CIFF 2016 Animation Masterclasses

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Last weekend I attended a few animation talks as part of the Cardiff International Film Festival. This was hosted by the Chapter Arts Centre in Canton and organised by Cardiff Animation Nights. The first talk I attended was by Joanna Quinn, a prize-winning animator and director who's won over 90 awards, including 2 Emmy awards, 4 Bafta awards and a Jury prize at all the major international animation festivals. I'd previously only seen a few examples of Quinn's work. This mainly consisted of the short film "Britannia" and like many others, the "Charmin" adverts which are probably her most renowned and widely recognisable work to date. 

The talk showcased Quinn's extensive back catalogue of work, peppered with a few humorous anecdotes and ended with a short demonstration of her work process. After the talk the audience was invited to peruse a selection of her sketchbooks and stills from her films. Her sketchbook work was particularly inspiring and reminded me of one of my favourite Disney artists, Mark Mcdonnell.

The second talk I attended was given by Ben Bocquelet, a French-British animator, director, writer, producer and creator of Cartoon Network's "The Amazing World of Gumball". I'd seen a few episodes of "Gumball" prior to the talk, but struggled to engage with it as much as other new generation Cartoon Network shows such as "Steven Universe, Young Justice' and 'Over the Garden Wall" etc. Unlike those shows though "Gumball" is a mixture of traditional 2D animation, puppetry, photo-realistic CGI, stop motion, Flash animation and live action. The concept and execution of the show is really interesting from an animators point of view hence why I was keen to attend.

Interestingly, Boquelet began by talking about his first job out of University. It was in advertising and apparently didn't go particularly well. He recounted how he would pitch countless ideas/characters but to no avail. Further down the line at his new Cartoon Network job, Boquelet was eventually asked to pitch an idea for a new show. With an abundance of unused and leftover characters from his advertising days, Boquelet simply pitched a show which could incorporate the use of all of them. This would later grow to become the "The Amazing World of Gumball".

Towards the end of the talk the audience was treated to a special UK premier screening of an upcoming and un-aired "Gumball" episode called "The Fury". It featured fight scenes depicted in an anime style which were produced by Studio 4°C, a studio famous for producing numerous feature films, OVA's and shorts, my favourite being "Tekkon Kinkreet"and their work on the "Animatrix".  

Overall I had a great time at the event and only wish I could have gone to more of the talks/screenings that were being held. I'd like to thank Cardiff Animation Nights and all the speakers for putting on a great show. Hopefully we'll have more events like this to look forward to in the future.