Michael Dudock de Wit

Netflix and Shaun the Sheep sequel named for Manchester Animation Festival

The UK’s largest animation festival returns for a fifth year with Shaun the Sheep screenings, workshops from Oscar-winning directors and family activities.

Manchester Animation Festival (MAF) returns with the aim of “celebrating animation in all its forms”. Now in its fifth year, the festival’s line-up features a mix of expert insight as well as screenings of animation films.

The festival’s director, Steve Henderson, says that animation is an “art form” which is “not embraced by the general public as fully as it could be.”

“We offer a place for those interested in the animation industry wishing to see a little bit of the animated magic that goes on behind the scenes,” he adds.

Speakers include Oscar-winning director Michaël Dudok de Wit — one of Henderson’s “personal animation heroes” — who will deliver a masterclass and discuss the making of his films, The Red Turtle, Father and Daughter and The Monk and the Fish.

The animation supervisor of Netflix’s Klaus, Sergio Martins, will talk about making the film, which features about a down on his luck postal student. Martins, who has worked on adverts and music videos, will discuss the challenge and advances of character animations.

The Shaun the Sheep sequel will play at this year’s festival

There will also be a total of 105 short films from 28 countries at the film section of MAF. Highlights include A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, Shaun the Sheep’s second feature length movie from Aardman Animation. Co-director Will Becher will also speak about creating the film and reveal “classified secrets of this stellar stop motion sequel”.

Visitors can also see Ruben Brandt, Collector, which was nominated for Best Animated Independent Feature at the Annie Awards, an LA-based awards series for animation in film and television. It’s described as a “surreal heist movie which follows four thieves as they attempt to steal famous artworks for their psychotherapist”.

Ruben Brandt, Collector

This year’s panels will look at different aspects of the animation sector, with a focus on employment. One panel, called What Makes the Perfect Showreel? explores the “dos and don’ts for animation job seekers”.

The annual In the Frame series returns with experts looking at diversity and inclusion in the animation industry and “how we can do more to benefit us all”.

One panel, Making it in Manchester, will feature local studios and designers and discuss what makes Manchester “one of the nation’s premier animation hotspots”.

There is also a family-focused section at the festival, with workshops, colouring-in sessions and shot films for children.

Netflix’s Klaus

The festival will be held in two venues; at the University of Salford, and HOME, a cultural centre in Manchester. Henderson says: “As the animation continues to grow we’re proud to be at the centre of it showcasing the art and industry of this beloved medium.

“What I look forward to every year is the how the festival provides a space for everyone: whether you’re an animation super fan, a student, someone working in the industry, or you just want to see something unique that you can’t see anywhere else.”

Manchester Animation Festival runs from 10-14 November 2019. Tickets are on sale now; for more details visit the website.

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