The online home of the London International Animation Festival.

LIAF 2021: UK Animation Industry Event Session 1 – LIAF, Death and Robots

December 4, 2021
11:00 am
ONLINE only book tickets

LIAF, London International Animation FestivalLIAF presents the 2021 UK Animation Industry Event – six panels giving insider access to some of the hottest topics of the year. 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.

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 a look into the minds of some of the most creative forces making music videos in the 2020’s, the advance of games engines, teaching kids with animation, how to get more people with disabilities into animation roles, current UK funding opportunities and a deep dive into the technology behind the Netflix series ‘Love, Death and Robots’.

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

The panels will be chaired by Saint John Walker, Deputy Dean/Director at Escape Studios and Julian Scott, animation consultant at Film London.

LIAF 2021: UK Animation Industry Event Session 1: LIAF, Death and Robots

Netflix’s second series of the adult animated anthology Love Death and Robots emerged in May 2021 with Oscar-nominated director David Fincher as one of the prominent executive producers. Described as “an enjoyable thought-provoking buffet of animated wonders and wickedness”  the visceral, horrific or darkly comedic episodes feature the work of three UK studios – Passion Pictures, Axis Studio and Blinkink.  Robert Valley (Passion Pictures) directed Ice featuring an ice-covered colony planet and marauding ice whales. Axis Studio supplied Tall Grass by director Simon Otto complete with Lovecraftian ghouls. BlinkInk’s Elliot Dear directed the sixth episode All Through the House, a Christmas Eve demonic encounter.

We gathered together some of the team who worked on these productions to ask about how they see the future of such series, and why animation still has the power to push boundaries and be visceral and cutting edge.

Chaired by Saint John Walker – Deputy Dean/Director at Escape Studios, the UK’s leading VFX, Games and Animation industry training institution in the heart of London.


Chair:  Saint John Walker – Deputy Dean/Director at Escape Studios

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, Saint John WalkerSaint is the author of the Core Skills of VFX Handbook and has designed and run VFX courses across the UK. He has been LIAF’s industry panel coordinator and chair for several years, as well as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. At Escape he has chaired panel discussions for the annual VFX Festival, and has taken part in many Access:VFX activities online and in person.

Caleb Bouchard – Executive producer at Axis Studios

Caleb BouchardCaleb uses his extensive background in design, animation, and post-production to deliver Axis Studios‘ projects to the highest artistic standard. Before Axis, Caleb spent eight years guiding a start-up Canadian animation company from 2 employees to 20, tackling animation, title sequences, game cinematics and more while also supervising a bustling post-production facility. He brings this experience to Axis, marrying his knowledge of various mediums and production styles with his technical ability and artistic eye to manage a broad spectrum of projects, including a number of IP’s in the development team. Outside of work he collaborates with musicians and DJs to create innovative audiovisual experiences under the name &/OR.

Simon Otto – Freelance Director & Animator

Simon OttoBorn and raised in Gommiswald, just outside of Zurich in Switzerland, Simon began his career carving commercial snow sculptures and drawing news cartoons for his hometown newspaper. He left Switzerland to study at Les Gobelins Animation School in Paris, France. After graduating, he received additional animation training through an internship with Walt Disney Feature Animation. He has also had significant roles on the animated features The Prince of Egypt, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Flushed Away and Over the Hedge. Simon is known for his work as the Head of Character Animation on all three How to Train Your Dragon films for DreamWorks Animation. Most recently, he directed an episode for Netflix’ cult series Love, Death & Robots called The Tall Grass. He is currently directing That Christmas, an animated feature for Locksmith Animation, written by Richard Curtis.

Bart Yates – Executive Producer & Partner at BlinkInk

Bart YatesBorn in Brisbane, Australia, Bart started his career in the music industry. After moving to London in 1999, he joined advertising agency WCRS as a runner and moved swiftly into TV production. In 2002 he joined Blink as a producer. In 2005 Bart founded Blinkink, their dedicated animation division, and became a partner in 2010. Over the years he’s helped develop Blink into the multi-faceted entertainment group that they are today. Highlights include their Emmy-award winning episode of Netflix’s Love Death + Robots – All Through The House, music videos with Iron Maiden, Dua Lipa, Gorillaz and Elton John, and commercials including Harvey Nichols’ Grand Prix winning ‘Shoplifters’, John Lewis’ animated classic ‘The Bear & The Hare’, and the embroidered BBC World Cup trailer ‘The Tapestry’. They are currently in production with Channel 4 on Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared their cult puppet horror comedy series, as well as projects with HBO, Netflix and Disney+.

Rob Valley

Robert ValleyRob Valley is an award-winning illustrator, animator and director based in Vancouver, whose unmistakable style stands apart with its particularly angled line-work, sharp shadows and selective colour palette. Rob’s career has spanned far and wide: designing and directing a string of Gorillaz music videos, character design for feature films like Disney’s Tron: Uprising, as well as directing commercials for Nike, Levis and Coke amongst others. Rob’s short film Pear Cider and Cigarettes – which he illustrated and animated himself – won an Annie award and was nominated for an Academy Award. In 2019, Rob directed the critically acclaimed short film Zima Blue as part of the Netflix anthology series Love, Death & Robots. He returned for the second series, with Ice set in a future where many humans are enhanced with extraordinary strength and endurance, and how a rift between two brothers puts their lives at risk during a dangerous race.

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.