London International Animation Festival

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The UK’s largest festival of its kind, the London International Animation Festival (LIAF) returns to the Barbican for 10 days from 25 Oct to 3 Nov, with over 300 films from 30 countries. Celebrating its 10th anniversary LIAF will proudly showcase the whole spectrum of creative animation in a series of amazing programmes including animated features, competition shorts, masterclasses from visiting animators, screen talks, workshops and industry events.

The festival kicks off its 10th birthday edition with a preview of Kevin Schrek’s Persistence of Vision about the visionary animator Richard Williams (Who Framed Roger Rabbit) and his quarter-century quest to make the greatest film ever, only to have it torn from his hands. The director will give a ScreenTalk following the screening with festival director Nag Vladermersky and animator Michael Schlingmann who spent many years working with Richard Williams on this unrealised project.

The festival has also dug deep into its 10-year archive to present three very special screenings of the best comedy, horror and sci-fi films.

The competition programmes are the core of the festival. As well as six programmes of the best new short films from all around the world there are also abstract, long shorts and the British showcase programmes.

Elsewhere at the festival audiences can discover the output of a quiet powerhouse of European animation, Sacrebleu Productions in France, and the sophisticated capabilities of 3D from the National Film Board of Canada and Poland’s Platige Image Film Studio, which has had a major influence in the shaping of 3D stereoscopic animation. Ola Watras will present a fascinating masterclass on some of the processes involved in Platige Images’ award-winning productions.

Multi award-winning Estonian animator Ülo Pikkov will present a retrospective screening of his work as well as give an in-depth masterclass focussing on his film Body Memory (2011), which has been selected for over 100 international film festivals and has won more than 30 prizes.


LIAF will also present two programmes of animation specifically for children – Amazing Animations for 0-6 year-olds and Marvellous Animations for 7-15 year-olds.

Children also get the opportunity to take part in a drop-in animation workshop and to make a Spooky Film at a day-long workshop; all ages are welcome at the second annual LIAF flipbook challenge lead by acclaimed animator Elizabeth Hobbs.

The festival ends with the Best-of-the-Festival on Sunday 3 Nov featuring the best films chosen by our panel of judges and audience votes.


LIAF listings (see website for full details)

LIAF Opening Gala (15*) – Fri 25 Oct, 6.30pm

Persistence of Vision (USA 2012 Dir Kevin Schreck)

LIAF 10 Best Comedy Films (15*) – Fri 25 Oct, 9.30pm

Guard Dog (US 2004 Dir Bill Plympton 5 min)                                                  Oscar-nominated comedy from the king of indie animation. Why do dogs bark at such innocent creatures as pigeons and squirrels?

Brother (Australia 1999 Dir Adam Elliot 8 min)                                                   The childhood memory of a little boy afflicted with asthma.

The Small Dragon (France 2009 Dir Bruno Collet 8 min)                                Where’s Bruce Lee when you really, really need him?

Cowboys – Outrage (UK 1992 Dir Phil Mulloy 3 min)                                           The whole of Joesville is disgusted by the behaviour of their young folk.

The Man in the Blur Gordini (France 2009 Dir Jean-Christophe Lie 10 min)       All a superhero needs is his turf, his mask and some decent wheels. Even pants aren’t essential at the end of the 1970’s.

12 Years (Germany 2010 Dir Daniel Nocke 4 min)                                                For twelve years she ignored sneers and mockery and stood up for her relationship. But that was probably a mistake.

Dreams and Desires: Family Ties (UK 2006 Dir Joanna Quinn 10 min)        Disaster strikes when Beryl creates the ultimate wedding video.

Rejected (US 2001 Dir Don Hertzfeldt 9 min)                                                        An animator’s commissioned works, rejected because of their increasingly absurd and violent tone (reflecting the animator’s own progressive breakdown), eventually find their entire animated world collapsing in upon itself.

The External World (US 2011 Dir David O’Reilly 15 min)                                       A collection of dark but humorous vignettes created as a lo-fi animation, borrowing themes from pop culture, cinema and video games.

Tram (France 2012 Dir Michaela Pavlatova 7 min)                                                 A voluptuously sultry tram ride resplendent in all its wondrously esoteric wobbliness.

Amazing Animations (0-6 year olds) (U*) – Sat 26 Oct 11am
This programme, carefully chosen for the youngest festival audience, strips away all the soft-sell toy ads and the over-the-top blockbuster-style special effects and delivers up a programme of wonderful films full of simple joys.

Children’s drop-in animation workshop – 10am – 11am                                      Join the festival team in the cinema foyer for a special chance to try making a short animated sequence with BAFTA-award winning animator Kevin Griffiths.


Flipbook Challenge Workshop – Sat 26 Oct 2.30 – 4.30pm                          Flipbook expert Elizabeth Hobbs will share her expertise in the form of tips, tricks and demonstrations, then guide participants as they embark upon creating their own flipbook. Completed flipbooks can be entered in to the LIAF 2013 Flipbook Challenge

Studio Focus: Sacrebleu Productions (15*) – Sat 26 Oct 2pm                                Founded by Ron Dyens in 1999, the Paris production and distribution studio has produced more than 40 films that have played at nearly 1000 festival screenings all over the world. This programme gathers a superb collection of highlights from this quiet powerhouse of European animation, including their latest international hit film Tram. This is a programme that gently but persuasively showcases the extraordinary potential of animation when it is entrusted to some of the most gifted artists working in the field today.

LIAF 10 Best Sci-Fi Films (15*) – Sat 26 Oct 4pm                                                     

Le Processus (France 2000 Dir Philippos Grammaticopoulos 8 min)                  A dark futuristic city, under the spell of conformist authoritarian rule where Individual freedoms are squashed by groupthink and obviously not tolerated.

The Origin of Creatures (Holland 2010 Dir Floris Kaayk 12 min)                          In this dark parable of a post-catastrophic world, a colony of mutilated limbs emerges in an ultimately doomed attempt to create a new form of randomly co-operative beings.

Eclipse (France 2012 Dir Guignard, N. Lecombre, H. Noreno 4 min)                  An elite space-rescue team pays the price when they are swept into the rapturous powers of the mighty eclipse.

Mrdrchain (Czech Republic 2010 Dir Ondrej Svadlena 10 min)                    Sliceman – the central character in a dark and frightening land locked into, and consumed by, a murder chain.

Countdown (UK/France 2011 Director: Celine Desrumaux 4 min)                       An animated ode to the golden age of space travel.

The Gloaming (France 2010 Dir Nobrain 14 min)                                          Civilization and its accelerating evolution give rise to a character capable of creating a world beyond its control.

Robots of Brixton (UK 2011 Dir Kibwe Tavares 6 min)                                  Brixton has degenerated into an area inhabited by London’s new robot workforce – robots built and designed to carry out all of the tasks which humans no longer want to do.

Morana (Croatia 2008 Dir Simon Bogojevic Narath 13 min)                              After running through a misty, desolate landscape, a solitary hunter spends a rainy night in a shelter on top of a steep cliff.

9 (US 2005 Dir Shane Acker 11 min)                                                                        A band of rag dolls must destroy a machine that is hunting them and stealing their souls.

Magnetic Movie (UK 2007 Dir Semi Conductor 5 min)                                            The remarkable secret life of invisible interplanetary magnetic fields, revealed as chaotic ever-changing geometries in man’s visible environment.

International Competition Programme 1 (15*) – Sat 26 Oct 7pm                                 The best of recently released short animated films from all over the world carefully chosen from 2000+ entries. They use every technique – they can be funny, dramatic, documentary or autobiographical. The one thing they have in common is that we think they’re the pick of the crop.

Ülo Pikkov Retrospective (15*) + ScreenTalk – Sat 26 Oct 9pm                                  Multi award-winning Estonian animator Ülo Pikkov has travelled extensively screening his work, yet this retrospective screening of his 7 short films represent his first time visiting the UK as a filmmaker.

Pikkov’s films are extremely varied stylistically – from the kind of illustration you would expect to see in a colourful children’s book, in his debut film Bermuda (1998) – to the more surreal and disturbing imagery of the Headless Horseman (2001). The early shorts have a strong narrative, such as Year of the Monkey (2003), in which a monkey leaves the zoo and achieves virtually instant success in everything he puts his hand to, but in recent years his work appears to be departing from a more obvious narrative, such as in Body Memory (2011), an extremely striking and disturbing stop-motion animation where human figures made of string are confined in a box and gradually unravelled by invisible outside forces.

Ülo Pikkov will also give a Masterclass on Sun 27 Oct

Marvellous Animations (7-15 year-olds) (PG*) – Sun 27 Oct 11am                                 A programmes of shorts especially selected for 7-15 year-olds

Animated Documentaries (15*) + ScreenTalk – Sun 27 Oct 2pm                        Persuasive, illustrative and able to get over abstract details in attractive and compelling ways, animation is the perfect tool to document someone’s vision of the truth. These films – a selection of stylish and compelling short documentaries contain beautifully realised sequences and some of the most stunning animation in the festival. After the screening there will be a Q&A with some of the filmmakers whose films are featured in the screening.

Abstract Showcase (15*) – Sun 27 Oct 4pm                                                                Animation in its purest form. A collection of in-competition, recently released films focusing entirely on abstract and experimental animation. Outstanding examples of non-narrative, highly imaginative cinematic art and some of the most intriguing, challenging and rewarding films in competition.

International Competition Programme 2 (15*) – Sun 27 Oct 7pm

International Competition Programme 3 (15*) – Sun 27 Oct 9pm

International Competition Programme 4 (15*) – Mon 28 Oct 7pm

International Competition Programme 5 (15*) – Mon 28 Oct 9pm

International Competition Programme 6 (15*) – Tue 29 Oct 7pm

International Competition Programme 7 (15*): Long Shorts – Tue 29 Oct 8.30pm
A showcase of outstanding longer shorts, including from the UK, Angels and Ghosts narrated by Samatha Morton, and based on a true story about a young girl on a quest to find her brothers who have disappeared. The screening will be followed by a ScreenTalk with Sara Keeney, the director of Angels and Ghosts and other guests.

British Showcase (15*) – Wed 30 Oct 7pm
An opportunity to see what British animators are doing, how they’re doing it and how the art form is travelling. The screening will be followed by an opportunity to meet the animators and answer questions about their work.

National Film Board of Canada 3D Stereoscopic Films (15*) – Wed 30 Oct 9pm       The National Film Board of Canada has one of the most sophisticated 3D stereoscopic labs in the world. The films that come out of this creative engine-room showcase what 3D stereoscopic animation is truly capable of. Curated by the NFB’s head of 3D Animation, Munro Ferguson, this programme is a stunning collection of films.


Platige Image Screening (15*) + Introduction and ScreenTalk with Ola Watras     

Thu 31 Oct 7pm

Poland’s Platige Image Film Studio is having a very major say in the shaping of 3D stereoscopic animation. Over the past 15 years, Platige Image has produced a truly impressive collection of short films and commercials. One of its very first short films, The Cathedral, was nominated for an Academy Award and virtually every one of its shorts since then has gone on to win awards and near-universal acclaim.

This programme will be introduced by Ola Watras from Platige Image who will take part in a ScreenTalk after the screening.


LIAF 10 Best Horror Films (15*) – Thu 31 Oct 9pm                                                   

The Cat With Hands (UK 2001 Dir Robert Morgan 4 min)                                   The story of a cat who, legend has it, longs to be human.

Son of Satan (US 2005 Dir JJ Villard 12 min)                                                    Music by Iggy Pop and Beethoven, story by Charles Bukowski – a raw, urgent punk scream against the pain of abuse, bullying and the cyclical nature of violence.

Blanche Fraise (Canada 2011 Dir Frederick Tremblay 17 min)                            Two rabbits are starving to death in this sinister fairy tale in a dying forest.

Face (France 2007 Dir Hendrick Dusollier 6 min)                                                    A twisted, spectacular piece of grotesquery focusing on a face trapped in a dangerous prison of the mind.

Lonely Bones (France 2012 Dir Rosto 10 min)                                                       A hallucinogenic film about a one-eyed man who escapes from a hotel room and steps into a forsaken world, where time and space melt together.

The Smaller Room (Switzerland 2009 Nina Wehrle & Cristobal Leon 3 min)      “In a room there is a box. In the box there is a forest. In the forest there is a lost child.” 

The Backwater Gospel (Denmark 2011 Dir Bo Mathorne 10 min)                   Death stalks the prairie and has no favourites – neither true believers nor crazed hillbillies can hide.

Chernokids (France 2010 Dirs Marion Petegnief, Matthieu Bernadat, Nils Boussuge, Florence Ciuccoli & Clément Deltour 7 min)                                      20 years on and not all is right with the kids who were caught up in the aftermath of Chernobyl. A few too many eyes, for a start.

The Wake (Belgium 2013 Dir Pieter Coudyzer 20 min)                                         The very creepy story of an introverted man, his wife who is in a coma due to an accident and their uneasy relationship.

Dad’s Dead (UK 2002 Dir Chris Shepherd 7 min)                                             Through a series of ghostly reminiscences a young man tries to piece together fragmented moments from the past, memories being triggered by admiration for his best friend Johnno.

Industry Events 1 & 2 – Fri 1Nov 10am/2pm        

Creative Skillset have joined up with us to run our annual Animation Industry Event and we’ve got all manner of topics being covered, by special guests from a wide range of very different areas. Each of them are ready to impart their knowledge and answer questions in 4 carefully chosen panel sessions. For anyone working in the industry, thinking of working in the industry or just plain curious these 4 sessions are indispensable.

Topics covered include:

  1. Tax breaks and the new future of animation.
  2. Bit Players – is coding creative?
  3. How to Become a 10-year-old: living long and prospering in animation.
  4. The importance of Sound in Animation.

Make a Spooky Film Workshop – Sat 2 Nov time 10am – 4pm (10-14 year olds)  A morning animating spooky films and an afternoon adding scary soundtracks, for children aged 10-14. BAFTA winning animator Kevin Griffiths will introduce the various stages of ‘cut-out’ animation and guide children step-by-step through the process of making their very own animated film. Children will learn how to use a camera, laptop and software to create their own Halloween-themed animations. They will then get the chance to bring their films to life by experimenting with sound to create eerie atmospheres, ‘bumps in the night’ and give a voice to their ghostly characters.

Masterclass lead by Ola Watras, Platige Image – Creativity and Technology – A Perfect Match – Sat 2 Nov  Creativity generates technology and technology feeds creativity. It is a wonderful vicious circle of inspiration and idea. Platige Image has been engaged in both for over 15 years, embracing the craziest ideas and finding technologies to bring them to life. This masterclass with Ola Watras from Platige Image will be a fascinating look at some of the processes involved in their multi-award winning productions.

Industry Events 3 & 4 – Sat 2 Nov 10am, 2pm

See above – Industry Events 1 & 2

Best of the Festival (15*) – Sun 3 Nov 6pm and 8pm (repeat screening)
Judges votes, audience favourites and a few ‘over-looked’ classics thrown in for good measure. This is the last chance to see these films before the curtain comes down for another year.


Special Festival Guests

Ülo Pikkov (Filmmaker)                                                                                         Multi award-winning Estonian animator Ülo Pikkov has travelled extensively screening his work, yet this retrospective screening of his 7 short films represent his first time visiting the UK as a filmmaker. As well as producing a distinct and highly acclaimed series of short films over almost twenty years, Ülo is also the founder and associate professor of the Animation Department of the Estonian Academy of the Arts, the manager and producer for documentary and animation film at his company Silmviburlane and the author of the 2010 book Animasophy: Theoretical Writings on the Animated Film.

Ola Watras (Platige Image studios)                                                                   Poland’s Platige Image Film Studio is having a major say in the shaping of 3D stereoscopic animation. For 15 years, Platige Image has produced a truly impressive collection of short films and commercials. One of its very first short films, The Cathedral, was nominated for an Academy Award and virtually every one of its shorts since then has gone on to win awards and near-universal acclaim.

Kevin Schreck  (Director)                                                                                  Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Kevin Schreck is a young documentary filmmaker currently living and working in Brooklyn, New York. Persistence of Vision is his first feature-length film, which has screened at more than 20 festivals worldwide winning universal acclaim.

Elizabeth Hobbs (Flipbook Challenge Workshop)                                           Elizabeth Hobbs is an independent animator working in East London under the name Spellbound Animations. Her short films have been screened widely internationally and won many awards. Elizabeth also runs animation workshops in museums and galleries and lectures at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge.

Tickets available from the Barbican box-office and the LIAF website.

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