This cathartic selection of artists’ animations includes films that delve into our darkest fears and our greatest hopes. Whilst we’re living through a time that feels eerily as though we are enduring characters in an unfolding disaster movie, and with the climate crisis ever present in our media and minds, these films proffer reflection, release, escapism, and hope.
Figures in Focus, (previously called Female Figures) was devised in 2017 by Abigail Addison, in recognition of the under-representation of female and non-binary animators and their stories within the independent animation sector. The programme showcases incredible work crafted by contemporary animators, both in the UK and internationally.
Content Warning: violence, blood, death, animal death, coronavirus, sexual harassment, sex, language, flashing imagery
Artists Qianhui Yu, Carla MacKinnon, Lauren Orme and Suraya Raja will join programmer Abigail Addison for a post-screening discussion.
Abigail is a Producer and Programmer. She is a Director of Animate Projects, an agency working at the intersection of film, art and animation, that produces award winning, innovative and experimental films. At Animate, Abigail co-produced BAFTA nominated I’m OK by Elizabeth Hobbs with the National Film Board of Canada, as well as the British Animation Awards nominated Bloomers by Samantha Moore. Additionally, she is the Training and Development Producer at production company Lupus Films. Abigail has been the Animation Programmer at Edinburgh International Film Festival for the last four years and has curated the Figures in Focus programme at London International Animation Festival since 2017.
Carla Mackinnon is an artist and researcher with a fascination for the process and potential of animation. Her professional background includes curating and producing film and public engagement events and producing short live action films and creative technology projects, as well as making films, visuals and installation work as an independent artist. Carla has a PhD in animated documentary production from Arts University Bournemouth, and currently teaches at Royal College of Art.
Lauren is an award-winning animator and director based in Cardiff, South Wales. She runs independent animation studio Picl Animation. Her work has been screened at over 100 festivals around the world, and her short film Creepy Pasta Salad was shortlisted for the 2020 Best Short Animation BAFTA and nominated for Best Short Film at the 2020 BAFTA Cymru awards. Lauren is also Festival Director of Cardiff Animation Festival. She has been running animation events since 2014, when she founded Cardiff Animation Nights, popular bi-monthly screenings of award-winning independent animated films from around the world in Cardiff City Centre.
Suraya Raja is an award winning Animation Director, and graduate of the National Film and Television School. Her films tell stories of the absurdity of human behaviour, the internal and the tragicomic, influenced by her previous work in psychology and social issues, and also by her day-to-day observations of human behaviour. She mixes animation techniques with live action, her curiosity often leading to new and playful ideas. Suraya is a BAFTA Connect member and has worked at Aardman Animations. She is currently writing and developing her own TV series.
Qianhui is a freelance Animation Director and Illustration artist based in Stoke-on-Trent. Her films include ‘Strange story in the bathroom’, ‘1 Day in Bodyland’, and ‘Wastopia’, her Royal College of Art MA Animation graduation project. ‘Wastopia’ premiered at Nowness Asia, and was selected for BFI Future Film Festival, Brighton International Animation Festival, and British Shorts Film Festival. Qian was commissioned by Can Can Press to create an animation for their book launch, and recently was commissioned by GIPHY. Qian has made editorial animations and illustrations for Bloomberg Businessweek, New York Times Book Review and Faber Children. She is represented by Talent Agency POCKO.
L’Heure de l’Ours (And Then The Bear) – Agnès Patron, France
That very night, houses will burn. Men and women will tremble. Hordes of children will come together and howl as they dance alone on the ashes like wild bears. It only takes one cry to awaken them all from their slumber!
2019 14’00 min
This film is not included in our online programme
Wastopia – Qianhui Yu, UK
An exploration of the issues surrounding global attitudes to waste disposal and the environmental pollution that inevitably follows. Strange creatures inhabit an otherworldly place with the products that humans discard.
2020 5’00 min
Godzalina – Lucile Paras, France
A young Parisian woman who’s being harassed in the streets and a creature who can shrink her opponents by roaring join forces to deal with overly pervasive men.
2022 5’00 min
Don’t Think of a Pink Elephant – Suraya Raja, UK
Layla fights daily against urges and compulsions, until challenged to face her darkest fears.
2017 8’00 min
Polka-dot Boy – Sarina Nihei, France
A boy suffers from a polka-dot disease on his arms for as long as he can remember. Encountering some peculiar events, he discovers a hidden connection between the disease and a religious group.
2020 8’00 min
The Flounder – Elizabeth Hobbs, UK
One day a humble fisherman catches an enchanted fish. Can the fish help him and his wife improve their lot?
2019 6’00 min
Are You Still Watching? – Alex Cardy, Kitty Chrystal & Tali Polichtuk, Australia
Forced into near isolation during Melbourne’s COVID lockdown, Jamie keeps themselves entertained bingeing on queer film and TV. What begins as mere escapism turns sensual when they start having sexual delusions involving their favourite queer characters.
2021 6’00 min
Devil in the Room – Carla MacKinnon, UK
Have you ever woken in the night unable to move, certain that you are not alone? An experimental documentary exploring what happens when dreams leak into waking life. It is about what is real, what is not, and if it even matters.
2014 8’00 min
Creepy Pasta Salad – Lauren Orme, UK
A werewolf with an anxiety disorder, a ghost with low self-confidence and a lonely witch muddle through their everyday lives.
2019 11’00 min
Something to Remember – Niki Lindroth von Bahr, Sweden
A lullaby before the great disaster. Two pigeons visit a zoo without animals, a snail measures his blood pressure at the doctor, in the CERN laboratory something has gone terribly wrong.
2019 5’00 min
This film is not included in our online programme
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