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LIAF 2018: Judges – The Inside Scoop

Each year we search for the finest panel of Judges: Educators; Independent Animators; Producers; affiliates of prominent organisations (all with animation at their core); Authors, Curators and more. All are experts in their field and all possess the ‘shining’ when it comes to an informed and exploratory eye for excellence in the animation world.

This year we were honoured to welcome a carefully selected Judging Panel who perfectly filled our criteria: Martin Pickles, Ellie Land and Mark ZnO (our International Competition Programme Judges); Richard Wright, Emma Calder and Emily Downe (our Abstract Film Award Judges), Abigail Addison, Chris Shepherd and Shaun Clark (our Music Video Judges). They valiantly viewed, assessed and debated the finer points of every single one of the films selected for competition.

We cannot emphasise enough, just how difficult a task this is. It takes an awful lot of time, an immense level of concentration, diligent note-taking, as well as debating skills to rival any politician. And so we’d like to extend a heart-filled ‘thank you’ to our Panel of Judges. We’d also like to take a moment to thank our Festival Director and Co-Director: Nag Vladermersky and Malcolm Turner, for their year-round dedication to whittling down over 2,600 entries and curating them into the final programmes that we were honoured to share with you at this years’ Festival.

Below you’ll find out a little more about our excellent panel of Judges. We’ve also included snippets from their speeches – why each of the following animations were awarded their ‘laurels’.

Martin Pickles: International Competition Programme Judge

Martin Pickles studied for his MA in Animation at the Royal College of Art, and gained a further MA at Middlesex University in Computing in Art and Design.

He is a London-based freelance animator, designer and editor, specialising in hand-drawn, character-based animation. He makes ads, title sequences, medical films, explainers, corporates and sequences for documentaries and feature films. He also teaches Contextual Studies on the BA Animation course at Middlesex University and on the BA Animation course at the University of East London as well as organising monthly events for animators via the popular London Animation Club.

Ellie Land: International Competition Programme Judge

Ellie Land is an award-winning filmmaker who uses animation and moving images to explore Issues such as femininity, gender politics, education and identity. She gained an MA in Animation from The Royal College of Art in 2007. Her films have attracted a number of awards, commendations and special mentions from a variety of prestigious International film festivals. She is particularly interested in documenting difficult, culturally complex subjects, seeking to represent them in a way that is accessible to all audiences. Ellie also lectures in animation, having taught at London College of Communication, the National Institute of Design in India and Northumbria University’s Design School.

Mark Ashworth: International Competition Programme Judge

Mark started his career as a drum & bass artist in 1988 and is now a London-based Sound Designer. He’s best known for his work on the BAFTA-nominated animation Bobby Yeah (winner of Best British Film Award at LIAF). He’s worked on numerous horror animations, as well as some slightly less horrific ones. He’s also worked on several independent live action feature films as Associate Producer, Composer, Sound Editor and Foley Artist.

Best of the Festival Award: Egg (Martina Scarpelli)

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, Egg, Martina Scarpelli

“From early on the judges were unanimous on how much they liked this film. We are now in a time when it feels like animated doc has proven itself as worthy as a means for documentary. In fact we can also say that there are certain formats associated with animated documentary, for example the use of Voice over interview as the indexical link, or the playful sketchbook films that are akin to observational documentary. Egg explodes these more conventional formats and allows the animation to do what animation does best, working on a metaphorical, even poetic level.

Brilliantly executed in line drawing, reminiscent of Japanese woodcuts or even the art of Aubrey Beardsley. Stunning Animated documentary as film poem, we felt as though the prose and visuals co-existed superbly.”

LIAF 2018 Judges

Best British Film Award: Roughhouse (Jonathan Hodgson)

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, Roughhouse, Jonathan Hodgson

“This is a film in which Jonathan revisits a painful memory and is the story of victimisation within a tight group of friends. It is a story we can all identify with and we valued his honesty and the personal touch that came through in the actual drawing-style and animation. Not only that, it was Jonathan working in a new genre for him: animated drama, with dialogue as well as narration, which laid bare the story in a deeply meaningful way.”

LIAF 2018 Judges

Best Sound Design Award: Finity Calling (Senjan Jansen & Bert Aerts) Filmmaker: Jasper Kuipers

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, Finity Calling, Senjan Jansen, Bert Aerts, Jasper Kuipers

“What is sound in film? We have three main disciplines – Music,  Foley and Dialogue. Then we have this creative world in between: Sound Design.
Foley is the sound of wind through the trees – the footsteps through a forest. Score is the musical and rhythmic expressions that compliment these sounds. Dialogue is the sound of human voices.
Sound design is the crafting and manipulation of the audible cracks in between. Sound design, in its perfection, will sonically animate a universe. For this reason, we have chosen Finity Calling as our award for best sound design.
Moments of tension are built with what sounds like a swarm of insects and a cacophony of violent violins, increasing in tone and intensity. Room tones are perfectly attuned to the cold, shiny tiled room and give a sinister sonic air. The room has a clearly considered character. Layered drones give an intense, doom-filled atmosphere, but never intrude, just infiltrate our senses. At times every single bead, jewel and drop of blue-black goo has been noted and designed to perfection. Characters barely vocalise, but when they do, its a deeply affected and perfectly synchronised guttural grunt. There’s so much more going on, but we’ve given you some headlines – we hope you’ll listen out for a few and we hope that you agree that this film has sublime sound design.”

LIAF 2018 Judges

Richard Wright: Best Abstract Film Award Judge

Richard Wright is a visual artist who has worked in animated media for over twenty years, including many early pioneering digital animated films and interactive installations. He holds a PhD in the aesthetics of digital cinema and has published nearly forty papers, articles and book chapters. Recent projects include working on ‘decorative surveillance’ – a live video project that uses the flow of people through urban spaces as an animation tool and ‘The Elastic System’ an artwork produced in collaboration with the British Library.

Emma Calder: Best Abstract Film Award Judge

Emma Calder studied Graphic Design at the London College of Printing and The Royal College of Art, which is where she began to experiment with animation. She made many widely-seen films in the 1980’s and ‘90’s, as well as several pop videos including ones for the Eurythmics and the Art of Noise. She set up her own company Pearly Oyster Productions in 1989 which she still runs today. She has also published children’s books and continues to work on a mix of commissioned and personal projects.

Emily Downe: Best Abstract Film Award Judge

Emily Downe is an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker based in London. Her short films explore research-based topics in science, philosophy and the human story expressed through 2D, hand drawn animation. As a director she has screened in competition at multiple international film and animation festivals including Encounters Short Film Festival, Monstra International Animation Festival and LIAF, where her animated short, Spinning Record, screened in 2017. She graduated from Kingston School of Art in 2017 and the Royal College of Art in 2018.

Best Abstract Film Award: Max Planck (Jonathan Gillie)

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, Max Planck, Jonathan Gillie

“Freshness of vision and stimulating animation lead us into a complex, challenging film that suggest quantum visualisations, for scientific experiments on forces beyond our human experience. From random Brownian dots and iterating tessellations eventually tamed by Bézier curves and rhythmically fluctuating molecular forces. Stunning art and original film structure made it the winner.”

Abstract Film Award Judges

Abigail Addison: Best Music Video Award Judge

Abigail Addison is a Producer, and is a Director of animation agency Animate Projects. She has produced many experimental moving image projects, including two slates of shorts for Channel 4’s Random Acts, and Silent Signal, an ambitious touring art & science project. She also co-produced Chris Shepherd’s multi award winning short, Johnno’s Dead, and his latest film, Brexicuted. Abigail sits on the Boards of Underwire Festival and Animation Alliance UK.

Chris Shepherd: Best Music Video Award Judge

Chris Shepherd was born in Liverpool. In 1995 he set up a production company called Polkadot and directed the multi award winning film, The Broken Jaw, for Channel 4.  In 2000 he became the co-founder of production company, Slinky Pictures, with producer Maria Manton. Director/writing credits include a ten part series for Channel 4 called People’s Britain and his acclaimed short Dad’s Dead, which is winner of over 20 international awards. He’s also worked with a wide range of commercial clients including BMI, COI, Nestle, Western Union, Eagle Star and Proctor & Gamble. His 2005 collaboration with artist David Shrigley, Who I Am And What I Want, won many international film awards, as did Silence is Golden in 2006, a live action/animated drama. He continues to make award-winning short films and has several feature films in development.

Shaun Clark: Best Music Video Award Judge

Shaun Clark has directed an eclectic array of award-winning animated films since the early 90′s. His films have been BAFTA nominated and has earned him praise for his use of different techniques and styles of storytelling. Shaun graduated with a first degree honours in animation before studying for a MA at The National Film School for two years. He resides in London where he works at Mew Lab as a animation director. He is currently Course Director and Senior Lecturer of the MA character Animation at Central St Martins and continues to work on personal and commercial animated projects.

Best Music Video Award: Tall Juan: ‘Parking Attendant’ (Dante Zabella)

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, Tall Juan, Parking Attendant, Dante Zabella

“The playfulness and energy and colour captures the frustration of busking in a busy place. The film is both bold, messy and carefully crafted in its controlled use of animation.”

Music Video Award Judges