Each year we search for the finest panel of judges: educators, independent animators, producers, authors, curators and more. All are experts in their field and all possess an informed and exploratory eye for excellence in the animation world. This year we are honoured to welcome the following judges.
International Competition Programmes and British Showcase Judges
Anna is an award winning filmmaker with a diverse skillset including stop motion, live action and her signature hand drawn 2D animation. Known for inventive transitions, visually rich storytelling and a fearless perspective, Anna is able to move with dexterity between the emotive and the playful. Anna is a recipient of the prestigious ADC Young Guns Award, Vimeo Staff Picks, an Annecy Cristal, a British Arrows award as well as a BAFTA for her music video for Bombay Bicycle Club. Anna has directed films for the BBC, CNN and Selfridges. Anna’s films What is Beauty and Ugly approach the issues of body image, female representation and refugee stories thoughtfully yet directly.
Kieran is the Senior Producer for the British Animation Awards – the leading biennial awards organisation for the UK animation industry. Kieran is an experienced animation Project Manager and Events Producer with comprehensive knowledge of UK and international animation. He has a strong track record in event curation, project management, creative training provision and public and industry engagement. For fifteen years Kieran worked at Aardman Animations where he established the Events and Exhibitions Department. During this time he produced exhibitions including working with the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo. He has also served on several international film festivals and award juries including BAFTA. He is a co-founder of the Encounters Festival in Bristol where he served as the Animation Programmer 2010 – 2021. Kieran is also one of the UK Ambassadors for the European Animation Awards and a founding member of the Alliance of British Animation Exhibitors (ABAE).
Gabriel is a UK based filmmaker and artist from Zurich, Switzerland. His films have qualified for the Academy Awards and the European Film Awards. He has an interest in memory and the absurd, and his practice often focuses on passing ideas. Gabriel left a career in management consulting in 2013, following the release of his novel Beetle Days. In 2015 he published the book of paintings Tomorrow I’ll Go Outside, and in 2017 he began animating his painted stories.
Abstract Showcase Competition Judges
Joanna has directed, animated, and produced 32 award winning films and the iOS app Clam Bake. Her animated feature North of Blue won Best Experimental Film at the Indie Film Awards in Amsterdam and Best Feature Film at the Los Angeles Animation Festival. Priestley’s work maintains a high level of porosity between serious exploration of boundaries and intuitive whimsy, and she is dedicated to experimentation. She has had retrospectives at the British Film Institute (London), Museum of Modern Art (New York), Center for Contemporary Art (Warsaw, Poland), American Cinematheque (Los Angeles), Hiroshima International Animation Festival (Japan), Jeonju International Film Festival (South Korea) and the Animation Masters Summit (Trivandrum, India). Priestley has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, American Film Institute, MacDowell Colony, Fundación Valparaíso and Creative Capital. She was founding president of ASIFA Northwest and she is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Short Films and Feature Animation Executive Committee. Priestley annually juries the Oscars, Student Academy Awards and many other film festivals and her other passions include medicinal herbalism and creating projects at Burning Man.
Robert started his professional career as a cartographer whilst making slideshows and cine films in his spare time. In 1991 he took an MA in Electronic Arts and Graphics at Coventry University. Here he created his first computer animation The Sleeper. In 1993 he was awarded an Arts Council of England Animate! grant to make End of Restriction a 5-minute film created on an early home computer that enters the claustrophobic world of a teenager boy living in an English village. He completed Home Road Movies in 2001 for Channel 4 and the Arts Council of England National Lottery. The film tells the true story of his father and their family car and went on to be nominated for a Bafta and won some of the most prestigious awards in animation including the Cartoon d’Or in 2004. Robert’s latest film Dead Air, which deals with the unstoppable nature of ‘change’ in our communities, premiered at the 2014 London Film Festival. As well as being Senior Tutor at the National Film and TV School, he gives talks and storytelling workshops to colleges, festivals and production companies around the world.
Late Night Bizarre and Music Video Judges
Will is a BAFTA winning Writer/Director from the Scottish Highlands. Will’s first short film The Making of Longbird won over 30 awards internationally at film festivals & received a British Academy Award in 2013. Since then he has written and directed other short films including Monkey Love Experiments with co-director, Ainslie Henderson, Have Heart, (BAFTA Film nominee 2018), and Betty (2021). His feature film ‘A Cat Called Dom’ has just been released and won the Powell and Pressburger Award for best feature film at the 2022 Edinburgh International Film Festival. Will also works as a freelance writer, director & animator on film, television, web & interactive projects. Broadcasters include BBC, [Adult Swim] & MTV.
Ainslie is a Writer/Director/Animator/ who, in 2012 was awarded a BAFTA for co-writing The Making of Longbird. Ainslie’s following short films I Am Tom Moody and Monkey Love Experiments were both BAFTA nominated, and have won over 60 international festival awards, including; Best British short at Encounters, and the Jury crystal at Annecy. ‘Moving On’- his music video for the band ‘James’ has clocked up over 1.9m plays on Vimeo, and was awarded the UK’s Best animated music video. Stems was awarded the Edinburgh International Film Festival’s McLaren award. In 2016, He and creative partner Will Anderson produced the animated content for Martin Green’s show ‘Flit’, which toured internationally and was awarded 4 stars in the Guardian newspaper. His feature film A Cat Called Dom has just been released and won the Powell and Pressburger Award for best feature film at the 2022 Edinburgh International Film Festival, and his most recent short film Shackle is just about to hit the festival circuit.
Children’s Competition Judges
Lilith Silver (15 years old) & Martha Stanners (16 years old)
Lillith: 3 films I have loved: Whale Rider (2002), 101 Dalmatians (1961) and Titanic (1997)
Martha: 3 films I have loved: My Neighbour Totoro, Star Wars, and The Hunger Games.