Notes from the Flip Press Launch

This morning was the press launch for the Flip Animation Festival, taking place at Light House, Wolverhamton, from November 1st – 3rd. I was there, so I guess I’m “press” these days.

The launch was introduced by Dave Harte of Digital Central with a few of his obligatory stats (apparently the West Mids has 30% more startups in film, tv and animation than anywhere else in the country – [Update: see comments for Dave’s clarification of this]) followed by 20 minutes of screenings in including the Animation Forum’s showreel. Since this was included in the goodybag on DVD I’ve ripped it and uploaded it to YouTube. It seemed the right thing to do.

There was also a showing of Natalie Hinchley and Chris Randall’s The Animal Book, previously blogged here and I’m happy to say it’s as glorious as you’d hope. Good work chaps.

After the screening was a Q&A hosted by Sara Harris from Animation Forum with David Ledsam from Screen Burn, Chris Randall from Second Home, Peter McClusky from Light House, Alan Batson from Friends and Heroes and Dan Lawson from Screen WM.

I made notes. Here they are.

Regarding the importance of a real world festival in the age of online distribution and promotion through YouTube the panel said an event was important, primarily for the animators as a networking opportunity and a chance to get out of dark studios and away from computer screens. Alongside this was a chance to meet the next generation face to face through student competitions and graduate showings.

There the fact that it was curated was also appreciated, putting specific works in the formal context of a cinema rather bubbling through the morass online.

For the local scene it was good to have a landmark event in the year giving some cohesion and promotion for the regional industry on an international level.

It was nice to hear that University graduates are concentrating more on storytelling these days whereas previously technique would have been dominant, implying students are more at home with the technology these days.

A question about where the large animation studios were was answered by David Ledsam saying that there used to be bigger companies in the past but they suffered from not having consistent workloads. These have been replaced with smaller outfits who are able to survive through the droughts and expand when work appears. There’s also an international aspect with Friends and Heroes specifically spread across the globe having animators in Korea and writers in LA. While they have a 3D studio in Birmingham it’s only a part of their business.

I made a note of The Character Shop, based in the Jewellery Quarter, but I’m not sure in what context. Worth linking to them though.

There were a few mentions of the Animation Forum which is primarily a networking organization providing opportunities for local animators to get together and share information. The next event of theirs is Animation in the YouTube Generation on November 2nd which, tying things up nicely, is part of the Flip Festival.

Also in the goodybag was a USB dongle which, cleverly, was loaded with high-res images from the animations on show. If you’re blogging about the festival you might find them useful so here’s a 10mb zip of them.

As it’s still a few weeks away I’ll be posting more about Flip nearer the time but you can follow their blog for updates. It does, unfortunately, clash with Gigbeth but most of the events are during they day so it’s possible to do both. Which I intend to.

The event then finished and we had food. Which was handy as I was hungry. Pretty good spread all told.


  1. Good to see you there today Pete. Here’s a correction from me about the stats. As soon as I said the words ‘30% more’ today I knew I’d gotten a couple of things mixed up in my head. The word ‘more’ is the misleading one and I got the figure wrong too. Doh!

    Here’s what I should have said:
    “Between 2001 and 2005 there was a 31% increase in TV & Radio businesses in the West Midlands.”

    Leaving it there is impressive but we should correctly place that in the context of the UK:

    “In the same period in England as a whole there was a 27% increase.”

    So the difference is in fact a mere 4%.

    However, the number of business units doing motion picture and video production grew by 33% in England as a whole, but grew at a much higher rate in the West Midlands (46%).

    So in that category we grew 13% more which is genuinely impressive. Animation actually spills into both categories as the SIC code system doesn’t allow it a code for itself.

    Hope that’s a bit clearer. I was tempted to let the bad stat stand but as soon as I saw it here I felt guilty and had to correct it.

    Source is from an AWM report on the Digital Central website.


  2. The CharacterShop has produced all of the 3D content for the series with over 300 character models, 250 backgrounds, all animation, effects and lighting.
    (lifted from the site).

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