The Manchester Animation Festival Announces It’s First Digital Programme

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The UK’s largest animation festival, The Manchester Animation Festival (MAF), revealed its programme for 2020 today.  Returning in its 6th year as a digital event, the festival will offer audiences an opportunity to access the world’s greatest animated content from the comfort of their homes.

Just like many other film festivals, due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, the 2020 edition will, for the first time, be hosted online, allowing worldwide viewing of this dynamic digital festival.

The programme comprises stunning short films, fantastic features, exclusive previews, mesmerising masterclasses and eclectic events to celebrate what the world of animation can offer. Live Q&As, panels and screen talks will present experts and acclaimed animators who will share behind the scenes insight into their iconic work and characters.

Headline events in the announcement include an exclusive work-in-progress look at the forthcoming stop-motion animation film The Inventor that stars Stephen Fry and Daisy Ridley, with a Q&A from writer and director Jim Capobianco, the Academy Award nominated writer of Pixar hit Ratatouille. A family day will also introduce audiences to animated features and short films from around the world and a sculpt-along with Jim Parkyn, sculptor from Aardman Animations.

Every year, the Manchester Animation Festival presents its prestigious Fellowship Award, celebrating the outstanding achievements of animators within the industry. Organisers today reveal that Alison Snowden and David Fine of Snowden Fine Animation (Bob’s Birthday) are the 2020 recipients. In celebration, events in the programme will take a look at their work and screen a retrospective of their film and TV career, with a live Q&A with the Oscar winning couple.

The Animated Short Film Screening competition, which includes categories of Short Film, Student Film and Commissioned Film screenings, will remain central to the festival with winners announced on 27th November.

The UK’s animation industry is world renowned for its quality of talent and originality of productions. The industry has remained resilient throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly as most animation can be accomplished remotely, making animation an incredibly impressive and important sector to the UK’s film and television industry.

New for MAF 2020 is the Industry Day  which takes place on Thursday 19th November. The day will include a range of live events for animation professionals to gain valuable insight into the Industry. Linking with the Industry Day, the MAF Marketplace with companies and animation studios to showcase their work and meet the festival delegates.

Festival Director Steve Henderson said: “We’re delighted to welcome the animation community back to MAF for another year of animated activity all from the comfort of their own homes from the 15-30 November. Everything you know and love from the Festival has gone digital from stunning short films to mesmerising masterclasses, feature films and we’ve also expanded our programme this year to showcase more industry events, a digital marketplace and social events. Going online gives us the perfect opportunity to make MAF accessible to lots more people and welcome them all to the Festival. It’s with thanks to the valued and continued support of our partners and sponsors that after a heck of a year, we’ve got a programme that everyone can enjoy and we look forward to welcoming friends old and new to MAF 2020.”

Chair of MAF board, Tom Box, MD of Blue Zoo Productions, said: “I’ve had the pleasure of attending MAF every year since its inception, witnessing it grow to become the UK’s biggest animation festival in just a few short years. The passion and drive that led to that growth has been cranked up and transferred to the online edition this year – sharing the love of animation with even more people around the world.”

The Manchester Animation Festival runs 15th-30th November and is now on sale at