Wow, what a weekend!
With visits from animation legends, award-winning film screenings and sold out events, the first ever animation strand of the Cardiff Independent Film Festival was a resounding smash hit. The fantastic lineup of masterclasses and screenings organised by Cardiff Animation Nights saw the Chapter Arts Centre jam-packed with animation lovers from around the world, and the Cloth Cat team was out in force to enjoy every last minute of it.
Friday 22nd April 2016
The animation masterclass series was kicked off by the fabulous Joanna Quinn, who treated us to behind-the-scenes stories about her experiences in the animation industry, as well as insights into the creative process behind her distinctive hand-drawn films. Interspersed throughout were screenings of her award-winning work, including Dreams and Desires, Britannia, Famous Fred and the Charmin Bear television commercials. The evening was rounded off with a TVPaint live-drawing session, plus a chance to get up close and personal with the original hand painted cels and pencil drawings from Joanna’s films – a real treat!
Saturday 23rd April 2016
Animation legend Peter Lord was next up on the festival programme, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the award-winning studio, Aardman. His masterclass was filled with a selection of screenings spanning the whole timeline of the Bristol-based studio, from the very first animation of the eponymous Aardman and the early origins of Creature Comforts, to the stop motion genius of Wallace and Gromit and new CG shorts such as Ray’s Big Idea. It was an amazing way to see and hear about the evolution of the studio, and we particularly enjoyed Peter’s on-stage modelling of Morph as he talked!
Then it was onto the Animation Competition showcase: a screening of films nominated for the first ever Best Animation Award at the Cardiff Independent Film Festival. With the first half of the selection showcased on Friday, this was a great way to appreciate the nominated shorts on the big screen – a truly diverse range of amazing films from all over the world. Huge shout-out to Cloth Cat artists Tom and Alice, whose films were both shortlisted for the Best Animation Award! The winner of the prize, Conor Whelan with his film Snowfall, was announced at the CIFF ceremony on Sunday evening, along with an Animation Jury Special Mention for MANOMAN by Simon Cartwright.
Sunday 24th April 2016
The final animation masterclass of the weekend welcomed the creator of The Amazing World of Gumball, Ben Bocquelet, for a hilarious insight into all things Gumball. Ben had the audience in stitches with his stories about his early pitch rejections and how his own family inspired the characters in Gumball. His in-depth breakdown of the evolution of a Gumball episode, from idea to story to final polished animation, was fascinating. We were also treated to a screening of a never-before-seen anime inspired episode of Gumball called The Fury – definitely one to watch out for soon!Big props to Ben for also staying to sign so many autographs for the Gumball fans before he had to (quite literally) dash for his train – what a guy!
Next up was another event we were particularly excited about: Cloth Cat Animation presents Animated Family Shorts. We were very proud to present a selection of international family-friendly animated films, curated by Cloth Cat’s Head of Development Adam Bailey. Great to see plenty of little ones (and big ones) enjoying the films – in fact, it sold out!
Concluding our jam-packed weekend was Animation Panorama, a screening of award-winning short animations as chosen by Cardiff Animation Nights, which delivered another eclectic mix of styles and stories.
After such an incredible festival lineup, we’ve come out the other side feeling invigorated and inspired. It’s always great seeing so many animation lovers in one place, and there’s already a lot of enthusiasm for what the next festival will bring. Huge thanks to Cardiff Animation Nights and Cardiff Independent Film Festival – see you next year!
25 April 2016