Manchester Animation Festival, the UK’s largest animation festival, has revealed its programme for 2022.

Returning in person for the first time in two years, the festival feature over 100 events, such as screenings, panels, workshops, masterclasses, Making Of and studio talks, from 13th-18th November 2022.

The Festival’s Industry Day will feature the State of Animation panel with Patricia Hidalgo, director of Children’s industry at BBC, Kate O’Connor, ceo of Animation UK, Michael Rose, md of Magic Light Pictures, Tom Box, md of Blue Zoo, Sean Clarke, managing director of Aardman Studios and Caroline Roberts-Cherry, co founder of Saffron Cherry, as they debate the issues facing the animation industry today.

Showcasing the very best of the North-West, a Making it in Manchester session will this year focus on gaming. The region has an array of games companies using animation in their production and dealing with some of the biggest names in games.

Collecting the Manchester Animation Festival Fellowship Award for 2022 are Camilla Deakin and Ruth Fielding of Lupus Films. Known for The Snowman and the Snowdog, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and The Tiger Who Came to Tea, the company has created some of the world’s most beloved adaptations of illustrated classics, including a feature adaptation of Ethel & Ernest by Raymond Briggs. In a special session for MAF, they will tell the story of their studio, look back on some of their favourite films, as well as give audiences a sneak preview of what is next for Lupus.

In a special event celebrating 30 years of legendary studio Mackinnon & Saunders, Ian Mackinnon and Peter Saunders will give audiences an in depth look at some of their impressive array of works, including features Fantastic Mr. Fox, Corpse Bride and children’s series Postman Pat, Bob The Builder and Rastamouse.

There will also be a special festival preview screening of The Amazing Maurice, an animated family film from Sky based on the wildly popular Discworld ® novels. Featuring an all-star cast, the film tells the story of a streetwise ginger cat who comes up with a money-making scam by befriending a group of self-taught talking rats.

The official feature film selection includes:

● Unicorn Wars – Blending animated classic Bambi with anti-war epic Apocalypse Now, Unicorn Wars follows a group of inexperienced teddy bear recruits who are sent on a dangerous mission to save the Magic Forest from unicorns in a dark comedy that uses animated fantasy to ponder the origin of evil.

● The Island – With a hypnotic soundtrack and colourful surreal visuals, The Island is an animated musical that tips the Robinson Crusoe story on its head. After saving Friday, the only survivor of an illegal refugee boat, Robinson confronts current affairs through visual poetry and symbolism in a world where everybody looks for their own paradise. (UK Premiere)

● My Love Affair with Marriage – My Love Affair with Marriage follows lovelorn Zelma, but the more she tries to conform, the more her body resists in this story about acceptance and inner female rebellion.

● Nayola – Following three generations of women in a 25-year-long civil war in Angola, Nayola sees past and present interlace. The mother goes in search of her missing husband at the height of the war and doesn’t return. Her daughter has become a subversive rapper while her grandmother tries to contain her for fear of the police coming to arrest her.

● No Dogs Or Italians Allowed – Set in the early 20th century and chronicling the lives of the Ughetto family in Northern Italy, the Ughettos dream of a better life abroad. His grandson travels back in time through the magic of animation to revisit his family history. (UK Premiere)

Further sessions include an interactive Meet the Puppets event with both the Cosgrove Hall Films Archive and Mackinnon and Saunders, a BBC boxset screening featuring family favourites from CBeebies and CBBC, a sculpting social with Jim Parkyn, an online sneak peek at Chris Garbutt and Rikke Asbjoern’s upcoming Netflix interactive special, We Lost Our Human, and an Industry Insiders panel where experts from the world of animation will cover a wide range of topics.

There will be screenings of at least 121 different short films from over 37 different countries – more than ever shown before at the festival – and premieres including The Island, Claydreams and No Dogs or Italians Allowed.

Headline events at the festival include a Making Of session on Aardman’s animated series Lloyd of The Flies.

Fans will also be invited to take an exclusive behind the scenes look at hit Netflix animation series, Dead End Paranormal Park with creator Hamish Steele and series producer Jen Coatsworth, made by Blink Industries (Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared).

Festival Director Steve Henderson said: “We’re delighted to be bringing Pinocchio to MAF and celebrating Mackinnon & Saunders – Manchester’s very own Geppetto’s workshop where some of the puppets for the feature were made. With over 100 events this is our biggest and most exciting edition yet and we can’t wait to welcome audiences to Manchester in November for a selection of the best features, shorts and masterclasses from the world of animation”

Manchester Animation Festival is presented with the support of the BFI (awarding funds from the National Lottery) and sponsored, partnered and supported by HOME, University of Salford, Manchester City Council, BBC Children’s & Education, Blue Zoo, Jellyfish Pictures.

Full programme information, further information and ticketing can be found at


Kensuke’s Kingdom image courtesy of Lupus Films

Pippa Considine

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