mullery will give a behind-the-scenes look at the making of their new adaptation of The Breadwinner based on the book by Deborah Ellis.

The film is receiving critical acclaim ahead of its release, and will preview exclusively at the festival.

Mullery has worked in various roles in both broadcast and feature animation, including as an editor, as a supervisor of both compositing and animation, and as an episode director for broadcast. He has worked for Cartoon Saloon since 2013 when he began as an animator on Academy-Award nominated Song of the Sea.

He has also served as technical director and composite supervisor on Puffin Rock, and is currently assistant director on Tomm Moore’s upcoming feature Wolfwalkers.

In the Frame: Brexit and the Future of British Animation

Wednesday, Nov. 15, 12:00 p.m., Cinema 1

Helen Brunsdon and Agnieszka Moody will discuss the future of the animation sector in light of Brexit.

Brunsdon is director of Animation UK with extensive experience in the animation industry as a BAFTA-winning producer of short films, television series, festivals and events. She has worked with Aardman, Joanna Quinn, Arthur Cox, Brothers McLeod and as an executive producer has worked with CBBC, Disney UK and CITV.

Moody is the director of Creative Europe Desk UK, a promotion and information office of the European Union’s funding program Creative Europe, led in the UK by the British Film Institute and British Council.

VR and AR Masterclass: Nexus

Wednesday, Nov. 15, 3:20 p.m., Cinema 1

Innovative animation studio Nexus will reveal their inner working and uncover how they create engaging stories.

Claire Cook, senior producer and curator for film and interactive projects, including VR and AR will speak about interactive storytelling, with insight into how the company made the VR experience Rain or Shine with Google Spotlight Stories, as well as Wilderness Wiggle which allowed pediatric patients at the Alaska Native Medical Centre to become part of a storybook, and AR app Gruffalo Spotter, which brought a real forest trail to life using the beloved children’s cartoon.

Fellowship Award: Josh Weinstein

Thursday, Nov. 16, 12:00 p.m., Cinema 1

Josh Weinstein will receive the 2017 Fellowship Award.

He has spent his career putting words into the mouths of some of televisions most beloved characters having worked on The Simpsons, Futurama, Gravity Falls, the new Danger Mouse as well as showrunning the locally made Strange Hill High. He is currently showrunning Matt Groening’s new adult animated fantasy show for Netflix, Disenchantment.

Weinstein was a writer and co-executive producer on Futurama 2010-2013. He was showrunner for the CBBC’s innovative puppet show Strange Hill High and a writer for Disney’s Gravity Falls. Along with his team, Weinstein has won four Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award for The Simpsons and Futurama in addition to Kidscreen and Royal Television Society North West awards for Strange Hill High.

In Conversation: Off the Leash: Comic to Series

Thursday, Nov. 16, 1:45 p.m., Cinema 2

Based on the popular pup-centric comic strip Off the Leash, Cheshire-based animation studio Factory has taken artist Rupert Fawcett’s creation and created an animated adaptation on YouTube.

In 2012, Fawcett created Off the Leash, a cartoon series that follows dogs of every shape, size and breed, and their thoughts and conversations in various hilarious situations. First published on Facebook, fan numbers recently reached 865,000, and the drawings have gone on to spawn a bestselling series of books and merchandise.

Factory MD Phil Chalk (Clangers, Newzoids, Scream Street) and artist Rupert Fawcett will discuss how they went from strip to screen.

Panel: The World of Ivor Wood

Thursday, Nov. 16, 10:15 a.m., Cinema 1

The festival will explore the work of Ivor Wood who created such beloved works as Postman Pat, Charlie Chalk and was the animator behind The Wombles and Paddington Bear. His wife and collaborator Josiane Wood will join experts Tom Sanders and Joseph Wallace to explore his great works.

Josiane Wood was married to Ivor Wood, and went onto work with him on The Magic Roundabout, for which she submitted some of the early scripts. She also worked on Postman Pat and Charlie Chalk in a variety of roles. Wallace is a BAFTA Cymru-nominated animation and puppetry director, made BBC Performing Arts Fellow in 2015, and in 2017 won the Visegrad Animation Forum. Tom Sanders is the founder of blog The World of Ivor Wood, which is dedicated to archiving and researching the work of the director, creator and animator.

There will also be a screening looking at a collection of Ivor’s works.

In Conversation: Kay Benbow – Queen Beebies Adventures in Animation

Thursday, Nov. 16, at 6:00 p.m., Cinema 2

After three decades in television CBeebies controller and champion of animation Kay Benbow is leaving her post at the BBC. The festival will present a look back and a celebration of her finest work.

Under Kay's leadership, CBeebies has evolved in to a multi-genre, multi-platform offering and remains the U.K.'s most popular channel for the pre-school audience. This success has been recognized by BAFTA with CBeebies named Children's Channel of the Year three times since 2011.

Source: The Manchester Animation Festival