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LIAF 2019: UK Animation Industry Event Session 3 – The Kids Are All Right? Meet the movers and shakers behind the resurgence of kids animation on TV

December 7, 2019
1:30 pm


LIAF presents the UK Animation Industry Event at the University of East London (UEL), an all day event from 10am to 6:30pm – four panels giving insider access to some of the hot topics of the year plus a screening of the LIAF British showcase.

Animation doesn’t stand still; and debates and discussions with animators and creative experts are the best way to get in touch with what’s happening, whether it’s how Virtual Reality will impact on animation, or why the gender and diversity of the animation industry is rapidly changing, or why kids animation has a new lease of life. Come and find out.

We’ve gathered together some of the most passionate, honest and insightful experts from a wide range of different areas and backgrounds who are ready to cover all manner of vital topics to give you much food for thought.

For anyone currently working in the film and animation industry, thinking of working in the industry or just plain curious, these four talks are indispensable.

Add to this a very special enhanced screening of our annual British Showcase, 90 minutes of the best short animated films made in the last 12 months with several filmmakers in attendance, and you’ll get an exceptional opportunity to see what British animators are doing, how they’re doing it and how the art form is travelling.

This is the third of 5 Industry Event Sessions. The others are: Session 1: We Need to Talk about Skills – One Year On; Session 2: Is Everybody on Board? The Animated Women Panel; Session 4: The 3 Rs – Animating in the New Spaces of VR, AR & XR and Session 5: the British Showcase screening.

Please note, there will be no tickets available on the day of the event. Advance booking only. One ticket gets you into all 4 talks PLUS the British Showcase screening.

With Special Thanks to the Arts Council England

Arts Council England



And University of East London (UEL)

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, UEL, University of East London



Session 3 – The Kids Are All Right? Meet the movers and shakers behind the resurgence of kids animation on TV

What makes a successful kids animation these days, and how do stories travel from pitch to screen? Panellists talk about the way ideas and character end up on TV, and what makes an engaging animation for kids. We’ll also look at how trends, regulatory frameworks, merchandising and advertising might have changed and what responsibility animators and creators might have to their young audiences. Also, are certain animation styles more suitable for kids, and as an animation student is it a good idea to focus on this area?

At UEL book tickets


Saint John Walker

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, Saint John WalkerSaint is Course Leader for VFX at Norwich University of the Arts, and was previously Creative Skillset’s Head of Development and Animation manager, authoring the Core Skills of VFX handbook. Recently he has been a columnist for 3D Artist magazine as well as working with industry group Access:VFX to promote diversity in Animation and VFX.


Mic Graves – Executive Producer at Cartoon Network Europe and Director of ‘The Amazing World of Gumball’

Mic-GravesMic has been the series director and writer on Cartoon Network’s ‘The Amazing World of Gumball’ since it started in 2009. He is currently working as an Executive Producer involved in development at Cartoon Network Europe and on Cartoon Network’s new show ‘Elliott from Earth’ on which he is also a writer. Prior to this he worked as a commercials director at London animation company Studio Aka. Mic was also creative director on the cult animated comedy show ‘Monkey Dust’. He has been working in the UK animation industry for 25 years and been the recipient of multiple BAFTAs, BAA awards, International Emmy, Annie Award and an Oscar nomination.

Ed Foster – Creator and Director of ‘Rubbish World of Dave Spud’

Ed-FosterEd grew up in rural North Wales, then studied in Hull and the National Film and TV School. He now works as an animation series director with a background that spans developing pilots, to writing for and directing commissioned series such as ‘Little Princess’ a preschool series which is shown on Channel Five, and has sold to over 160 territories worldwide and been BAFTA nominated four times. In 2019 Ed’s own original creation ‘The Rubbish World of Dave Spud’ launched on CITV. Ed continues to make short independent films and has been a jury member for the BAA, BAFTA and RTS awards. He is also a visiting tutor at the RCA and NFTS animation courses, and an external examiner for the University of Arts London MA animation course.

Tom Box – Joint Managing Director of Blue Zoo Animation

Tom-BoxTom is the co-founder and joint managing director of Blue Zoo Animation. Over the last 19 years, the studio has grown to become the biggest dedicated CG animation studio in the UK, picking up a few BAFTAs along the way. Tom has been the driving force behind the studio’s continuous exploration of new technology, experimenting with cutting-edge tools to see how they can improve animation workflows and facilitate artists’ creativity.

Steve Smith – Managing Director of Beakus, Director of ‘Olobob Top’

Steve-SmithSteve Smith is the founder of Beakus, a UK animation studio based in Lewes. He is a graduate of the MA Animation course at the Royal College of Art, a filmmaker, director and producer. Over nearly two decades of animation creation and production Steve’s work has won a BAFTA, a British Animation Award and Annecy Cristal. Alongside his short films his commercial clients include Nickelodeon, Google, Kindle, McCann Erickson, BBC and The Science Museum. In 2017 Steve co-created Beakus’ first preschool animated show, ‘Olobob Top’. Two series later and the Top-10 show is currently broadcasting around the world in the UK, Australia, Finland, Japan and beyond.

Leigh Hodgkinson – Director of ‘Olobob Top’

Leigh-HodgkinsonLeigh is a renowned author-illustrator of children’s picture books as well as art director for CBeebies TV series ‘Olobob Top’. She began her career as an animation director after graduating from the NFTS. Her films include ‘Moo(n)’ and ‘Stalk’ and her many awards include a BAFTA, British Animation Award and Annecy Cristal. Leigh was also art director for the first series of ‘Charlie & Lola’. Leigh’s work in picture books includes ‘Troll Swap’, ‘Goldilocks and Just the one Bear’, and ‘Pencil Dog’. Leigh has also been short-listed for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize twice and has been on the Kate Greenaway Prize long-list four times.