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Manchester Animation Festival Announces 'Calamity' UK Premiere and More [updated]

Manchester Animation Festival,
the UK's biggest animation festival is headed online in November. The first wave of events have already been announced, but the festival has now announced the features and further events for this year's program.

These are headlined by the UK premiere of feature. Calamity: A Child Of Martha Jane Canary. The hand-drawn film is based on the childhood of Calamity Jane, and is written and directed by Remi Chaye, director of Long Way North and assistant director on The Secret Of Kells and The Painting. The online screening will be followed by a Q&A with Remi Chaye.

Also added are a Q&A with French artist and director Aurel (aka Aurélien Froment) on his animated feature debut Josep, and comedy storytelling event Mock-Tales in which teams compete to make one-minute trailers for non-existent movies.

BBC's Children's department will also present a selection of 'box-sets' of their biggest hits including Dennis and Gnasher Unleashed, Shaun The Sheep and Scream Street.

The Festival has also announced the nominations for the industry excellence awards. The winners will be announced during the ceremony streamed on Thursday, November 26 at 20:00




  • Phillip Warner for Hey Duggee
  • Catherine Salkeld for Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed!
  • Estrela Lourenco for My Little Pony: Pony Life
  • Mick Harrison for Daisy & Ollie
  • Giulia Caruso & Francesco Cipolla for Rescue Bots Academy: Power Up and Energize




  • Alex Collier for Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed!: Pranksy
  • Evgenia Golubeva & Myles McLeod for Kit’n’Kate: The Tallest Tower
  • Sophie Dutton for Hey Duggee: The Puzzle Badge
  • Sam Morrison for Hey Duggee: The Tooth Brushing Badge
  • Adam Redfern, Jon Foster and James Lamont for Paddington Christmas Special: The Lost Letter



Character Design

  • Ross Phillips for Hey Duggee
  • Golden Wolf for KFC: Good Luck on the 25th
  • Evgenia Golubeva for Mia’s Magic Playground
  • Neev Brennan for Pins and Nettie
  • Jardine Sage for Dog Loves Books


Character Animation

  • Federico Bernasconi for Dennis & Gnasher: Unleashed!
  • Golden Wolf for Overwatch League Grand Finals
  • Delwyn Jude Remedios for Save Our Species
  • Quentin Haberham for The Clangers
  • Arianna Gheller for Every Time I Run


The full line-up of new events is below. Full details and tickets from the MAF Website. The festival will run November 15-30.


Thursday 19 November

FEATURE: Calamity, a Childhood of Martha Jane Cannary (screening) UK PREMIERE
1863, United States of America.

12-year-old Martha Jane and her family are headed West in a large covered wagon train in search of a better life. After Martha Jane's father is hurt in a serious accident, she takes charge of her siblings and learns to drive the family wagon. She has never felt so free. Utterly practical and bold, Martha Jane dresses as a boy and becomes increasingly troublesome for the community due to her outspoken braveness. When the leader of the convoy wrongly accuses her of theft, she runs away to find proof of her innocence...

In the Wild, she discovers herself and a world which shapes her and confirms her unique personality... revealing the mythical and slightly mysterious Calamity Jane.

Thu 19 November 20:00 – 20:45 (live)  

Put your questions Rémi Chayé, the director of Calamity, a Childhood of Martha Jane Cannary.Guest: Rémi Chayé 

Tuesday 17 November (20:00 – 20:45)

Josep Q&A 

Put your questions Aurel, the director of Josep.

Guest: Aurel

Thursday 19 November (21:00 - 22:30)

Mock-Tales – Storyboarding Jam and Social

Join comedians Hal Branson and Matt Reed for an evening of storytelling silliness and socialising with Mock-Tales. Prepare yourself a signature cocktail (or mocktail), dress as daft as you can and set your creative juices flowing as teams are charged with writing and scribbling a hilarious one-minute trailer for a fictitious feature in a fast paced and funny story jam to remember!

This event is supported by Sharp Futures.

Thursday 19 November (13:00 – 14:15)

Paperless Animation in ToonBoom Harmony

ToonBoom Harmony is used by artists and studios all around the world, and is recognised for the power it delivers in creating character rigs for series work, but Harmony has some incredible tools for hand drawn animation as used in feature films such as Klaus.

In this masterclass, Marie-Éve will show you how she creates hand drawn animation in a classical style using brushes and textures along with many tips and tricks.

MAF Quest

Hosted on MAF Twitter account follow @mcranimation for details!

Hosted for free on MAF’s twitter account, beat the boredom at home with MAFQuest! Fun & inventive challenges to test your creativity, with a few prizes thrown in for the best entries. Join us for a creative social media scavenger hunt with a difference!

This event is supported by Sharp Futures

Thursday 19 November (18:00 - 18:45)

Passion Roundtable  

Passion Pictures directors Andy Martin, Anna Mantzaris, Mad’s Broni, and Maryka and Quentin will be joining

BBC Family Boxset

Available Sunday 15 November only

Presenting a "blam-tastic" boxset of family favourites from CBeebies and CBBC featuring Dennis and Gnasher Unleashed, Shaun the Sheep, Boy Girl Dog Cat Mouse Cheese, Scream Street, Teddles, Love Monster, Pablo, JoJo and Gran Gran and more.

Films in Competition Directors Q&A

You’ve seen the shorts, now put your questions to some of the directors of your favourite animated works screening as part of MAF 2020.

Commissioned Films in Competition Director Q&A
- Tuesday 24 November 19:00 - 19:45

Student Films in Competition Director Q&A - Wednesday 25 November 19:00 - 19:45

Short Films in Competition Director Q&A - Thursday 26 November 19:00 - 19:45

IEA Workshops

The MAF Industry Excellence Award Workshops allow experts to deliver intimate workshops to small groups of people, focusing on specialist subjects and giving insider information and top tips from those at the top of their game!

Scriptwriting Workshop with Jasmine Phull - Monday 23 November (13:00 - 15:00)

Storyboarding Workshop with Jez Hall - Tuesday 24 November (13:00 - 15:00) 

Character Animation Workshop with Ere Santos - Wednesday 25 November (13:00 - 15:00)  

Character Design Workshop with Katri Valkamo - Thursday 26 November (13:00 - 15:00)




The festival has added a screening of Cartoon Saloon's new film Wolfwalkers. The film will be available as part of the festival for a limited time from midday Wednesday November 18 to midday Saturday 21. Audiences will also be able to submit questions to directors Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart in a live Q&A on Wednesday 18.

Tomm Moore will also present a  behind the scenes of his film for Greenpeace, There's A Monster In My Kitchen. The event will be available to stream throughout the festival excluively for Festival Passholders.