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British Animation Awards Return

British Animation Awards Return

Tonight at the BFI Southbank, the British Animation Awards return for their 20th anniversary, to once again bring us the very best of British animation!

The categories this year were slightly modified and entries were accepted for Best Student Film: Undergraduate, Best Student Film: Postgraduate, Best Children’s Series, Best Pre-School Series, Best Film/TV Graphics, Best Use of Sound, Best Commissioned Animation: Promotional, Best Commissioned Animation: Documentary, Best Voice Performance, Best Music Video, Best Animation in a Commercial, Best Short Film and Best Long Form.

The public also has a chance to award their favourites from the Favourite Short Film and Music Video categories with the Public Choice Award.

BAA Director, Jayne Pilling says: “It’s 20 years since the British Animation Awards began and this is the first awards ceremony to take place since the industry reaped the benefit of the changes to the tax-break arrangements. With the animation industry in rude health, there has never been a better time to celebrate this wonderful, thriving, creative force and we hope to make this the best awards ceremony yet.”

In anticipation of tonight’s ceremony, let’s have a closer look at some of the best animation work this year.

In the Best Short Film category this year, the finalists are:

Teeth, by Tom Brown and Daniel Gray, produced by Holbrooks Films – “Things of worth are often neglected in favour of that which might be more immediately gratifying. Unfortunately, the things that are neglected are often lost forever, irreplaceable. This is the story of a man with a misguided and intense focus – one which started in his youth and carried on to old age. His life events are chronicled through the loss of his teeth – and how his obsessive efforts to amend what was damaged bring on yet further destruction.”

Directors Tom Brown and Daniel Gray met in a Welsh film school in 2003 and later went on to win numerous awards across International Film Festivals including Sundance, Ottawa, Annecy, and the British Animation Awards for their first short film “T.O.M.”. They have been working together ever since under the name of Holbrooks and are currently working on their next short film due to release in Fall 2013.

Dead Air, by Robert Bradbrook, produced by Bright Cold Day Films & Bradbrook Films with support from the Arts Foundation – “DJ Pete is going to shakes things up! Arriving on a small tranquil island, he causes a stir amongst the insular locals with his fresh and irreverent radio show. Only one islander, Laura, welcomes this outsider with open arms. Dead Air is an atmospheric digital animation, that tells its story through the interplay of the dynamic coastal scenery and Pete’s radio phone-ins. When a new bridge threatens the resident’s idea of what their island should be, we discover that communities are always evolving and no-one is immune to change.”

Robert Bradbrook is an English filmmaker and animator. His film Home Road Movies was nominated as Best Animated Short at the 55th British Academy Film Awards and received the Grand Prize at the 2002 Ottawa International Animation Festival.

And finally… Let’s Play Nomad X, by Kristian Andrews, produced by Kristian Andrews Production – “During a ‘Let’s Play’ review of his favourite ’90’s computer game, a man tells a story of heartbreak. Guiding us through the space simulator Nomad X, he offers hints and tips on gameplay, losing the love of his life …and why, yesterday, he got punched in the throat.”

Kristian Andrews is an animation director, whose films usually feature unconventional narratives and often use observational drawing as a means of honestly communicating personal anecdote.

In the Best Long Form category, the finalists are:

Stick Man, by Jeroen Jaspaert & Daniel Snaddon, produced by Magic Light Pictures – “A half-hour animated film based on the much-loved children’s picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, creators of The Gruffalo. Stick Man tells the tale of a happy-go-lucky father’s epic journey to make it home in time for Christmas.”

Children of the Holocaust, by Zane Whittingham, produced by Fettle Animation for BBC Learning – animated documentary series made with BBC Learning based on interviews with World War Two Holocaust Survivors from Leeds Holocaust Survivors Friendship Association.

Zane Whittingham has been an animator for 26 years working across film, TV and computer games. He is currently Fettle Animation’s animation director.

And last but not least, Shaun the Sheep: The Movie, by Mark Burton and Richard Starzak, produced by Aardman Animations for Studio Canal – British stop-motion animated film based on the Shaun the Sheep television series by Nick Park. The film follows Shaun and his flock into the big city to rescue their farmer, who found himself amnesiac there as a result of their mischief.

Richard Starzak joined Aardman Animations in 1983 as the company’s first employee. During his first nine-years at Aardman, he worked on several short films and promos including Morph, Sledgehammer, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse in New York, his own film Ident (1989), which introduced the character Rex, and two Rex the Runt pilot films. He then went on to pursue a freelance career before returning to Aardman Animations as creative director of the Broadcast and Development department.

The second member of the Shaun the Sheep duo, Mark Burton, is a screenwriter specialising in comedy, mostly known for his work on Madagascar, Chicken Run and The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

For 20 years, the British Animation Awards have celebrated and rewarded the very best of the UK animation scene, from both new and established animators. This year’s ceremony will take place tonight at the BFI Southbank – good luck to all the nominees!

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