The 2012 annual Bradford Animation Festival by no feat fell short compared to it’s impressive opponents, especially Leeds International Film Festival, held in it’s neighboring city during the same weekend. In the duration of the festival there were talks from world-renowned companies in the animation and gaming industries, tributes and lifetime achievement celebrations of some of the greatest individual animators success stories, interesting seminars lead by emerging and ever growing indie companies, workshops with individually celebrated leaders in animation, with additional film showings, all set in the hub of digital media history in Yorkshire, Bradford Media Centre.
This year three of the lead companies in animation Double Negative, Laika and Aardman Animations all had professionals holding talks in their personal field within these companies, all of which held interesting and insightful Q&A sessions at the end allowing interaction with the audience and some useful creative feedback and knowledge was distributed.
In the games section of the festival, the greats Sony Entertainment and BioWare both held talks, which like the animation section of the program, was engaging and insightful into what it really is like to create some of the best games in the world and what each individuals involvement was in helping do so.
The festival also pays homage to some of animations greatest pioneers and most influential role models; this year the lifetime achievement award went to John Halas who created over seventy animations during the world war’s, which include ‘Animal Farm’, which is regarded as the pinnacle of propaganda in animations. Another animator whose lifetime of work was celebrated was the Warner Brother’s animator Chuck Jones, who created some of the greatest short animations of all time.
All Animated, the Yorkshire based animation collective, also had a big hand in the festival, allowing emerging talents to publicize their work to a wider audience. Although this section of the festival wasn’t as strong as the others, it is obvious the skill which goes into being a creative in these industries at all.
Along with all of these fantastic talks, there are also more personal and interactive workshops and events held throughout the festival, notably a number were taken by some great individual animators and professionals Joanna Quinn, Alan Gilbey, Curtis Jobling, Rob Morgan, exploring a range of media from concept art, life drawing and script writing.
On the last day of the event, the animations shown during the festival are rated and the best awarded the winner of each category. Some of the highlights for this year’s festival were ‘Buy Buy Baby’, a quirky 2D animation following the life of a banker and his mischievous baby daughter, which won the Audience Award. ‘Oh Willy...’ a favourite at all animation festivals this year, won the Best Professional Film, with it’s fuzzy charm and wit. ‘Bite of the Tail’ wins Best Student Film, with its unusual narrative. The Beautifully crafted and animated short film ‘The Gruffalo's Child’ wins Best Film for Children, and finally the spectacular and breathtakingly beautiful stop motion ‘Una Furtiva Lagima’ wins Best Short, Short.