It was great to spend a couple of days at Manchester Animation Festival last month. I was down there for the screening of our short film, Nothing to Declare but also caught up with friends and saw some beautiful animation and excellent talks. Nothing to Declare was screening in the shots program and I’m proud to say that it was part of a really strong line up. I particularly liked Evan DeRushie’s witty Birdlime and had to wipe away tears after seeing Michael Cusack’s incredibly poignant After All. The student films were also outstanding. Garden Party, by a team from MoPA, is technically astounding with production values that any professional studio would be incredibly proud of. Florian Maubach took a much more lo-fi approach with his Cops and Robbers, but absolutely captured what it is like to be straddling the line between childhood and teens. Between the animation screenings there were some great speakers. I was brought up short during the Brexit panel when Jellyfish Pictures’ Phil Dobree quoted the number of non-brits currently working in animation in the UK (50% of animators and 85% of creature TDs if memory serves me). There was talk of more outsourcing and of opening European outposts but it’s hard to see how these things will fill such a big hole. At the moment British universities are not spitting out enough production-ready graduates so will we see a cull of UK animation studios as work follows talent abroad after Brexit? On a much more positive note it was lovely to get lost in the interactive worlds presented by Nexus’ Clair Spencer Cook. After the success of Nothing to Declare we are looking to develop our next IP as a VR project so I was taking copious notes as Claire described how they’d planned the storyline to Rain or Shine in both time and 360° space, and used ingenious sound design to direct the viewer to the action. Manchester itself was fantastic, it’s a city with a real buzz and incredibly friendly people – I’ll definitely be back next year.

Lucy T – Producer @ Interference Pattern