Saturday, November 22, 2014

Animation SOS

Animation SOS. I'm just back with a heavy heart from the 21st Bradford Animation Festival hosted by the one of the greats Barry Jonathan Crabtree Purves An special time in the year when friends and colleges from around the world come together to celebrate, network, rejuvenate and inspire themselves. But celebrations turned to disbelief when news broke of the cruel axing of one of our industries biggest champions, festival director Deb Singleton, along with her team. Apparently this is what the National Media Museum mean as "an opportunity to pause" as they consider the fate of BAF as part of a "thorough review of their film festival strategy" which has already cost the postponement of the Bradford Film Festival. As part of this review the museum state they are consulting with their audiences. So animation fans and animation people everywhere, let's help them by saying very loudly and very clearly that BAF is part of the lifeblood of the industry, vital for it's future, vital in showcasing one of this country's most successful industries, vital for the animators of tomorrow, vital for the wider economy of the region, vital for the National Media Museum to continue to be able to declare itself the "best media museum in the world" and vital for Bradford to continue to claim it's status as the UNESCO City of Film.

I fully appreciate that the Science Museum is in a torrid situation in having to find still more savings due to deepening government cuts. But how does it help government strategy to be helping our industry with one hand in giving much needed tax breaks to put us on an even playing field, while taking money away in another. BAF, and Animated Exeter, which we also lost this year, do not take money out of the economy. They generate money. Sacking the people who have built this festival into the UKs biggest and longest running animation festival seems a very odd way to "establish the profile and reputation of the Museums Film offer." It's taken 21 years to build this festival into the UKs biggest and longest running animation festival. I personally owe a great deal to BAF in furthering my career as do many others. Let's please not destroy in one year what has taken all these years to build. And let's urgently reconsider the false economy of loosing one of this counties greatest champions. It's time to be All Animated about this one.
Happier times. Collecting my first BAF with Jessica Wolf for Bricknell Primary School's film Up Up and Away, which marked a new chapter in educational work.