Tuesday, December 20, 2011

California Hero

It’s official – a group of children from Hull are heros in California! “The Lion at Home”, made by pupils at Bricknell Priamry School in Hull in partnership with the National Media Museum and the Ferens Art Gallery just keeps roaring on! It recieved an honorable award in the Student Animation category for the 2011 MY HERO International Film Festival. What makes this award truly astounding is it won in the Student Animation Category, beating postgraduate entries!!

David Kelly, Associate Media Director at The MY HERO Projects said, he was "utterly charmed" by the films energy and humor.
"It tells a lovely story with such zest and aplomb that I was surprised to find out that the filmmakers were a team of Year 4 students, learning animation from David Bunting. We at MY HERO were ready to program the film on its own merits, but knowing that it was inspired by the imagination of such young artists made that decision particularly rewarding."
You can veiw the film along with the other winning films on the website's new 2011 MY HERO Film Festival Winner's page

Monday, December 05, 2011

Creativity in the Classroom workshops for 2012

I'm really pleased to announce an exciting series of training courses I'm running with Kudlian Software, makers of I Can Animate, around the country next year, when I'll be taking my popular teacher training day on the road. In this hand hands on learning day, teachers be trained through the whole process of animation filmmaking, from concept to animation and post production, creating a short piece of animation to take back to school. Dates so far are 24th January in Bradford, a special iPad day on 22nd Feburary in Linconshire, 28th February Hull and 2nd March in Leeds.
To register visit
or for more information call 01926 842544 or email


Friday, November 18, 2011

Q&A at the BFI

Fresh from success at BAF, "I wish I went to Ecuador" is screening at London's BFI as part of We the Peoples Film Festival! The film has become a favourite on Your World View and I've been invited to travel down to London for a Q&A. The film is really making waves - today Victoria meets Lord Prescott to talk about One Hull of a Rainforest and I'm looking forward to sharing the outcome of the meeting to the BFI audience. The film, which was made for the big screen is screening in full HD cinema resolution and 5.1 surround so check it out at the BFI if you can make it.

BAF Best Film by Young Animators

Hot off the heals of the award success at Kids for Kids UK, "I wish I went to Ecuador" (Bricknell Primary School) was awarded the coveted BAF award for Best Film by Young Animators on Saturday. BAF received more entries this year than ever before for this award and the competition from around the world made this award truly special.

The jury of distinguished animators Barry Purvis, Linda McCarthy and Irina Margolina said:
We were so impressed by the epic cinematic quality of this film, not only with its glorious colours, but with its inventive technique. On top of this was a very powerful and moving message presented with such charm and infectious energy.
Kudlian Software supported the award and generously presented Victoria from Bricknell School with copies of I Can Animate 2, Pro Animate and a HD webcam. It's the perfect gift as Kudlian supported production of the film and customised Pro Animate, achieving a technical milestone - the first film made by children to be filmed in HD CinemaScope and mastered in DCP.
From left: Festival director Deb Singleton, myself, Victoria Jones, Kudlian Software MD James Betts

The awards on 12th November coincided with the groundbreaking BBC documentary project, Britain in a Day and we filmed the whole day from Victoria's perspective. The rushes are available for viewing along with thousands of others on YouTube.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Jury at Leeds International Film Festival

I am really honoured to have been invited on the Jury at this years Leeds International Film Festival. 5 full days of films coming up! I’m too thirds through judging the international animation competition and boy are there some extraordinary film in the category. I feel inspired and privileged just to have seen them. For those in the area, it's an amazing festival - well worth checking out.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Tenacity and Talent

I've been invited by Animated Yorkshire to join this industry panel of animators the Bradford Animation Festival, showing short clips of recent work and sharing experiences of the highs and lows of the animation business. Joining me will be Tim Searle (Baby Cow Animation), Rob Millington (The Neighbourhood), Linda McCarthy (Tiny Elephants), Mole Hill (Animator/Director/Designer) and Matt Howarth (Puppetman Productions). I feel quite intimidated just reading the list! Take a look at the Animated Yorkshire website for more information about the panel members. Friday 11th November, 12-2.30pm. You can book tickets here.

New film debuts at arts festival

Good write up about the premiere of Betty and Dorothy in todays Ripon Gazette

Grand Prize for I wish I went to Ecuador

“I wish I went to Ecuador”, Bricknell Primary School's conservation film mentored by myself, was awarded the Grand Prize for Outstanding Film - twice! - at the Kids for Kids UK Film Festival this weekend in the 6-12 category, by both the professional and youth jury. Kids for Kids UK is set-up to help promote young film and media makers throughout the UK. KFK UK is the national partner of the international Kids for Kids Film Festival Movement which comes under the umbrella of CIFEJ (International Centre of Film for Children and Young Adults). The next nomination will be at the Bradford Animation Festival on Saturday 12 November! Congratuations to everyone. The film is inspired by one primary teacher's life changing visit to the Andes, the Cloud Forest and the Rain Forest. You can see the film online on Your World View.

Making The Astronomers Sun

If you are interested in knowing more about the production of "The Astronomers Sun", then this vodcast should be of interest. Writer/Directors Simon Cartright and Jessica Cope discuss the making of the film with me. It sounds like we recoreded it in a toilet, but it's worth a listen.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

California hero

Maybe it's a reference to the heroic children who made it, it's heroic success, or simply because the hero is the price of heroic icons, a lion, but The Lion At Home" is a finalist in the 2011 MY HERO International Film Festival. They celebrate stories of heroism via their festival, multi-media events, and through our parent organization The MY HERO Project, a media-arts non-profit based in Laguna Beach, CA! You can watch it now on the Kids for Kids new film website. Bowing October 21st, KIDS FIRST!’s top rated shorts for children will be available for viewing at http://shorts.kidsfirstmedia.com. The portfolio of indie shorts includes animation, live action, student and independent shorts and features the KIDS FIRST! Best of Fest Winners.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Betty and Dorothy premieres at Masham Arts Festival Tuesday 25 Oct

I'm looking forward to the red carpet photo call for young and old stars of Masham animated film World Premiere, which sheds light on a true WW2 romance - 25th October, 7.30pm at Masham Town Hall.Commissioned by Masham Arts Festival, ittells the uplifting story of two of Mashams oldest surviving residents.
Betty and Dorothy is animated by pupils at Kell Bank C.E. Primary School in Healy, North Yorkshire where I've spent the last few weeks working with the pupils. Back in 2009 i worked with Kell Bank to make the critically acclaimed “Leeds Pals” which commemorates the 750 people who died from the Leeds regiment on July 1st, 1916. The film won nominations and awards worldwide, from Hollywood to Bollywood and it's been a joy to be back at this very special school.

In the new film, “Betty and Dorothy”, Betty Thorbutt and Dorothy Kibbat reveal an extraordinary period of change in country life, through war and peace, and a friendship that remained constant through it all. At 9 minutes it's been the longest film I've every created with a school, though it's apt for this story which spans a lifetime. It reveals an astonishing period of change in British country life through war and peace and a friendship that remained constant through it all. brings to life an incredible World War 2 romance between a teenage farmer’s daughter and a German Prisoner of War, Willi Kibbat, shedding rare insight on an important part of British history.

Dorothy’s daughter, Christel, who accompanied her mother to a private screening of an early version of the film at Kell Bank School on Tuesday said, “It was a very special experience to meet the wonderful children and teachers of Kell Bank School and see the stories and paintings of our farm and village life made into a film. They told so well of our friendships across the years and how even our enemies can become friends if we all work together, as the POW’s did on our farms after the war. I’m very glad that Willi’s unique story is remembered in this way.”
Evoking the watercolour artwork of Nidderdale, the film was lovingly handcrafted with local artist Simon Palmer, winner of the Royal Academy Turner Watercolour Award and Masham based artist Ian Scott Massie teaching the pupils how to paint with watercolour. Dave Aston from the Digital Audio Company, who is known for Sound Design on ITV classic dramas ‘A Touch of Frost’and ‘Wire in the Blood’and Channel 4’s multi-award winning “The Astronomers Sun”, worked with children in Hull to bring to life the sounds of countryside and the drama of World War 2 in Digital stereo.

Dorothy, who celebrated her 82nd birthday this year, will be joining the young animators and the crew on the red carpet for the premiere and a Q&A. We will also be screening Leeds Pals and "The Astronomers Sun". 25th October, 7.30pm at Masham Town Hall.

Monday, 24 October 2011BEST ANIMATION at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival

A huge thank you to the audience and jury at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, USA who presented "The Astronomers Sun" with it's 16th award for BEST ANIMATION last weekend. This is the 3rd award in a row from New Mexico and it's humbling to see the NM audience take the film to their hearts.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Kudlian Animation teacher training at Robin Hood Primary

Yesterday, after months of talking about it, we finally piloted a CPD animation teacher training class with Kudlian Software at Robin Hood Primary School in Leeds with teacher Allison Darroch. The one day training course mixed professional insight and analysis of award winning films made by children combined with hands on animation experience. The origins for the course came from one of my most popular training courses at the National Media Museum. After DCMS funding for Anim8ed ended earlier this year, I asked Kudlian Software if they would consider supporting the training day. After all, I Can Animate is my number one choice when working with schools. Kudlian's commitment to education and training has made for a wonderful collaboration and together with Robin Hood Primary School we put together a day for teachers across Yorkshire. It was terrific to work with Allison and Sophie from Robin Hood and see how they are using animation in their school. And a pleasure to work with a wonderful group of teachers keen to discover new ways to use animation within their lessons.
Our group split into three teams to make a film in under 90 minutes. Ssupervised by Allison, Sohie and myself each team used a different technique - model, cut-out and drawn, capturing the animation on I Can Animate 2 with Agent v5 web cams. As well as animating, the groups experimented with the new audio tools in I Can Animate to record a multi track soundtrack before assembling the groups scenes together in Windows Movie Maker. The success of the day means the course should now be rolled out in the near future. Watch this space!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

The Astronomers Sun screens in MASTERS OF PUPPETS, Romania

We are honored to be screening The Astronomers Sun in the MASTERS OF PUPPETS retrospective of the 6thANIMEST international animation film festival, which will take place in October 7th to 16th 2011 in Bucharest, Romania. It will also be screened on the Creepy animation night of this year edition of the festival.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I wish I went to Ecuador lauches in festivals this Autumn

Well blimey, it's been busy! So many things to talk about, but none more exciting than the growing momentum of Bricknell Primary School's conservation animated documentary for One Hull of Rainforest, "I wish I went to Ecuador".. This is the forth film I've been involved with at Bricknell Primary, and it's always an incredible environment to work in. When Bricknell createanimation, they really mean business and they realise the huge learning outcomes  animation achieves with their learners. The teachers at Bricknell are skilled in animation now, and so this time, I and they wanted me to push animation to a new level at the school. So we worked with all the pupils at the school, over 600 pupils to make a film so huge it only feels big enough on a cinema screen!.

This week’s exciting news is it has been selected for viewing online on Your World View.
YourWorldView connects the Voices, shares the Views, and showcases the Visions of students and young people globally through film and discussion. Films featured on the site create an interactive environment to explore and discuss issues of international interest. YourWorldView supports users to engage directly with new and emerging filmmakers around the world.

While the film has been designed for the big cinema screen and surround sound, it's still worth a view online. And it would be great to hear everyone reactions on the comment and voting page. Already, we have had some incredible feedback from people. John Lemmon, American director in Charlotte, USA sent me a personal email to congratulate the children:

“I think it's very well done. The children and teacher voices are quite charming and the animation is inventive. I love all the moving camera shots and the detailed sets. The film is a strong call to environmental action.”
I'm pleased to announce festivals where you can see the film in it's big screen glory.

First up is the 3rd Kids for Kids UK Film Festival, Saturday 29th October at the Empire Cinema in Consett where it's nominated in the 6-12 years screening in the Animation Category.

The film is also nominated at the Bradford Animation Festival in the Films for Young Animators Category – which Bricknell won in 2008 with Up Up and Away. Screening at 12pm Thursday 9th November the National Media Museum in Bradford.

Outside the UK, the film receives its South Asia premiere at the Chinh India Kids Film Festival in New Delhi, India on November 9-15, 2011, where it's nominated in the Kids for Kids category.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Goole Premiere for Goole Straight 8

The Goole premiere of our Goole Straught 8 films. Terrific to see so many people turn out for one heck of a celebration.

 Sam Burrows, Hannah Griffin and Harvey Griffin
Director, Hannah Turner
 Producer David Bunting and Supervising Director Madeliene Thorne
 David Bunting, crew supervisor Adam Kirk and Madeliene Thorne
"Going Up" stars, Francesca Jackson and Mathew Oldreive

Friday, August 05, 2011

The Astronomers Sun East Asia Premiere

The Astronomers Sun is playing in competition at the Kavalan International Short Film Festival 2011 in Taiwan.

London Straight 8 premiere

It was a one amazing premiere in London. Young directors Hannah Turner and Harvey Griffin joined Nicola Dixon and myself for the Straight 8 premiere at Rushes Soho Shorts Film Festival. The mix and quality of films was breathtaking. Ahead of todays Goole premire, here's some pictures for the big day!
Hannah and Harvey waiting to see their films for the first time with an audience!
 Nicola Dixon, who's bold vision inspired all of our journeys.
 The technical challenge of producing any straight 8 film is immense. One brainy filmmaker wowed us all with his 3D super 8 film technique.
 Harvey's Dad, Harvey, David, Hannah and Hannah's mum.
The walk of fame. The Straight 8 directors on stage at the ICA.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Driving Inspiration celebration

Really looking forward to tomorrow's Driving Inspiration celebration in Aylesbury.
I've been working on a really partnership over the last few months with extraordinary company Sign Dance Theatre International and Buckingham Primary School on Buckinghamshire's main Cultural Olympiad project. Working with five schools, Driving Inspiration partners disabled artists with paralympians, to share their inspiring success stories.

It all began last year with paralympian James Morgan sharing his inspiring story with pupils at Buckingham Primary School. (Somehow I seem to have been too in awe I forgot to take a picture of that one). I then told the pupils about my battle with dyslexia... something I never thought that ever give me the chance to work with such a remarkable company as Sign Dance Collective on a multi media piece combining theatre and animation. The results of all of this are celebrated tomorrow in a live performance. Fingers crossed the technical rehearsals go well tomorrow when we finally see the animation, made by year 6 pupils, come together fully with the dance in its final form.  The permance is being filmed to create a cinematic experience we can share beyond the live performance. 

Working with five schools, Driving Inspiration partners disabled artists with paralympians, to share their inspiring success. Driving Inspiration is a project led by Creative Bucks a partnership between the District and County councils of Buckinghamshire. This project has been funded by Art Council England, and the South East's Legacy Trust project, Accentuate, to encourage young people to explore the inspiration behind the achievements of Paralympics Athletes.

We did it! Goole Straight 8 films in London premiere!

Great news from Straight8 that we have got 2 films in the London Screenings!! Woo hoo!!

Roll out the red carpet!!

And the films are . . .
Going Up - Director Harvey Griffin

Man From the Moon - Director Hannah Turner

Comisserations to the Remember to Smile team - we will be screening your film in Goole (more details on that soon)  The London Screenings will take place on 25 +26 July at the Rushes Soho Shorts film festival at ICA, The Mall, London! Hannah and Harvey will be attending to represent each film.

Straight 8, has become one of Rushes Soho Shorts’ most popular events, puts filmmakers into the unique position of seeing their own rushes at exactly the same time as the audience.

The brief is to shoot a film on one three-minute cartridge of super 8mm cine film. No editing is allowed, and the cartridge containing the film must be handed over exposed but undeveloped, along with a separate original soundtrack. Because there is no creative brief the resulting selection of films is always wildly diverse and the quality of the best films is astounding.

Straight8 Festival organiser Will Cummock said

‘Straight 8 is a tough challenge for any filmmaker, so it's fantastic to see young people taking it on so successfully. 2011 has been one of our most competitive years to date so the standard of selected films is particularly high.’

More info on the other films on the Straight8 website http://www.straight8.net/
Have a sneaky peak at the ICA http://www.ica.org.uk/
Goole Straight8 was made possible by a grant from Screen Yorkshire and UK film Council through the Regional Investment Fund for England. Jay Arnold, Head of Cultural Sector Development at Screen Yorkshire says '

Screen Yorkshire is delighted to congratulate Hannah and Harvey on their success and very proud to have been able to support Goole Straight8. To get through to this stage in an international filmmaking competition is a fantastic achievement and testament to the team at Junction who work incredibly hard to ensure that young people in Goole have access to such life shaping opportunities.'
Nicola Dixon Youth and Community Arts Co-ordinator at Junction said ‘We are immensely proud of what these young people have achieved; they really put so much hard work into the planning and creativity in these films.  I’m so pleased that they have been chosen to premiere in London, a great opportunity for 2 teenagers from Goole to showcase the fantastic talents the youth of Goole has to offer.’ 

Speaking personally, I’m so pleased for the young people, this is a hard film competition – there is no young people’s category, no special favours because they are young people – their films have been chosen on merit alone.  Well done to all involved’ !!

Friday, July 01, 2011

Premiere buzz

Tickets are selling well for tomorrow. Close Up Film have written a great news story about tomorrow's premiere. Molly and Jayden, stars of Bricknell Primary Schools "I wish I went to Ecuador" will be on BBC Radio Humberside tomorrow morning before traveling to the premiere at the National Media Museum in Bradford. It all started 3 months ago when we took a group to see "This is Cinerama", which the film plays alongside tomorrow. You can see a cool making of film made by the school here.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Carbon Cycle Caper travels Down Under with SCINEMA

Carbon Cycle Caper has been selected for inclusion in the travelling festival program, and in Official Competition for SCINEMA 2011. The travelling program will see it play at around 400 venues across Australia, from high profile venues like Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum, to the obscure, like Dripstone High School in the remote Indigenous community of Tiwi Island!

“Carbon Cycle Caper”,  an innovative animated film promoting an education game for pupils, luanced on the Science Museum website in April. I directed the film at Sunderland University, with a team of student animators. Sound by the Digital Audio Company. Editing and compositing by Digital Keyframe.

Part of the Science Museums new set of resource exploring climate science, “Carbon Cycle Caper”, enables students to understand the carbon cycle, how it has been affected by our use of fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution and how this underlies current worries about climate change.

Conceived as a way to forge new links between the sciences and the arts, SCINEMA has explored ways to enhance communication to raise public and stakeholder excitement and trust in science through the medium of film, while also celebrating the scientific advances in film technology itself.

News coverage for "I wish I went to Ecuador"

"I wish I went to Ecuador" was filmed using DLSR cameras with Pro Animate software and we are indebted to Kudlian Software for sponsoring the film and being so accommodating to production needs. There is a good article about the upcoming premiere on their website.
Pete Haslam (above) will be broadcasting news about the premiere on his radio news programme on WHCR, 106.9FM in Hull tomorrow at 12pm. He came to visit us on the set last month and interviewed some of the pupils.  He'll be visiting Bricknell Priamry School again next week to speak to the pupils about the premiere.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Animated conservation film made by Hull children is set to make history during its world premiere on Europe’s only Cinerama screen this Saturday

Really really excitied about the premiere of new film made by children from Bricknell Primary School this Saturday. I wish I went to Ecuador” tells the true story of a life changing expedition by a primary school teacher, Mrs Jones, to the Andes, the Cloud Forest and the Rain Forest. Her story enthralled her pupils so much, they decided to make an animated film to help create awareness of rainforest conservation around the world.
 Filmed in Cinemascope, over 600 children worked on the film in with me, editor Adam Kirk and Sound designer Dave Aston. It is believed to be the first film made by children to be presented in the new industry standard high definition Digital Cinema Format and surround sound. Audiences in and around Bradford can see the incredible result when it premieres on Europe’s only Cinerama screen, Pictureville Cinema at the National Media Museum on Saturday 2nd July at 12.30pm. The film plays alongside “This is Cinerama”, the first 3-strip film ever made. In showing their support to One Hull of a Rainforest, the museum is granting free entry to children to see the film.

One Hull of a Rainforest is a project started by a group of primary school teachers, including Victoria Toothill Jones, with the vision of inspiring the children of Hull through a sustainable curriculum and direct action. The project aims to raise approximately £250,000 to enable One Hull of a Rainforest to purchase and protect 100 hectares of land which lie adjacent to the Maquipucuna reserve.
Tickets for the film premiere can be purchased from the National Media Museum box office. Under 18s are free!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lion at Home roars in at Kids First!

Wow, well good things keep happening with “The Lion at Home” - scooped 2nd place for BEST STUDENT PRODUCTION, ELEMENTARY at the Kids First Best Awards 2010! The World's Largest Film Festival for Kids!
Lauren Longworth, Jury Manager at Kids First, said “This designation is quite an honour and, with it we hope to express our appreciation for the outstanding work you do on behalf of children.”

The Lion at Home was made by an incredible year 4 class and thier equally incredible teachers at Bricknell Primary School in Hull in collaboration with the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull as part of the National Media Museums anim8ed programme, under my mentoring. 

It won the Chec television award for the Best animated Film made by Children at AniFest 2010, ‘Best Child-Made Animation’ award at the first Silver Salt Animation Festival 2010 in India and third prize at the National Young Filmmaker’s Award, Leeds Young People’s Film Festival

Now in its eleventh year, the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival is a showcase for children's films, TV shows and DVDs from major studios and independent filmmakers. The festival partners with more than 150 venues worldwide who host more than 10,000 screenings of KIDS FIRST! films year-round to an audience of more than one million.

A full list of winners can be found here.

I'm currently working again more with Bricknell Primary School on a new film that's every bit as exciting - I'll start blogging about it very soon!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Carbon Cycle Caper

The animated film, "Carbon Cycle Caper", which I produced, storyboarded and directed for the Science Museum, has launched on the Science Museum website! The animation supports a teacher’s pack that enables schools to play the game.

I had a ball working on this film, which is designed to have the look and feel a homemade cartoon. There were two exciting sides to Carbon Cycle Caper. First was the innovative concept - creating a short animated film to promote a major new schools activity for the Science Museum that would visually explain to teachers how to run the game in schools nationwide. The second was the way we set up a production team to create a film to the high production quality needed on a tight production schedule, within a relatively small budget.
As I was working part time as a tutor for Sunderland University, it seemed to me that forming a team mixing a professional crew and students could be a possible great solution to this, providing real world production experience for a group of our star students and also giving us access to equipment and studio space at the University.

Student animator, Frazer Barrington working on Kate Youngs beautiful set.

Combining teams of seasoned professionals and new talent is something I have seen work extremely well in the past, not least as co-producer on 4mations Digital short film “The Astronomers Sun”. For “Carbon Cycle Caper” I was able to reunite some of our professional crew with a handpicked group of student animators. This included lighting cameraman, Alistair McKenzie, editor Adam Kirk and Sound Designer Dave Aston from the Digital Audio Company. In addition to this we employed a wonderfully talented young artist, Kate Young, a recent graduate at the University of Sunderland to take first bat on the films art direction and design and build the set.

The animation team at Sunderland Univeristy team with some of the cast characters- From left to right
Robert Lawson, Bianca Pollio, Dominic Shaw, Aaron Warters, Frazer Barrington

Animation studnet Dominic Shaw was my props character man - and boy what a job he had! His deask became which became an asortmant of frankenstein collections, wtih canibalised miniture plastic body parts of the 50+ chidrlens models we needed to create. Dom was responisible for all of these and the many impossible challenges I gave him during production. 

A lot of the charm and style of the film, came from having no movement at all in the characters. When we did need body movement, such as picking up the 'atoms', Dom created replaceable characters for each movement.

Below - a still from the film of the energentic split screen game.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Independent

Interesting article about animation careers in the postgraduate section of the independent by Russ Thorne which I contributed some musings for. You can read it online here.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Anim8ed & St Aidans win Hollywood film award!

I'm thrilled to announce that pupils from St Aidans CE High School in Harrogate are celebrating after their animated film, “Hungry for Health” won Best Youth Fest Animation in Hollywood, California, at the 16th edition of the annual International Family Film Festival!

This is even more special for me as I am a former pupil of St Aidans, so having the chance to work at my former high school was a really special experience. There is a chance to see a special TV report on the films success on BBC Look North next Friday at 6.30pm.

The 2011 IFFF awards celebration was held in the Chaplin Theatre at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood. The IFFF’s comprehensive program of screenings, panels and special events ran from March 16 through March 20 on the Raleigh lot. With over 23 countries represented in the films officially selected this year, the IFFF truly added emphasis on its “International” status.
The St Aidans pupils made Hungry for Health, an animated campaign film promoting healthy lifestyle choices for young people. The film was made as part of the National Media Museum’s DCMS Strategic Commissioning funded Anim8ed project in collaboration with the British Library’s "Campaign! Make an Impact" initiative using public service campaigns from history to inspire young people into creating their own contemporary versions.
There is a chance to see it play closer to home, at the National Young Filmmakers' Awards, taking place on Monday 4th April as part of Leeds Young People's Film Festival.

It also plays in competition at the VAFI - International Children and Youth Animation Film Festival VaraĹždin, 29th April - 1st May 2011, partner of the Los Angeles International Children's Film Festival.

Hungry for Health also won critical acclaim last November, winning the BAF 2010 Films by Young Animators Award at the National Media Museum.

Dennis Richards OBE, Headteacher, said: “It has been an inspiration to discover an art form which hitherto we knew nothing about, which has made such an impact on so many children and the school as a whole.”

Deb Singleton, director of Bradford Animation Festival said: “This year we had a fantastic response to our call for entries for the Films by Young Animators category, both in terms of number of films submitted and the quality of the films. We awarded Hungry for Health the top prize in recognition of the filmmakers’ ambition and success in creating an engaging, funny and pacy film with a clear message. We particularly admired the creation of films within films, each of which had a distinct style, as part of the overall story.”

St Aidan’s art teacher Jane Smithson, said, 'It was a tremendous experience for our young people. They were utterly engaged with the research, writing and artwork. Some comments from the young people were "Best time of my school life", "It really improved my confidence in my ability in art". As a teacher I found it built their confidence and made me think about how I deliver my lessons, as the risk taking is what they really enjoyed'.

Simon Lee, student animator, said: “It was an amazing experience being in such a creative atmosphere led by David Bunting. I never would have thought at the start that we would finish with anything reasonable, let alone an award!”

This is the second BAF win for an Anim8ed project. The scheme has produced animations that have won awards all around the world. Anim8ed was set up in 2004 to enable young people to engage with various museum collections through animation.
IFFF is a non-profit educational and cultural organization in Los Angeles County, California.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Filmming Remember to Smile

Well yesterday we filmed our final Straight 8 entry, "Remember to Smile", Written by Laura Arnott and directed by Laura Arnott and Katy Burns. Film and Theatre director Darren Bolton supervised the shoot, along with crew supervisor Adam Kirk with myself producing. Sophie Backhouse played our lead role, and with the range of emotions she sensitively portrayed it was hard to remember that this was her first acting role.Maisy-Rae Millward and Evie Peta Backhouse played the central character at different ages of her life with other performances from Tiger Watkins-Bailey, Maidie Deighton and Jessica Barker, with our Executive Producer and Youth and Community Arts coordinator, Nicola Dixon taking a guest role.

The films now go to the Straight 8 competition organisers for developing and judging, so the first time we will get to see the film is at the premiere on July 9th!
Here's a few photos from the shoot:

 Samuel Burrows on camera. Behind him, crew supervisor, Adam Kirk offers guidance during one of the tricky handheld shots in the film.

80s children. Maidie Deighton and Tiger Watkins-Bailey dressed in 80s gear by wardrobe supervisor Emma Renhard and assistant Kimberley Scott.

Directing supervisor Dannen Bolton discussing a scene with Laura and Katy.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Filming Going Up

Behind the scenes stills from our second film, "Going Up", written by Harvey Griffin and Sam Pratt, Directed by Harvey Griffin. Filming these in one day is not easy and our young crew did themselves, and us, proud working in demanding circumstances on a very long day. Especially for our two lead actors, Mathew Oldreive and Francesca Jackson, who heroically contented with the smells of festering cream and a crammed crew in a lift.... for five hours... it was quite an achievement! Of course we had a lot of fun in the process too. Here's a snapshot. We'll post fresh pictures with words from the director soon.
From lef to right: Francesca Jackson, Mathew Oldreive, Shaun Schwegler (with reflector) and director, Harvey Griffin.
Harvey Griffin cheking a shot, with camera opperator Sam Burrows with Directing Supervisor, Madeliene Frost.

Crew supervisor, Adam Kirk checks a shot.

Trapped in the lift - Madeliene Frost talks through a scene (seperated by a wall of glass!) with Mathew and Francesca.
All in a days work!
Mathew Oldreive and Francesca Jackson in the lift.