Manchester Animation Festival enters its fifth year with an extensive programme that caters to fans, families and industry folk alike. The largest animation festival in the UK returns with a new five-day format that encompasses a Family Day at HOME on Sunday 10 November, followed by an academic conference at University of Salford, before returning to HOME for animated short competitions, feature films, retrospective screenings, workshops, networking events and panel discussions at the festival proper from 12 to 14 November.
There are myriad ways to experience MAF. You might be eager to catch recent releases such as Aardman Animations’ Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon and hear directly from the filmmakers, or discover new talent by diving into one of the multiple shorts programmes. Looking to learn? There are masterclasses aplenty, from Oscar-winning The Red Turtle director Michaël Dudok de Wit, to ‘How to Develop An Animated TV Series’ with experts Blue Zoo Animation, to Animation Supervisor Sergio Martins, who will talk through the challenges he faced making Netflix’s Klaus.
Those working in the industry – or who aspire to – will be interested to explore industry panels, including, ‘Making it in Manchester’, in which a selection of local studios and practitioners showcase their work and explain what makes the city such an animation hotspot; ‘The A-Z of an Animation Department’, which demystifies the art department; ‘What Makes the Perfect Showreel?’ helps with the do’s and don’ts of animators looking for work; while ‘In the Frame’ provides a vital look at diversity and inclusion within the animation industry.
The Family Day promises a screenings and events geared to younger fans, with screenings, colouring in sessions and fun workshops designed to encourage those budding animators. At the other end of the spectrum, MAFter Dark at Lock 91 is a free adults-only evening of animated amusements in the pub. As always, the festival will conclude with the MAF award ceremony, as the coveted Manchester Animation Festival trophies and Industry Excellence Awards (crafted by master model makers Mackinnon and Saunders) — this year presented by animation legend, Barry Purves.