Manchester Animation Festival

Part of our Cinema guide

Tom Grieve, Cinema Editor
Manchester Animation Festival

Manchester Animation Festival, online, 14–25 November 2021, from £6 - Book now

Returning with a hybrid format for 2021, Manchester Animation Festival is back with a programme designed to appeal to fans, industry professionals and aspiring animators alike. This UK’s largest animation festival will host physical events in Manchester and screenings at HOME, with audiences around the world invited to participate via live streaming and on demand options. As always, audiences can expect a mix of masterclasses and workshops featuring top industry names, brand new animation from established creators and emerging filmmakers, as well as retrospective screenings highlighting the best of the artform.

MAF 2021 kicks off on Sunday 14 November with a family day designed to bring in younger audiences and have them engage with animation in new ways. Ever popular, the day features a selection of short films for children and a programme of Young Animator of the Year winning films alongside Hey Duggee Character Workshops with designer Ross Phillips and an online event from master sculptor Jim Parkyn, who will show you how to sculpt characters like the pros. There’s also a 20th anniversary screening of Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli classic, Spirited Away.


The main slate starts on Mon 15 Nov, with in person events running until Fri 18 Nov and the online elements continuing until Thu 25 Nov. There are myriad short film showcases available in person and online, including strands highlighting new voices, commercial work and MAFter Dark programmes dedicated to more adult content. Plus, there’s a range of feature films including the upcoming Flee, an animated documentary telling the story of a child refugee from Afghanistan, and Absolute Denial, about a genius programmer who builds a computer of unprecedented power.

Those working in the industry, or aspiring to do so, can take advantage of Industry Excellence Award workshops in fields such as scriptwriting, character design and storyboarding. Meanwhile other industry-focused events are dedicated to everything from looking at the freedoms and pitfalls of the trend towards working from home, to showcasing Manchester-based studios and highlighting the wealth of opportunity available locally.

From Q&As with the teams behind upcoming Netflix comedy The House, to the annual awards ceremony and the hard-fought Skwigly Animation Quiz, the MAF programme really is vast. There are individual tickets, or a full festival pass available, and we recommend heading over to the official website to explore the listings in full.

Manchester Animation Festival, online

14–25 November 2021
From £6

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