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Manchester Animation Festival 2023 Line-up Announced

Manchester Animation Festival,
the UK's biggest animation event, is back for 2023. The festival has announced its programme for this year. Also unveiled today is the festival's official sting, which is animated by Will Belcher, the Oscar-nominated director of Shaun The Sheep: Farmageddon.

Tickets are on sale to Patreon backers from Wednesday, September 27. They go on general sale from noon on Friday, September 29.

There are over 100 events including screenings of features and shorts, panels and making-of presentations, masterclasses workshops and the annual MAF Awards. Events take place across the city from Home cinema to The Bridgewater Hall between November 12-17.

Highlights from the line-up include an advance screening of the highly anticipated Aardman sequel Chicken Run: Dawn Of The Nugget. Also receiving a preview is the first three episode of Netflix and Science Saru's Scott Pilgrim Takes Off.

This year's making of sessions are headed up by  Chicken Run: Dawn Of The Nugget, fronted by Senior Animator, Suzy Fagan Parr. Comic book artist and animation producer ND Stevenson will be there to talk about Netflix and Annapurna Animation's fantasy adventure Nimona. From Disney, Producer Juan Pablo Reyes Lancaster Jones will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the Studio's upcoming feature Wish.

This year's feature selection includes Kensuke’s Kingdom based on the Michael Morpurgo novel,  White Plastic Sky the Hungarian sci-fi film, Annecy Cristal-nominee Mars Express, The Peasants, the handpainted drama from the producers of Loving Vincent and French comedy A Chicken For Linda.

Studio panels include triple Oscar-winners Passion Pictures led by Executive Producer and Head of Production, David Park. Groundbreaking African studio Kugali, led by CEO, Hamid Ibrahim talks how they defied conventional norms to make a mark on the digital landscape.

Magic Light Pictures At 20 is a special event to celebrate the anniversary of the Oscar-nominated and BAFTA-winning studio. The team behind favourites such as The Gruffalo and Stick Man offer unique insight into their production.

This year's spotlight country is Croatia. There will be two screenings of Croatian films- one classic and one modern. Attendees will also be able to hear all about contemporary Croatian animated from filmmaker Kata Gugić of Bonobostudio

MAF will also host curated programmes of films that cover the themes of  'Divert, Delight, Defy: Animating Trans Identities’ and Animated Africa.

Additional panels include The Art Of The Music Video and an in depth discussion of the BBC's Children's InitiativeInform, Educate, Animate. There will be industry excellence sessions in storyboarding and character design.

MAFS family day also returns for 2023. It includes festival favourites such as The BBC Boxset, dedicated family events and screenings, as well as workshops from Claymation and LEGO Stop-motion. It will reveal the secrets of creating beloved shows to young festival-goers. The Young Animator Award also returns for this year open to young filmmakers from across the country aged 11-18.

The festival will climax. as every year, with the awards ceremony. The show will be presented by returning host National Comedy Awards 2023 nominee, comedian and actor Amy Gledhill. The Film awards will include Best Feature Film, Best Short Film, Best Student Film, Best Children’s Film, Best Commissioned Film, Best Immersive Film and new for this year, ‘Best British Film’. As previously revealed MAF is now an Oscar-qualifying festival, so the winner of Best Short is automatically qualified for the Academy Awards. Across the festival 103 short films were selected, representing 26 countries.

Additionally, at the ceremony, the industry excellence awards will be handed out. The awards recognise achievement in the fields of writing, storyboarding, character design and character animation.

MAF's industry day has been renamed Animation Nation Forum. Taking place on Thursday, November 16, the event will feature a to-be-announced key-note presentation. A panel packed with animation heavyweights will discuss the state of play in animation, plus there will be panels dedicated to A.I. and pitching surgeries.

Festival director Steve Henderson says: "It’s been a big, exciting year for MAF with news of our Oscar Qualifying status and the momentum hasn’t stopped! Myself and the team are delighted to be bringing the world of animation to Manchester this November and presenting some of the best films from across the world and giving our audiences the chance to hear from the best people in the world of animation! We look forward to welcoming audiences to Manchester to see something amazing."

Manchester Animation Festival runs from November 12-17 in-person with online events running from November 18-30. Visit the festival website for more