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Animex: world’s largest animation and gaming festival returns

International Festival of Animation & Computer Games
6 - 10 February 2006, University of Teesside, Middlesbrough

The World’s largest animation and gaming festival returns to Middlesbrough next year when another helping of Animex hits The University of Teesside and screens around the North East from 6th to 10th February. www.animex.net

The Festival will once again feature its highly successful trademark mix of prestigious international guests, talks and masterclasses, a focus on the best of British animation from the past and present, and special programmes from animate! and onedotzero. PLUS, the largest selection of new student work from around the world competing for the highly coveted Animex International Student Animation Awards, previews of animated feature films including The Quay Brothers eagerly anticipated The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes, Neil Gaiman’s MirrorMask and a two-day celebration of computer games, Animex Game (6/7 February).

Animation mad audiences will also get the chance to vote for their favourite animated shorts in the Public Choice category for the prestigious 2006 British Animation Awards – the winners of which will be presented in London on March 9th at the Shaw Theatre.

Special Guests For 2006 Include:

* Artist Roger Dean (UK) whose seminal 70s album covers for prog-rock band YES have inspired an animated film Floating Islands which will be exclusively previewed in Teesside.

* Mark Walsh, (USA) lead directing animator on Finding Nemo from PIXAR, who makes his third trip to the Festival.

* Mark Simon, artist, writer, special effects supervisor and owner of one of the largest storyboard companies in the USA who will be in Teesside to reveal some of the tricks of his trade.

* Jeanne Pappas Simon (USA) a face reader whose clients have included Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and Disney who have used her unique skills to hire crews, casting agents and most recently to develop animated characters.

* Author and actor, Ed Hooks (USA), whose seminal book, “Acting for Animators” is the industry standard.

* Dave Sproxton (UK), Executive Chairman and one of the founders of one of the most successful and highly regarded animation studios around - Aardman Animations.

* Stuart Sumida (USA), Professor of Biology at California State University whose specialist knowledge as an anatomical consultant has garnered him consultant credits on amongst others: Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, The Lion King, Shrek II, Lilo and Stitch, Tarzan and Stuart Little.


Other Highlights to Watch Out For:

* Animex Game – will this year turn its focus more towards the art and design side of game production. Blitz will be giving us an inside look at some of their latest projects, and Eutechnyx will be discussing some of their latest art techniques for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

Prolific fantasy artist Rodney Matthews will be discussing his concept art for games such as ‘Shadow Master and ‘Haven’. Other guests include Ernest Adams will be joining us once again as will Ken Wong who will be talking about his work on ‘Bad Day LA’.

* The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes (12a) - a special preview of this dark fairytale which is the first full-length feature from British based animating twin brothers, Stephen and Timothy Quay. Released at the end of February, this combination live-action/animated movie tells the story of a demonic doctor who abducts a beautiful opera singer planning to turn her into a mechanical nightingale and imprison her on a remote fantasy island. (UK/2005/99 mins).

* Steamboy (PG) - the most expensive Japanese animated feature ever made which has attracted worldwide acclaim, although has yet to be released in the UK. It is set in 1860s Victorian Britain where a young inventor finds himself in possession of a ‘Steamball’, a curious contraption which conceals a sinister power. (Japan/2005/120 mins)

* MirrorMask (PG) – scripted by fantasy writer Neil Gaiman with a voice cast including Stephen Fry and Rob Brydon this innovative combination of live action and CGI from the Henson Studios look set to be one of the cult hits of the year. (USA/2005/101 mins).

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