The online home of the London International Animation Festival.

LIAF 2021: Opening Night: Figures in Focus – Up Yours! + Screentalk

November 26, 2021
6:20 pm
At the Barbican book tickets ONLINE: book tickets or buy a pass

LIAF 2021, LIAF, London International Animation Festival Figures in Focus

LIAF 2021 is back and we are super-excited to be opening our festival live and in-cinema with a celebration of radical animators making politically charged work. At a time in the UK when our right to protest is being challenged, this programme reflects on the power of animation to spread a message. The title is a nod to the seminal work Oh Bondage Up Yours! by British, feminist, punk pioneer Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex and its message to revolt against the subjugation that women face in society.

The programme features contemporary animations about issues that continue to be questioned, such as gender equality, body image, gay rights, maternity, sexual harassment, and women’s sexual agency. Works by daring animators demonstrate how animators are presenting an alternative viewpoint to the status quo through their experimental and artistic work.

Figures in Focus, (previously called Female Figures) was devised in 2017 by Animation Producer and Programmer Abigail Addison, in recognition of the under-representation of female and non-binary animators and their stories within the independent animation sector, the programme spotlights some of the incredible work crafted by contemporary animators, both in the UK and internationally.

After the screening there will be a panel discussion led by Abigail, with filmmakers Comfort Arthur, Stacy Bias, Birgitta Hosea and Lily Ash Sakula. SCREENTALK AT VENUE ONLY.

The LIAF opening programme is a festival favourite – numbers are strictly limited. Book early to avoid heartbreak.


Abigail Addison

Abigail-AddisonAbigail Addison is a producer, programmer, and director of Animate Projects, an agency working at the intersection of film, art, and animation. Abigail is also the short animation programmer at Edinburgh International Film Festival and has produced screening programmes and chaired events for the Austrian Culture Forum, Underwire Festival, Japan Foundation London, Strangelove Time Based Media Festival, Vienna Shorts and the London International Animation Festival.

Comfort Arthur

Comfort Arthur,Comfort Arthur is a British born Ghanaian award-winning animator, illustrator, and visual artist. She trained at the Royal College of Art before moving to Ghana to set up The Comfy Studio. Her short film Black Barbie has screened in more than 50 film festivals across the world and has won several awards. She is the first Ghanaian animator to win the African Academy Movie awards for best animation for her web series I’m Living in Ghana Get Me Out of Here. She also teaches animation and has worked with the Ladima Film Academy to facilitate animation workshops for women in Africa.

Stacy Bias

Stacy BiasStacy Bias is an activist, artist and animator living in the UK. She creates 2D animations with a focus on storytelling for social change. 20 years of activism informs her practice and current works combine ethnographic research with animation to create humanising narratives that amplify marginalised voices. This work highlights and celebrates the resilience, creativity, and strength of those living at the margins of social inclusion while also confronting the damaging ideologies that require those skills.

Birgitta Hosea

Birgitta Hosea photo by Caroline KerslakeBirgitta Hosea is a time-based media artist working with expanded animation and experimental drawing to create durational images, live performances, experiential installations and short films that expand the concept of the moving image out of the screen and into the present moment. Recent exhibitions include National Gallery X; Venice & Karachi Biennales; Oaxaca & Chengdu Museums of Contemporary Art; InspiralLondon and Hanmi Gallery, Seoul. Currently Professor of Moving Image at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, she was previously Head of Animation at the Royal College of Art.

Lily Ash Sakula

Lily Ash SakulaLily Ash Sakula is a trans non-binary artist and animator. They make collaborative films that link different generations and communities; creating space for chaotic fertility and collective brilliance. Lily is interested in capturing instances of joy, flashes of excitement and glimpses of practical utopias; creating magical spaces in which social norms can be broken. They seek through their work to be an active practitioner of radical hope.


Join the Freedom Force – Martha Colburn, USA

Join the Freedom Force, Martha Colburn, LIAF, London International Animation FestivalProtesters from around the world mix with nudists, Greenpeace demonstrators and punks.

2009 4 min

Betti – Zsuzsanna Ács, Hungary

Betti, Zsuzsanna Ács, LIAF, London International Animation FestivalBetti, a freedom loving punk and cab driver shares her reflections on the negative stereotypes people attribute to taxi drivers and the recent demonstrations against Uber.

watch trailer

2018 5 min

Erasure – Birgitta Hosea, UK

Erasure, Birgitta Hosea, LIAF, London International Animation FestivalPhysical labour creates the world around us – constructing buildings, manufacturing goods, cooking, cleaning… yet all too often this work remains unrecognised and invisible.

2017 3 min

Anna, Cat and Mouse – Varya Yakovleva, Russia

Anna, Cat and Mouse, Varya Yakovleva, LIAF, London International Animation FestivalAbout abuse, cats, and matchboxes.

2020 5 min

watch trailer

Scum Mutation – OV, France

Scum Mutation, OV, LIAF, London International Animation FestivalHere you are SCUM, a creature in a cage. Inside the rage of our time, your individual and societal wound questions our visceral link to violence. SCUM, in your silicon hands young germs are growing and mutating.

2020 10 min

watch trailer

Service – Yang Yu Jung, Lee Mi Sun & Jeong Sun Ha, South Korea

Service, Yang Yu Jung, Lee Mi Sun, Jeong Sun Ha, LIAF, London International Animation FestivalA woman working in the service industry is routinely exposed to personal attacks and abusive comments. One day she gets tired of this daily routine.

2015 4 min

Hot Flash – Thea Hollatz, Canada

Hot Flash, Thea Hollatz, LIAF, London International Animation FestivalA journey into the funny, uncomfortable, and sometimes maddening world of an ageing professional woman navigating a culture that puts great emphasis on physical appearance.

2019 10 min

Black Barbie – Comfort Arthur, UK/Ghana

Black Barbie, Comfort Arthur, LIAF, London International Animation FestivalThe filmmaker recollects her personal journey with skin bleaching products and questions societal ideals of beauty.

2016 4 min

watch trailer

Happy and Gay – Lorelei Pepi, USA

Happy and Gay, Lorelei Pepi, LIAF, London International Animation FestivalA revisionist history, 1930s style, cartoon musical that queers the power of representation, whilst reminding us of the early cartoon era’s acts of censorship, prejudice, and stereotype.

2014 10 min

watch trailer

Tiger and Ox – Seunghee Kim, South Korea

Tiger and Ox, Seunghee Kim, LIAF, London International Animation FestivalWhat does divorce mean to women in Korean patriarchal society? Is a fatherless family failure? A single mother and her daughter are determined to find some answers.

2019 8 min

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Eyes – Lily Ash Sakula, UK

LIAF, London International Animation FestivalAn exploration of existence outside the gender binary, embodying the tension between being looked at and being seen. Created in conversation with LGBTQ+ youth. Music by Big Joanie.

2019 5 min

watch trailer

Asmahan the Diva – Chloé Mazlo, France

Asmahan the Diva, Chloé Mazlo, LIAF, London International Animation FestivalMarriages, espionage, lovers, alcohol, poker, murders, scandals. Asmahan the Diva’s voice still resonates in the Middle East and her mysterious death in the waters of the Nile feeds the wildest rumours.

2019 6 min

Flying While Fat – Stacy Bias, UK

Flying While Fat, Stacy Bias, LIAF, London International Animation FestivalBodies come in all sizes, but sadly physical spaces do not. A look at the financial and social exclusions that determine whose body is considered and whose body is not in the creation of material medians.

2016 6 min


Our Funding Partners

Arts Council England
With Special Thanks to the Arts Council England


Film London, Film Hub London, BFI FAN, National Lottery

Event supported by Film Hub London, managed by Film London. Proud to be a partner of the BFI Film Audience Network, funded by the National Lottery.