Manchester Animation Festival has revealed new additions to its programme for 2021 and announced the nominations for the Industry Excellence Awards.

The hybrid in-person and online event will now include a special 20th anniversary screening of Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli masterpiece Spirited Away, a live Q&A with the director of critically acclaimed animated documentary Flee (pictured), voiced by Riz Ahmed and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and a selection of Greek language animation curated by Co-Founder and Festival director at Animasyros International Animation Festival, Maria Anestopoulou.

Other new events added to the programme include: Life’s A Pitch, pitching panel and one-to-one reviews, In-venue screenings of Best of MAF 2020 Competition titles, Q&As with Absolute Denial (2021) director Ryan Braund, My Sunny Maad (2021) director Michaela Pavlátová, a live discussion with the director of My Favourite War (2020) Ilze Burkovska-Jacobsen and an in-venue and virtual box set of BBC family favourites from CBeebies and CBBC featuring Hey Duggee, Love Monster, Gnasher Unleashed, Boy Girl Dog Cat Mouse Cheese and more.

Delegates at this year’s Manchester Animation Festival can take a behind-the-scenes look at the forthcoming feature film The Character of Rain, with a special discussion from the film’s director Liane-Cho Han. Sharing the story of Amélie, a 2-and-a-half-year-old Belgian girl, born in Japan, who thinks that she is God, the film is realised in sublime 2D animation and is set to be released in 2024.

Liane-Cho Han is a French animator and storyboarder who has worked on titles such as Asterix: The Mansions of the Gods, The Little Prince and Long Way Nowhere.

This year’s Industry Excellence Award nominees have been announced across four categories; Character Animation, Character Design, Scriptwriting, and Storyboarding.

In the Character Animation category, the nominees are: Ben Keohane for Fourth Wall Animation’s Milo, Philip Ward for Obki, Aman Gupta for BirdBox and Susan Guy for Squib: When All of This is Over.

In the Character Design category, the nominees are: Greg McLeod for animated series Circle Square, Mark Pyper for 80’s inspired The Retro Squad, George Crosbie for Milo and Daniel Amar for Sunrise.

In the Scriptwriting category, the nominees are: Alan Robinson for School of Roars, Sophie Dutton for Hey Duggee: The Pet Badge, Alex Collier for It’s Pony – Locked Out and Ciaran Murtagh & Andrew Barnett Jones for The Rubbish World of Dave Sput.

In the final category, the Storyboarding nominees are: Arly Jones for Absolute Love, Jonathan Mortimer for New Signs for Animation, Justin Quinlan for Lisey’s Story and Graeme Young for It’s Pony.

The winners of the Industry Excellence Awards will be announced alongside the Film Competition at the MAF Awards on Thu 25 November.

Manchester Animation Festival is presented with the support of the BFI and sponsored, partnered and supported by University of Salford, HOME, Jurys Inn, Blue Zoo, Jellyfish Pictures, ScreenSkills, Animation UK, Leeds Arts University, University of Staffordshire, Animation Toolkit, Sheffield Hallam University, Marks & Clerk LLP, Realtime UK, The Farm Group, Kilogramme, Kord Media, Bearded Fellows.

Manchester Animation Festival Director is Steve Henderson, the Executive Producer and Festival Programmer is Jen Hall and Festival Producer is Greg Walker.

Manchester Animation Festival will run online from the 14th-30th November with live events and screenings taking place 14th-19th November. Full programme information, further information and ticketing can be found here.




Pippa Considine

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