A star line-up of some of the biggest names in animation and computer games are set to visit Teesside University for the annual Animex Festival, which brings industry experts and enthusiasts from the global animation and games community to Teesside.
This year’s international festival of animation and computer games is from Monday 8 February to Friday 12 February.
Among headline speakers is Dan Lund, effects animator from Walt Disney Animation Studios, who worked on massive animated feature Frozen. He will talk about his expertise in visual effects, having worked with Disney for over two decades and been involved in many of the studio’s hit films.
Dan’s current project is Aria for a Cow, an animated musical short with a global team, which has included Teesside University graduates Bianca Iancu and Chris Bowman.
Also from Disney is Renato Dos Anjos, head of animation on forthcoming animation, Zootropolis. Renato will talk about his work on this much anticipated feature which is set to reach the UK after Animex.
Gabrielle Kent, Festival Organiser and Senior Lecturer in Computer Games Development at Teesside University, said: 'We are delighted to have Renato in attendance at this year's Animex to give a behind the scenes look at the development of a feature that hasn't even reached the UK yet.'
And for gaming fans, there is an opportunity to hear from Derek Sakamato of Blizzard Entertainment, creators of massively popular World of Warcraft. Derek will be talking about UI (User Interface) design for the exceptionally popular card collecting game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.
Gabrielle said: 'I have been working on getting Blizzard Entertainment to Animex since starting Animex Game back in 2003.
'To finally have one of their top designers coming to Teesside for their Animex debut is incredibly exciting. It's unsurprising that we had a surge in ticket sales the minute Derek was announced as a speaker.'
Animex attracts hundreds of people from across the globe and is the largest festival of its kind in the UK. In recent years it has expanded with Animex South East Asia, a two-day event held in Malaysia.
UK and European talent will also be showcased with Avalanche Studios, creators of the Mad Max game and Just Cause series; Paris based DONTNOD behind award winning episodic game Life is Strange; and Will Byles from Guildford based Supermassive Games, creators of the highly acclaimed horror Until Dawn.
Also joining the speakers is Teesside graduate Neil McKnight, who went on to work with a range of successful studios such as BioWare on the Mass Effect series. He will talk about his work creating spaceships for Foundry 42's Star Citizen, a game so hotly anticipated it raised over 52 million dollars in crowd funding.
Gabrielle added: 'Animex is a truly inspirational event and an opportunity for us to celebrate our love of games and animation with colleagues and friends from across the globe.'