Our 2021 Anifest will be our 13th Festival!
Let's take a look at festivals of the past...
Anifest is an award-winning festival now brought to you by Canterbury Christ Church University
Headlining this years festival was Aliki Theofilopoulos, Story Artist, Writer, Director, and Executive Producer, who reflected on her 20+ year career in the US Animation Industry working in major studios including Disney and Dreamworks. Her talk was both inspiring and emotive. Kicking off the festival was a Clangers roundtable featuring the directors and producers, who brought a couple of friends along from the series. Disney and Dreamworks Story Artist, Animator, and Director, Kat Good also joined us, and she gave a great insight to the industry. The GoJetters flew in and we were treated to a behind the scenes look at how an episode was made. Josie Corbin, model maker on many animated film, including Isle of Dogs, gave us an insight into the world of model making for stop motion. Alongside the talks, we had a wonderful selection of films from this years' competition, and a number of stop motion workshops.
After moving from an Autumn festival to a Spring festival, Canterbury Anifest returned in 2019. The festival kicked off with a symposium on interactive animation and video games. We received over 400 submissions from all over the world and the festival celebrated this rich array of animation with a full day of screenings. Stop motion workshops and 'Design a Minion' workshops were also offered throughout the festival.
Legendary Disney and DreamWorks animator Tom Sito headlined the Saturday, sharing stories about his work on animated classics such as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Shrek, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Jim Parkyn, Senior Model Maker at Aardman Animations, shared his experience of working at the world famous Bristol-based animation studio and discussed the origins of some of its much-loved characters - including Morph, who is celebrating his 40th anniversary this year.
Tom Box, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Blue Zoo Animation Studio, shared stories about how Blue Zoo has become one of the biggest animation studios in the UK. Along the way, Tom discussed shows such as Digby Dragon, Miffy, and Numberblocks, as well as their LEGO Batman commercials. Festivalgoers were also treated to a talk from documentarian Samantha Moore who discussed her films Loop and Eyeful of Sound, which use animation to represent complex ideas and emotions in an accessible way.
Taking over ownership of the festival from Canterbury City Council, staff from Canterbury Christ Church University's School of Media, Art and Design successfully delivered the festival in October 2016. Offering a broad programme of speakers, attendees enjoyed talks from: Peter Firmin, Dan Postgate and Ian Warburton about the work of Smallfilms (Bagpuss, Clangers, and many more); filmmaker John Walsh in his capacity as Trustee for the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation; former-Pixar animator Steve Segal; Lead CG Modeller at LAIKA, Ty Johnson; a roundtable discussion about voice acting for children's animation featuring actress Teresa Gallagher and Sound Director Dave Peacock; Cinesite's Head of Animation Eamonn Butler; and animation scholars Dr. Chris Pallant and Prof. Paul Wells.
Under the new stewardship of the Gulbenkian, for the first time in its history Anifest adopted a specific theme for the festival week: Japanese animation. Anifest 2014 started with the opening of the 8-bit Ghibli exhibition at Gulbenkian, which was followed by a series of stimulating talks (including the Producer of Ghost in the Shell, Andy Frain, to celebrate the film's 20th anniversary), masterclasses, workshops, and culminating with a spectacular live performance that fused animation and dance. Performed by dance troupe Boy Blue (pictured right), the live performance was entitled "The Five and the Prophecy of Prana", and saw dazzling visuals frame a dynamic fusion of hip-hop and martialarts in an explosive tribute to manga.
Anifest welcomed another great line up of guests to Canterbury in 2013. Expanding to its largest ever programme, the festival included a two week exhibition at the Beaney, a week of animated screenings at the Gulbenkian cinema and a host of events over the weekend, in Augustine House, which included a special comedy act. In addition to the usual exciting host of industry speakers, festivalgoers were thrilled to listen to the tales of veteran special effects supervisor Michael Fink (pictured right, in a dark top, with former Festival Director, Dan Richards in the white top). Over a 30+ year career in Hollywood, Michael can list credits such as Blade Runner, Mars Attacks!, X-Men, and Avatar, to name but a few. After delivering another successful event, festival organisers Animate and Create stepped down.
In 2012, Anifest welcomed two of the heavy hitters of US animation: Pixar and DreamWorks. Alongside these headline names, festivalgoers enjoyed talks from the always entertaining Aardman (Will Beecher, pictured left), Head of Animation Eamonn Butler from the visual effects specialists Double Negative, and Ray Harryhausen’s autobiography co-writer Tony Dalton. This success of Anifest – and this iteration in particular – was recognized in 2013 when the festival won the Destination Canterbury Award at the Canterbury Culture Awards.
Returning under the guidance of Animate and Create, the festival expanded to cover the full weekend for the first time. Populating this busy programme were talks from the likes of Aardman, who were discussing Creature Comforts, the Harry Potter visual effects team, and LAIKA, who were discussing the production of Coraline. Phil Jupitus also returned to the stage to deliver another evening of cartoons and comedy.
In 2010, Animate and Create took over responsibility for organizing and delivering the festival. As well as this change in management, Anifest also moved home, relocating to the more central location of Canterbury Christ Church University’s Augustine House. Special Guests in 2010 included: Aardman's Jim Parkyn (pictured right), who made a welcome return, bringing along Wallace and Gromit for company; the team at Smallfilms; and comedian Phil Jupitus, who took to the stage to talk about his favourite Looney Tunes. The Anifest Awards returned for the fourth year, expanding to include a new category: Best Animation from the South East.
In 2009 Anifest explored the broader world of animation by looking back to the work of Halas and Batchelor’s public information films and their classic adaptation of Orwell’s Animal Farm. Stretching across the globe for a special screening of Sita Sings the Blues, audiences were delighted with the work of international filmmaker Nina Paley before being transported behind the scenes of the very latest technology presented by the studio responsible for Hollywood special effects including Harry Potter and Stardust - Centroid 3D.
Anifest returned in 2008 with a series of satellite ‘Anifestivities’ events, hosted by Canterbury Christ Church University, including screenings and talks by award-winning animators Bob Godfrey and Run Wrake. Following these satellite events, the main festival weekend took place at the Gulbenkian Theatre. In addition to talks by Godfrey and Barry Purves, festivalgoers were also treated to a talk from Aardman director Richard Goleszowski.
The inaugural festival was organised and managed by Canterbury City Council, with Michelle Moubarak serving as Festival Director. Staged at the Gulbenkian Theatre, the 2007 festival included screenings of Suzie Templeton’s stop motion adaptation of Sergei Prokofiev's classic Peter and the Wolf and a collection of Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin’s films, from their earliest series Ivor the Engine (1958- 1963) to the immensely popular Bagpuss (1974). As well as providing several opportunities to hear animators such as Templeton discuss their animated works, the Anifest Awards made their debut.
Check out our socials
Take a look at our Anifest pages on Twitter, Youtube and Facebook