Bradford Animation Festival (BAF), the UK’s biggest and longest-running annual animation festival, is a project of the National Media Museum. This is my first time to take part in a big Animation Festival in UK, during the 4 days, I really got something interesting from the master classes, seminars, workshops, screenings and special events led by some of the animation industry’s top names. For me, as an international student this trip to Bradford was quite an eye-opener which makes me know more about the culture differences of the animation and new technology around the world. This review will show some of my feeling on the 2009 Winners and the thinking about the future of animation industry.


To see the annual BAF Awards which is the high point of the festival to celebrated the very best in new animation from around the world, this year there were nine award-winning films, respectively Alma, Mary and Max, French Roast, Bruce, Stupid Table, Hey, Audi “Unboxed”, Masha and the Bear and Lost and Found. In these films, the TOP 3 in my mind were Lost and Found, French Roast also Stupid Table. Lost and Found who won the Films for Children made by Philip Hunt – UK, the story was about a wonderful journey between a little boy and his penguin friend which shows like a magical tale of loneliness and friendship based on the award-winning book by Oliver Jeffers. Film inherited Oliver Jeffers’s hand-painted style, colourful, with a childlike innocence naive but slightly sad. Different from the American animation, without flaring screen rendering, superb technical skills, contrived jokes, but touch the audience with the simple plot and emotional appeal, narration coupled with a moderate tone, to make the audience feel like immersed in a simple and beautiful fairy tale, along with the little boy and lovely penguin set foot on the mentality journey of lost and found. Best Professional Film winner, French Roast was a French animation which one I really like. It’s a funny story which happened in a fancy Parisian Café, an uptight businessman is about to pay the check when he finds out that he’s lost his wallet. In my opinion, the characters facial expressions, eye contact and body language played an important role in this film, because without any dialogue, the characters’ emotional and personality was shows through their movements, expressions, also the music and sound. For example, though the story, we can see that gentleman’s facial expressions change from the arrogance, tension, and sadness, finally become appreciate. I am interested about seeing facial expressions which show their emotional in different situations. That is the reason, why I quite like this film. I also think this is film can be a good example for my Emotional Ties work. For Stupid Table, the Best Short Shorts winner, it’s improve that only the story can identified with the audience than it can be a successful film. The simple 2D animation with black and white style panels,which brought the house down. I have to say that Dir. Andy Sykes was the biggest winner at that day to make everybody remember his work and his name.


Even most of the animations are fantastic; there still have two works do not so appealed for me, which are Alma and Masha and the Bear. Alma who was the overall winner in BAF 2009 which had very high quality frame effects, wonderful 3D screenings and Harmonious colours, everything just perfect, except it old-fashioned storyline. In my opinion, it is like an expired candy with a gorgeous wrapper outside. I admit that this is a well-made animation; if it could make some innovation on storyline it can become much better. Another is Masha and the Bear which won the Best TV Series. In this case, I though some jokes in the animation are not that fun, the way that little girl treats to her friends some times make me feel unacceptable. While, because it’s a 3D animation, colours in this work not seeing well some part of it was too bright which make people feel uncomfortable. But when it comes down to it, for an animation made in Russia it’s not bad, some part of the story was really fun and hope we can see some better works next year.


During this Festival, after lots of top works been showed, I had a thinking caused by the development and markets between CG Animation and Traditional animation. On this year’s BAF Awards, more than half of works were CG Animation especially 3D animation. British animation industry as the backbone of the European animation has its own unique style.The European animation always shows the story full of emotional, personality, and sentimental, which is evident in the United Kingdom animation.In the production method, British Animation is famous on the stop-motion, like Wallace & Gromit and Shaun The Sheepetc. However, with the popularization of computer technology, and production cost increases, CG animation applications in the growing industry occupies an irreplaceable position.But does it mean that we should give up traditional animation, replaced by large-scale computer technology innovation? I though that Britain should be in the original edge animation to develop innovative 3D technology and the combination of stop-motion animation, such as Coralline, Corpse Bride, etc. In the Festivalperson who work for Coralline team said that, to do the Stop Motion was a special experience that nothing can instead. Furthermore, I find some animation studio try to use 3D technology rendering 2D hand drawing effect, to get something new to mix the CG technology and Traditional animation. However, it can be a good try for the future development of animation industry.


To sum up, Bradford Animation Festival (BAF) gave me a lot of special experience, it really helps me in my course and future works. I would like to join this trip next year.



Bibliography listing


Bradford Animation Festival (BAF):   [Electronically accessed 20th February 2010].


Original story by Oliver Jeffers Personal Website: [Electronically accessed 20th February 2010].


French Roast Official Website: [Electronically accessed 20th February 2010].


Animation Magazine Interview: [Electronically accessed 20th February 2010].


Alma: [Electronically accessed 20th February 2010].


Masha and the Bear: [Electronically accessed 20th February 2010].