The Bradford Animation Festival has been running this week and I've been lucky enough to be able to attend along with students from the course I teach on.
BAF has been running for 21 years which makes it the UK's longest running animation festival and when you attend it is easy to understand why it has been so successful. the atmosphere is friendly, the events are excellent and the venue, the National Media Museum, is wonderful.
The future of BAF appeared to be on the rocks for a while last year when budget cuts threatened to close the Media Museum. Fortunately though, for Bradford and the Festival, the Museum was saved and will hopefully remain open for a long time to come.
So, the festival, what did I see... I felt the majority of the animations that I was able to view this year have had a serious tone or have been rather abstract and, while I can appreciate a merit in the technical aspects of these pieces of work and the labour that has gone into their production, I found it rather difficult to engage with many of them. This hasn't diminished my enjoyment of the festival in any way though, I believe that it is important to personal and professional development to view art in any form as it can inform decision making and offer questions which, in response, may led to creative opportunities.
The festival speakers were, as always, excellent. In particular I enjoyed the presentation from Mark Shapiro of Laika. He talked about their most recent film, Boxtrolls, and the work that went into it's creation...One thing that stands out for me from his presentation is the importance of team work and hopefully everyone who was there understands and can appreciate, if they didn't already, that creative practice need not be a solo effort and, that by working as a part of a team in which each member has their own specialist skills, it is possible to create something far beyond that which might be possible if you are working alone.