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Bradford Animation Festival (BAF 09) Review

Bradford Animation Festival (BAF 09) Review

We’ve just got back the Bradford Animation Festival in (surprisingly enough) Bradford. It ran from the 10th to the 14th of November and was, yet again, the highlight of the British animation calendar.

Where else can students mingle with Oscar winning animators, producers and directors like Joanna Quinn, Priit Parn, Barry Purves, Jonas Odell, Brian Van’t Hull and Claire Jennings?

Where else can you discuss animation theory with Paul Wells, watch great films from around the world, and meet other like minded people who share one common passion: animation.

It was a terrific line up, and 5 action packed days. My personal hi-light was probably the opening night film: Mary and Max by Adam Elliot (of Harvey Crumpet fame). It was the closest thing I think I’ve ever found to a perfect film, and I shall be doing a proper review next time I have a chance to sit down without a million practically identical, but ever so slightly different drawings that need doing.

Another part worth a mention was Brian Van’t Hul’s wonderfully insightful talk on the challenges that the Visual Effects team faced when making Coraline (the first stop-motion feature shot in stereoscopic 3D). A passionate and engaging speaker, he knew his subject inside out, and was able to summarize not only the obstacles and difficulties surrounding this ground breaking film but also the solutions that they found and the lessons that they learnt. Brian Van’t Hul, for those who don’t know, won an Oscar for the visual effects on King Kong, and has also worked on Nightmare Before Christmas, Forrest Gump, I Robot and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Tony Fish was honored with a life time achievement award, for his incredibly impressive CV as an editor (which were barely contained in not one, not two, but THREE retrospective screenings). Tony taught both myself and Aaron during our time at the University for the Creative Arts, and it was wonderful to see him being awarded this recognition.

BAF 09 Photos

Aaron (who did his dissertation on Estonian animation) meets Priit Parn, Dangermouse joins Barry Purves to distribute an award, Tony Fish accepts his lifetime achievement award, Coraline puppets

This is starting to sound a little gushy now, so on to some negatives. It rained almost constantly, and was thoroughly cold and dark when it didn’t. The wrong film won the Grand Prix. The Professional film screening was of less quality than the Student films screening, and the Student films screening was made up entirely of films from MA courses (mostly from the RCA and Emile Cohl).

But these things are minor inconveniences when placed alongside 5 days of filmic delights and the odd glass of free wine.

We had a wonderful time at BAF09, and would like to thank the organisers Deb Singleton and Ben Eagle for doing a wonderful job.


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