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Teesside University’s Animex Festival returns bigger and better than ever

03 May 2022


Experts from the world of animation who brought movie blockbusters such as Fantastic Beasts and Star Wars to life are set to converge on Teesside University for the return of the highly anticipated Animex Festival.

Attendees at a previous Animex Festival
Attendees at a previous Animex Festival

Animex is an annual international festival celebrating the best of animation, VFX and computer games and will also hear from those who have worked on huge franchises including Harry Potter, Shrek and Space Jam, as well as Canadian mega-star Drake’s new music video.

Now in its 23rd year, the event is set to return later this month, with more than 20 illustrious industry experts coming to Teesside University and Middlesbrough Town Hall between Monday 16 May and Sunday 22 May.

The festival presents screenings, workshops and exhibitions, and features an exciting line-up of animation, games and VFX expert speakers, who will share their unique insights into the industry, as well as interesting stories from behind the scenes of some of the world’s biggest animated titles and computer games.

BAFTA and Academy Award nominee Christian Manz, whose VFX expertise helped to bring the wizarding world to life in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, as well as its spin-off franchise Fantastic Beasts, is among the names confirmed on the impressive roster of speakers.

Also joining this year’s talented line-up of animation professionals is Taylor Moll, from DNEG, who worked on Shrek Forever After, Kung Fu Panda 2, and the critically acclaimed animation Ron’s Gone Wrong, which is streaming on Disney+.

The Animex Exhibition is set to feature the work of leading 2D animator Tina Nawrocki, whose credits include Netflix’s new series Green Eggs and Ham, blockbuster hit Space Jam: A New Legacy, as well as Drake’s new music video Knife Talk, for which she provided original animation.

Suvi Jokiniemi and Tom Raynor from Untold Studios will also discuss their work on the Super Bowl advertisement Push It for Frito Lay, which features seven impressively realistic and characterful creatures. Between them, the pair have also worked on huge titles including Solo: A Star Wars Story, Aladdin and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

Animex has confirmed an incredible range of computer games experts, including Christine Phelan from Valve. Best known for her work on the groundbreaking VR game, Half-Life: Alyx, Christine put her passion for field ecology into practice with her nightmarish creature animation for the game.

Tim Dawson and Wren Brier from Witch Beam Games are coming to talk about their award-winning indie game, Unpacking, which received a BAFTA.

Teesside University is also proud to welcome a number of graduates back to campus, including Chris Goodyear and Bianca Iancu, who are returning as expert speakers having forged successful careers in animation, VFX and games after completing their studies.

Teesside University has established itself as a global leader in animation, games and VFX training over the years, not least through its Animex Festival, which has garnered an international reputation for excellence since it was founded in 2000.

Tim Brunton, Senior Lecturer in Animation and Production Management

Current students will also have the chance to showcase their work at the festival, with a range of screenings, portfolio workshops and networking opportunities available, and one lucky pass holder will win a fantastic Wacom Cintiq creative pen display, kindly donated by Wacom, the long-term event sponsor.

Tim Brunton, Senior Lecturer in Animation and Production Management from the School of Computing, Engineering & Digital Technologies, has played a key role in delivering the festival this year.

He said: “Teesside University has established itself as a global leader in animation, games and VFX training over the years, not least through its Animex Festival, which has garnered an international reputation for excellence since it was founded in 2000.

“We are excited to welcome such big names from the industry to campus once again, including the familiar faces of some of our successful graduates. All this incredible talent in one place is sure to provide inspiration to our current students, who will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of these experts and make their mark within this exciting industry once they complete their studies.

“We are extremely proud to be a driving force behind raising the profile of animation, games and VFX, not only in the region, but on a global scale, and the Animex Festival will continue to showcase the best and brightest talent within industry for generations to come.”

The Animex Festival is part funded by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority, with sponsorship from Wacom.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “It is fantastic to see Animex return as an in-person event for the first time since the start of the pandemic and Teesside University has yet again secured some amazing names for the event, whose stories and expertise will undoubtedly inspire the next generation of local talent to go on to great things.

“Our ever-growing digital sector is helping to create the good-quality, well-paid jobs of the future, showing local people who study at the university that they don’t need to go to a big city to have a great career. There’s no better example of how we’re punching above our weight in this than Animex, which highlights our region to the world year after year, continuing to entertain and inform.”

The event will take place between Monday 16 May - Sunday 22 May 2022 at Middlesbrough Town Hall and Teesside University, and you can book your Animex Pass now.

In the News

Industry leaders head for Animex Festival
Darlington and Stockton Times, p.6, Print, 13/05/2022
Experts behind screen blockbusters including Fantastic Beasts, Harry Potter, and Star Wars are coming to Teesside University to meet the next generation of animators and creators of computer games.

Graduates set to inspire next generation at Animex Festival
Northern Echo, p.41, Print and Web, 12/05/2022
Two high-flying Teesside University graduates are returning to the University to pass on their knowledge and expertise to the next generation. 

Animation experts to gather for festival
Yorkshire Post, Web, 04/05/2022
Teesside University say the Tees Valley's international festival will be at Middlesbrough Town Hall and will be the biggest Animex Festival to date.

Teesside festival celebrates best of animation, VFX and gaming
InYourArea, Web, 03/05/2022
Animex Festival returns with more than 20 industry experts.

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