Animex Festival for animation and computer games has announced its lineup for the 2015 edition, scheduled for Feb. 9-13 at Teesside University in the United Kingdom.
This year’s festival adds a day dedicated to Britain’s independent games studios and developers, and will give a voice to industry insiders striving to create more inclusive games – including developer Nicole Stark who is working on a game based on her daughter – a kung-fu practicing pizza delivery girl who has to deal with the taunts of other teenagers.
Independent developer Leanne Bayley will also be at Animex discussing how her struggle to find work when pregnant led her to developing the game Glyph Quest.
There will also be speakers from the likes of Disney, Weta Digital, Epic, Valve and Laika, as well as talks from Teesside University graduates who have found success in the animation and games industry. Manga Shakespeare artist Hamuro Sanazaki is also coming over from Tokyo to talk about her feminist approach to Shakespeare Manga and how to tell these stories from a female perspective.
Speakers at this year’s Animex include:
- Zach Parrish, Walt Disney Animation Studios: Zach was Head of Animation on Disney’s upcoming release Big Hero 6. Before joining Disney in 2010, he worked as a character animator on many big films such as Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Incredible Hulk, and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Since Joining Disney he has worked on Alice in Wonderland, Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph.
- Ken Wong, Ustwo: Ken has worked in games for 12 years as game designer, art director and concept artist. He served as game designer and lead artist on Ustwo’s recent Apple award winning mobile hit Monument Valley, which challenges expectations of gamers and what makes a game. An Australian living in London, his previous work also includes the art direction of Alice: Madness Returns at Spicy Horse and his solo indie project, Hackycat.
- Richard Franke, Founder/Creative Director of Magic Notion: Richard is an 18-year industry veteran with titles such as the Burnout series, BLACK, Need for Speed and Tearaway under his belt from his years at Criterion Games and more recently Media Molecule. He founded his own independent studio, Magic Notion, in 2013 and they have just released their first title, Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker, starring his alter ego, drag queen Kitty Powers.
- Matthew Tateishi, Layout Technical Director, Weta Digital: Matthew is currently a Layout Technical Director at Weta Digital in Wellington, New Zealand. He has just finished work on the final Hobbit film, The Battle of Five Armies. Previous to this he has also worked on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Before working in visual effects, Matthew worked in games for 19 years as a level designer. Most recently he was lead level designer on Star Wars: 1313 at LucasArts and had designed levels for other Star Wars titles such as Jedi Knight and Dark Forces.
- Greg Fisher, Global Head of Animation at MPC: Since graduating from Teesside University with a master’s degree in Computer Animation, Greg has worked on many films including Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Cats and Dogs, Black Hawk Down and Lara Croft Tomb Raider. He is now MPC’s Global Head of Animation and has overseen a number of high profile feature films including Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Maleficent and Guardians of the Galaxy.
- Nicole Stark, Independent Game Developer: Nicole Stark started in the games industry as a junior animator on Sunny Garcia Surfing, a Playstation launch title. She was one of the first female developers employed in Australia and is passionate about encouraging more girls to make and play games. Recently Nicole and her husband have created Ninja Pizza Girl, a game based on their daughter. The enemies she encounters in the game are based on one of the things teenage girls are most frightened of, the insults and jibes of other teenagers.
To find out more about Animex, view the festival program and book tickets, visit animex.tees.ac.uk/.