Skwigly Online Animation Magazine Advanced Search

Cardiff Animation Festival 2018

// Featured, Reviews (Event)

2018 sees the welcome return of a Cardiff-based animation festival. Under the management of the team responsible for Cardiff Animation Nights and the animation strand of the Cardiff Independent Film Festival and hosted at Chapter, Cardiff’s cultural hub, the Cardiff Animation Festival was a welcome event for the locals, animators and animation enthusiasts alike. The festival is an intimate affair, with a wide array of screenings and events to entertain the masses where students and professional mingle effortlessly in a laid-back environment. This was helped along by the sunny weekend weather but there was palpable buzz throughout the festival. The selection of films and amazing guests were definite highlights and added excitement to each day. Due to the current deluge of stop-motion and independent features we are currently seeing, the festival boasted guests from all over the world, who have worked on some of the most mesmerising films to date. This, along with the seemingly effortless cheerfulness of all the attendees, really showed that the programmers and festival staff are knowledgeable, well connected and know how to put together a stellar festival!

Kicking of with an industry day full of talks and panels featuring some of animation’s finest producers, film programmers and commissioners was a great way of setting the event apart from other UK festivals. Some of the key features was the panel on getting to market which included Adam Bailey (Cloth Cat Animation), author and filmmaker Ben Mitchell, IP lawyer Huw Walters and chair Helen Brunsdon (Animation UK, British Animation Awards), the panel gave great insight into the different pitfalls and possibilities filmmakers may come across when distributing their work.

This was followed by a talk with children’s TV commissioners hosted by Jon Rennie (Bait/Thud/Cloth Cat Animation) including Cheryl Taylor (Head of Content, BBC Children’s), Stuart Rowson (Head of Discovery, BBC), Lucy Murphy (Head of Kids Content, Sky UK), Sioned Wyn Roberts (Children’s Commissioner, S4C) and Cecilia Persson (VP of Programming and Content Strategy, Turner EMEA Kids, Acquisitions and Co-production International). The notion of the moving tide of viewable content, now largely being consumed on online devices such as phones and tablets was a key feature of the discussion, as was the need for greater diversity of content for both English and Welsh speaking channels, as well the division between age brackets of content. A unique feature of the day was the possibility of one-on-one meetings with some of the panelists, which had a huge uptake and yielded insightful results for those who signed up.

Enough (Dir. Anna Mantzaris)

The following day we were in full festival swing, with a plethora of wonderful shorts by students and professionals, for a range of ages. The amazing selection from around the globe featured tear-jerkers, side-splitters and everything in-between. Some personal favourites were Enough by Anna Mantzaris, developing her needle-felted style further since her previous film But Milk Is Important. Enough shows a series of men and women who are, quite frankly, sick of it all. Simple and very funny, this film was a delight to watch. Another great little short was Workout by Bristol-based Rumpus Animation, a high-impact, music-centric film with Rumpus’s trademark upbeat humour that went down well with the audience. Julie Caty’s film Eden brought together a beautiful design with a comical retelling of Adam and a rebellious Eve, who grows weary of the monotony of Eden, breaking free into a world of gluttony, taking Adam and a polar bear with her. Then there was the gorgeous paint-on-glass film Bird and the Whale that told a sombre tale of kinship amongst unlikely friends.

Eden by Julie Caty

Thirsty, a student short by Oscar Barany, followed a parched little imp trying to hydrate. The film was made memorable by a mix of zany imagery and equally bizarre characters. Another great student film was Motion Pictures by Matthew Incontri, in which an ailing young man uses his imagination and love of action films to distract from the battle of his own life – a charming film that deals with a difficult but important life issue.

Two Trams by Svetlana Andrianova

In the kids’ screening there was also Lemon and Elderflower, a whimsical tale of two hummingbirds who invent new ways to fly. Two Trams was a delightful film for children directed by Svetlana Andrianova that follows a parent and child, exploring how the role of parenthood eventually reverses and family relationships change. Island by Robert Löbel and Max Mörtl follows a mystical island and the bizarre creatures that inhabit it, Löbel and Mörtl’s use of shapes and comical timing uses three dimensional stop-motion with hand drawn animation in a charming way that is sure to delight the little ones and give the adults a chuckle too.

A Night with the Trampires Panel

Apart from the shorts there was also an incredible lineup of guests who gave in-depth talks and masterclasses on some of the best features coming out of England in recent years. The highly-anticipated stop-motion Welsh feature film Night of the Trampires sees the welcome return to the blonde-haired renegade cop Chuck Steel, boasting all the 80s throwbacks you can wave a blood-stained tank top at. Although we weren’t able to see the film in full, the CAF audience did get a full history of director and creator Mike Mort’s career, from the doodles and boyhood dreams that led to the creation of what is sure to be a truly unique animation experience. He was also joined by Art Director Bridget Phelan, Animation Supervisor Darren Thompson and Producer Randhir Singh, all of whom gave an extra layer of depth to the process, passion and team efforts that went into this vast production. Throughout the festival there was also an incredible exhibition showcasing puppets, sets and all the labour that went into one of the film.

Working on the exhibition Art Director Bridget Phelan

I have to admit I was more than a little excited to hear more about my new favourite film Isle of Dogs, however what we got was an incredibly in-depth Q&A with Lead Animator Kim Keukeleire lead animator,  Head of Puppet Hospital Kerry Dyer and Fabricator Josh Flynn elaborating on the sheer level of detail that went into one of the best films so far of 2018. The panel discussed working with Wes, building dogs and sticking armpits together on a regular basis, giving a unique insight into the world of a Wes Anderson stop-motion production. We were even joined by special guest Atari, as well a special pre-recorded video from his actor Koyu Rankin.

Special guest Atari Puppet from Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs

As well as special presentations by Merlin Crossingham for Aardman’s Early Man and Hey Duggee creator Grant Orchard, another highlight and the final Q&A masterclass of the festival was with Mark Mullery, the technical director on Cartoon Saloon’s most recent feature The Breadwinner, a film that is taking the cinematic world by storm. This touching and heartbreaking tale was crafted by a broad team of talented artists. The talk gave an incredibly detail of every process that went into making the film, as well as detailing the issues of dealing with such difficult subject matter, one that is often shrouded in mystery.

The Breadwinner

Between screenings and events there were also engaging activities for all ages, such as colouring in for a collaborative animation of the the festival poster, Q&A breakfast sessions with the attending filmmakers hosted by Skwigly’s Ben Mitchell, as well as parties, animation nights and of course the lovable mascot ‘Dotty’ crafted by Josh Flynn (who also made the festival’s awards) .

The winner of both the Student Jury Award and Best Short was Mamoon directed by Ben Steer, Best Student Short award was Travelogue Tel Aviv (Dir. Samuel Patthey) and the Audience Award went to Our Wonderful Nature- The Common Chameleon (Dir. Tomar Eshed). The night ended on a high with happy and exhausted guests, organisers, students and audience members, all of whom are clearly looking forward to doing it all next year – and many more to come!

‘Dotty’ CAF mascot by Josh Flynn

Share this article

Get our latest articles - in your inbox

Enter your email to receive articles straight to your inbox. (This is not a newsletter sign-up, just a handy way for you to receive latest Skwigly content)

Lewis Heriz
@themooks @skwigly Yeah! That's when it becomes << actual magic >>
Twitter buttons
James Howard
@lewisheriz @skwigly That first time you see it move is such a buzz and then you add sound and it just enters a whole new stratosphere.
Twitter buttons
Lewis Heriz
@themooks @skwigly I know it's kind of obvious, but I used to see it as 'important but secondary'. I don't see it as secondary any more.
Twitter buttons
James Howard
@lewisheriz @skwigly Sound does bring it to life.
Twitter buttons

Advanced Search & Filter


Find articles by a specific writer