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Middlesbrough draws global animated talent

28 January 2008


Talented animators and computer games artists from across the world will converge on Middlesbrough next week. As the University of Teesside is hosting the annual Animex International Festival of Animation & Computer Games. 

Now in its ninth year, Animex will be held at the University and a range of venues across the Tees Valley, from 4-8 February.  The festival ends with presentations from international speakers who have created animation for box office hits. 

Mark Walsh, one of the speakers (pictured), is from Pixar Animation Studios in California.  He was Directing Animator on Finding Nemo, which was screened on BBC One on Christmas Day.  He was also part of the animation team behind The Incredibles and supervising animator for the 2007 box office hit and Oscar-nominated film Ratatouille.

Mark will deliver the keynote speech at Animex, along with Stuart Sumida, Professor of Biology at California State University.  Stuart has provided advice on the movement and physiology of animals in numerous big-screen successes including Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Scooby-Doo and of course Ratatouille.  Stuart and Mark’s talk, entitled The Science and Art of Ratatouille, will describe their collaboration on the film.

Animex will be a busy time for Mark Walsh, as he will also meet Teesside students for an animation workshop and introduce a screening of Finding Nemo at Middlesbrough’s Cineworld to an audience of local primary schoolchildren.    

Chris Williams, Animex Director, said: ‘In this, our ninth year, it's fantastic that we have been able to secure so many brilliant speakers and organise events that anybody can get involved in.  Animex is now incredibly well regarded around the world and is going from strength to strength as one of the foremost events on the animation and games calendar. It's our tenth anniversary next year and we're already planning some major names and extra special events for everybody to take part in.’

Other Animex highlights include:  Animex Game, which will explore the latest developments in computer games, with sessions on graphics in the high definition era, games audio design, scriptwriting, art and design.  Animex Game will also feature, for the first time, a workshop for supporting disabled students through computer games.  The workshop has been devised by The Higher Education Academy Subject Centre for Information and Computer Sciences and the University’s Accessibility Research Centre.

The workshop is aimed at academics including PhD students who have an interest in using computer games in education and specifically with disabled students.  During the day delegates will hear from colleagues who are researching in this area, with the opportunity to use some of the developed games.

Animexperience offers an insight into animation and computer games for anyone of any age.  The Animex team has teamed up with the Extended Schools Project, Local Children’s Network and the Every Child Matters scheme to deliver exciting projects to children in and around the Tees Valley region.

Animex has also joined the BBC bus as it tours local schools with onboard animation tutors and media professionals. Saltburn Community Cinema, in association with DigitalCity, will also deliver screenings, talks and questions and answer sessions.

Animex Screen will display the best student work from around the world direct from the Animex Student Animation Awards, both at the University and Middlesbrough’s Cineworld.  Animex is also hosting the British Animation Awards: Public Choice screenings.  This gives the Teesside audience an opportunity to see the best in British animation from the last two years and vote for their favourites, along with audiences from all over the UK. For more details, call 01642 342631 or email

More information on the Animex website
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