Experts who have worked on best-selling computer games and hit animated films will share their experiences with enthusiasts and industry professionals from across the globe at this year’s Animex Festival.
Taking place at Teesside University in Middlesbrough over five days, from Monday 22 May to Friday 26 May, this year also sees the start of a new chapter with the event moving from its usual February slot to a later calendar date.
Among guest speakers is Rob Dressel, Director of Cinematography and layout at Disney Animation Studios. Rob has worked on projects such as Wreck-It Ralph and Big Hero 6 and is coming to Teesside to talk about the challenges the team faced in the production of Disney’s latest title, Moana.
Also at Animex AVFX are John Seru and Bradley Floyd, of Industrial Light & Magic, who will be talking about the stunning visual effects seen on the big screen in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Matt Estela, VR Supervisor at Animal Logic will be flying in from Sydney to discuss his work as FX Lead on Lego Batman.
At Animex Game, Rhianna Pratchett, award winning writer for games, comics, film and television, will be discussing her work and love of games, which started in childhood and developed through her work as a journalist and move into games development. She is currently working with the Jim Henson Company, adapting her father’s novel, Wee Free Men, for the big screen.
Also sharing insight into her career will be Swedish UX designer Asa Roos, who has just finished work on Bioware’s latest title, Mass Effect: Andromeda. Asa has been recognised in her native Sweden for her work to create an inclusive and diverse gaming industry and culture.
The festival organisers are also proud to welcome back Teesside University graduates Chris Walter and Domareen Fox as guest speakers, both having gone on to forge successful careers in the games and animation industries.
Chris is a games producer for BBC Children’s, after starting out as an intern at CBeebies through an Expotees award. He has worked on games for children’s shows such as Danger Mouse, Peter Rabbit and the Teletubbies and helped to create and produce two CBeebies apps which were BAFTA nominated and winners of Broadcast Digital Awards.
Domareen, who is currently Art Director at Studio Soi, launched her animation career during the second year of her degree. After freelancing in visual development and production design for a variety of international animation studios, she worked as supervising designer on Disney’s BAFTA nominated Counterfeit Cat. Her student film Dresslocked won two Royal Television Society Awards.
Screenings of over three hundred highly regarded and award winning animations will run throughout festival week and beyond.
Gabrielle Kent, Festival Director, said: “Animex was founded with a view to creating a world-class inclusive festival which would bring together some of the brightest lights and future stars of the games and animation industries, to share their knowledge with the next generation.
“Animex offers a unique blend of talks, workshops, networking events, exhibitions and screenings, and promotes an ethos of collaboration and sharing in a warm and friendly atmosphere.
“It also provides an opportunity to meet industry experts and see behind the scenes of some of the biggest hits in games and animation.”
Running alongside Animex this year is ExpoTees, the School of Computing’s annual creative showcase of work by final year students as they prepare to graduate and start their careers. It provides the students with an opportunity to have their work seen by the biggest names in industry.