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Manchester Animation Fest Announces First-Ever Digital Program for 2020

Bob's Birthday by MAF 2020 Fellowship Award winners Alison Snowden & David Fine
Bob's Birthday by MAF 2020 Fellowship Award winners Alison Snowden & David Fine

Festivals and Events


Manchester Animation Fest Announces First-Ever Digital Program for 2020

The Manchester Animation Festival (MAF), the U.K.’s largest animation festival, has today revealed its program for 2020. Returning in its sixth year as a digital event, the festival will offer audiences an opportunity to access the world’s greatest animated content from the comfort of their homes. The festival is confirmed to take place from November 15-30.

Program information and tickets are on sale now at

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 edition will, for the first time, be hosted online, allowing worldwide viewing of this dynamic digital festival. The program comprises stunning short films, fantastic features, exclusive previews, informative masterclasses and eclectic events to celebrate what the world of animation can offer. Live Q&As, panels and screen talks will present experts and acclaimed animators who will share behind the scenes insight into their iconic work and characters.

“We’re delighted to welcome the animation community back to MAF for another year of animated activity all from the comfort of their own homes from the 15-30 November. Everything you know and love from the Festival has gone digital, from stunning short films to mesmerising masterclasses, feature films and we’ve also expanded our program this year to showcase more industry events, a digital marketplace and social events,” said Festival Director Steve Henderson. “Going online gives us the perfect opportunity to make MAF accessible to lots more people and welcome them all to the Festival. It’s with thanks to the valued and continued support of our partners and sponsors that after a heck of a year, we’ve got a programme that everyone can enjoy and we look forward to welcoming friends old and new to MAF 2020.”

Jim Parkyn

Jim Parkyn

Headline events in the announcement include an exclusive work-in-progress look at the forthcoming stop-motion animation film The Inventor starring Stephen Fry and Daisy Ridley, with a Q&A from writer and director Jim Capobianco, the Academy Award-nominated writer of Pixar hit Ratatouille. A family day will also introduce audiences to animated features and short films from around the world and a sculpt-along with Jim Parkyn, sculptor from Aardman Animations.

Every year, MAF presents its prestigious Fellowship Award, celebrating the outstanding achievements of animators within the industry. Organizers revealed that Alison Snowden and David Fine of Snowden Fine Animation (Bob’s Birthday) are the 2020 recipients. In celebration, events in the program will take a look at their work and screen a retrospective of their film and TV career, with a live Q&A with the Oscar winning couple.

The Animated Short Film competition, which includes categories of Short Film, Student Film and Commissioned Film screenings, will remain central to the festival. Winners will be announced on November 27.

Principles of Puppetry

Principles of Puppetry

The U.K. animation industry is world renowned for its quality of talent and originality of productions. The industry has remained resilient throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly as most animation can be accomplished remotely, making animation an incredibly impressive and important sector to the U.K.’s film and television industry.

New for MAF 2020 is the Industry Day sponsored by Brown Bag Films which takes place on Thursday, Nov. 19, with a range of live events for animation professionals to gain valuable insight into the Industry. Linking with the Industry Day, the MAF Marketplace will return in 2020 linking companies and animation studios to showcase their work and meet the festival delegates. Virtual stalls will allow industry to chat, meet, share and network. Studios and companies attending and sponsoring the MAF Marketplace are Jellyfish Pictures Ltd, Marks & Clerk, Animation Toolkit, the Young Audiences Content Fund (BFI), Blue Zoo, Brown Bag Films, Toon Boom and the University of Salford.

“I’ve had the pleasure of attending MAF every year since its inception, witnessing it grow to become the U.K.’s biggest animation festival in just a few short years,” said MAF board chair Tom Box, MD of Blue Zoo Productions. “The passion and drive that led to that growth has been cranked up and transferred to the online edition this year — sharing the love of animation with even more people around the world.”


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