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Manchester Animation Festival Reveals Program Line-Up

The 7th edition returns as a hybrid event offering content online and in person November 14-30; new events include a keynote by the BBC’s Patricia Hidalgo and a feature film competition showcasing 4 international filmmakers.

Manchester Animation Festival (MAF) has announced its program for 2021. The seventh edition of the event returns this year as a hybrid event offering audiences an opportunity to access the animated content both in person and online. Panels, masterclasses, work in progress events and studio talks will take place online November 14-30 with dedicated screenings hosted at Manchester’s HOME Cinema between November 14-19.

Additional information and tickets are available here.

Headline events include:

  • A behind-the-scenes look at the animated feature, Ron’s Gone Wrong - the debut film from Locksmith Animation stars an array of voice talent including Jack Dylan Grazer (It, We Are Who We Are) as Barney; Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover, Baskets) as the voice of Ron; Ed Helms (The Hangover, The Office) as Barney's dad; Olivia Colman (The Father, The Crown) as Barney’s grandmother Donka; Rob Delaney (Bombshell, Catastrophe); and Justice Smith (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Get Down). 
  • A ‘making of’ event of the upcoming Netflix stop-motion musical special series Robin Robin. Currently in production at Aardman, it will debut on Netflix in November. Golden Globe winner Gillian Anderson (The Crown) and Oscar nominee Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) lead the cast which also includes Bronte Carmichael (Christopher Robin) and Adeel Akhtar (The Big Sick).
  • A work-in-progress look at upcoming Netflix series The House, made by acclaimed stop-motion directors Emma de Swaef and Marc James Roels with a separate live Q&A.

Two new competition strands have been announced for MAF this year. A feature film category has been added, showcasing the skills of international filmmaking talent across four dedicated titles.

The official feature selection screenings include:

Flee – The documentary is by Riz Ahmed and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who also voice the lead roles.

  • The true story of a man, Amin, who on the verge of marriage is compelled to reveal his hidden past for the first time.

Absolute Denial – Directed by Ryan Braund

  • An obsessive, genius programmer sacrifices everything in his personal and professional life to build a computer of unprecedented power. After weeks in isolation and watching his life crumble around him, he must now confront the ever-increasing problem of a machine that is much smarter than himself.

My Sunny Maad – Directed by Michaela Pavlatova

  • The story follows Herra, a Czech woman, who falls in love with Nazir, an Afghan man. She has no idea about the life that awaits her in post-Taliban Afghanistan, nor about the family she is about to join.

My Favourite War – Directed by Ilze Burkovska Jacobsen

  • Based on the director’s personal experiences growing up in Cold-War Latvia, USSR. A coming-of-age story, a personal escape route from the mighty authoritarian regime’s brainwashing. An anti-war film, emphasizing the importance of an individual’s freedom being a democratic society’s fundamental right.

The Animated Short Film Screening competition screenings return and remain central to the festival; winners will be announced on November 25. The competition includes Short Films, Student Films, and Commissioned Films. Short films for children have been added and will now be eligible for an award.

The annual MAF Fellowship Award 2021 will be presented to Jorge Gutierrez and Sandra Equihua, the duo behind The Book of Life and the latest Netflix series Maya and the Three. To celebrate, program events will look at their work and film careers, with a live Q&A.

Manchester Animation Festival’s Industry Day is back with a brand-new event, the Animation Keynote:

  • ‘Ignite British Animation’ – Thursday November 18 – presented by Patricia Hidalgo, Director of Children’s, and Education at the BBC.

The MAF Industry Day presents an opportunity for the animation community to gather and share ideas on the future of our industry, break down barriers and offer access to animation business insiders.

  • ‘In The Frame’ – This year’s investigation into the animation industry examines what access means to those behind the scenes and reveal the results of a survey commissioned in partnership with ScreenSkills and Visible in Visuals. Panelists will include members of the D/deaf community, and those with physical and non-neurotypical access requirements, who will share their own experiences as MAF examines whether the industry is doing enough in to provide a welcoming environment to the entire workforce.

A family day will introduce audiences to animated features and short films from around the world. It will also include a sculpt-along with senior model maker Jim Parkyn. He has worked in animation for over 20 years as part of the Aardman family as well as working with the BBC and a number of independent studios.

“We’re delighted to announce our 2021 program, featuring some brand-new exciting additions and developments from last year, including an industry keynote!” shared festival director Steve Henderson. “We have a brilliant mixture of live events where you can get involved with questions and comments and pre-recorded screenings for you to enjoy as and when you like. We’re also delighted that in 2021 we can finally launch an animated feature film award to bring these films to new audiences with four fantastic titles contending for the inaugural prize.”

Source: Manchester Animation Festival