The online home of the London International Animation Festival.

LIAF 2018 Trailer: The Making Of

We are incredibly fortunate that the production of our annual festival trailer is integrated into the National Film & Television’s curriculum. Each year, their exceptionally talented MA Directing Animation students pitch their ideas to us. We get the honour of selecting our favourite and sharing the outcome with you.

This year Daniel Quirke animated and directed our trailer with Jamie MacDonald as Producer. We asked Daniel to share his process with us and this is what he had to say…

Taking a twister break

Taking a twister break

The first thing I did after being told that my idea had been chosen was to approach people at the NFTS who I would like to work on the project as it was an ambitious idea. The first was Jamie Macdonald the Producer as he had initially helped me work through the idea in preparation for the pitch to Nag Vladermersky (LIAF Festival Director).

The next person I approached was the composer Darryl O’Donovan as the soundtrack’s rhythm drives the piece so I needed to be working alongside him from the beginning. After agreeing to be on board Darryl, Jamie and I discussed the different ideas we had for each room and what would be possible in a minute. After initially pitching, I was thinking that there would be about 10-12 characters in the block of flats that we would focus on, I was told by Darryl that that would need to be reduced in order to spend enough time on each character before we reveal the block of flats so in the end we settled on 7.

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, NFTS, National Film & Television School

The set building begins

After Darryl created the soundtrack, I drew out the characters performing the actions in an animatic and began to build the sets in the last week of August. This was done mainly by myself with the help of Jamie, who is now an excellent tiler and plasterer, and also with the help of a couple of friends. We had initially worked with Steven the production designer who drew up 3D models of each apartment but as I was collecting materials the general ideas changed as I wanted to use a lot of real objects as I enjoy playing with the scale of objects from real life in stop motion and it would also speed up our building process. For example, I used a cooking tray for the bathtub, part of an old projector for a generator, the inside of an old radio for a machine and various other things I managed to find in the NFTS prop store, and also scavenged around the NFTS skip.

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, NFTS, National Film & Television School

Claymation bird character facing a soon-to-be-filled blank canvass

After the build on the first few flats were complete along with the puppets made by model maker Angus Choy, Adam Singodia the cinematographer beautifully lit the rooms so that I could start animating along the help of two amazing animators, Renee Zhan, who animated the blue dancer and the 2D bird on the poster, and Steph Marshall, who animated the camera and the guy banging on his ceiling. As each room generally has a different style or technique, it took some time to work out each and required a bit of experimenting beforehand to know what would work. Towards the end of animating, editor Jan Schroeder, who also played the trumpet for the soundtrack, came on board to help with the assembly of the footage and also the looping of the characters as the camera pulls out. Moritz Burkart created the digital painting for the final shot at the end which I then composited in After Effects. Finally there was a day of sound mixing by Ed Rousseau and Darryl and a grading by Andrea Lo Priore which helped to make everything sit together in the same space.

And there you have it – the inside scoop on how to create an animation festival trailer. Team LIAF is forever grateful to the NFTS for supporting the production of our annual festival calling card, which will screen at our venues in the run-up to LIAF 2018. We encourage you to take note of the talent listed below too – musicians, designers, animators, artists. This is an admirable collective spanning pre-production, production and post production. We welcome you to enjoy Daniel Quirke’s LIAF 2018 calling card with us below!


Animated & Directed by Daniel Quirke
Producer – Jamie MacDonald
Cinematographer – Adam Singodia
Animators – Stephanie Marshall and Renee Zhan
Editor/Trumpeter – Jan Schroeder
Composer – Darryl O’Donovan
Sound Mixer – Ed Rousseau
Production Designer – Steven Xeureb Haber
Model Maker – Angus Choy
Set building assistants – Francesca Santoro and Philip Skinner
VFX Artist – Moritz Burkart
Roto Artist – Nicole Smith
Colour Grader – Andrea Lo Priore