Go Animated in Exeter

Liven up the winter by enjoying the city's premier festival of animation. Featuring a rich mix of traditional crafts and digital media technologies, Animated Exeter 2008 will showcase the latest animation from around the globe.

Apart from the latest animation, Animated Exeter will include exhibitions of current and classic animators' work, masterclasses with the industry's best, and workshops for the young and old, novice and experienced.

Now in its ninth year, Animated Exeter is the longest dedicated animation festival in the UK and set to attract more than 17,000 visitors in 2008. Over a 13-day period and with a fantasy and imagination theme, venues across the city (as well as in Honiton and Dartington) will host over 140 different films, 50 workshops and a programme of special exhibitions and free events for all to enjoy.

Animated Exeter brings a programme of internationally renowned animation, new and old, to Exeter, giving you a totally unique opportunity to see short and feature films by some of the world's most talented animators, including the advanced preview of the film tipped for the Animation Oscar®, Persepolis, a tale of a young girl growing up during the '70s and '80s in Iran.

The British Animation Awards' screenings add to an already packed and interactive programme of events, providing an opportunity for the general public to cast votes that will see overall regional winners go on to fight it out at the national awards ceremony in London.

Beyond all the fun, Animated Exeter is fast becoming one of the best platforms for identifying the wealth of animation skills in the region, from emerging talent in schools to practising professional animators resident in the South-west. Three high-quality competitions run across all age groups as part of Animated Exeter's South West Showcase and these provide each winner with the perfect stepping-stone from which to develop a career in the animation industry.

It's not just about films, though; anyone can join in the fun and get some hands-on animation experience of their own, with workshops ranging from drop-in taster sessions perfect for the family, to masterclasses for professionals and animation students. There's a promise of anarchic interactive fun over the first weekend of the festival and a chance for young people to find out about careers in animation.

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Whether people want to brush up on their life-drawing skills, find out about computer-animation techniques or have some fun modelling characters, there will be something to appeal to everyone.

The exhibitions give an insight into professional animation techniques. Highlights include the UK premiere of Dormitorium, a unique collection of sets, puppets and other creations of the Quay Brothers. The exhibition contains sets from their films, including The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer (1984), This Unnameable Little Broom (1985), Street of Crocodiles (1986), Rehearsals for Extinct Anatomies (1987), The Comb (1990) and their first feature, Institute Benjamenta (1995), and is a first for the festival, taking place at the impressive building that houses the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter.

You can glimpse the surreal world of Forkbeard Fantasy at Exeter Phoenix. With 30 years' experience in performance and film-making, animation and puppetry, this local theatre group has amassed an extraordinary array of props, peepshows and automata - all very interactive.

Thelma Hulbert Gallery in Honiton presents 'Charley Says...' - posters, animation and artefacts from the archive of the Central Office of Information, following the British Film Institute's 60th anniversary celebrations. Were you in the Tufty Club? Did the Green Cross Man save your life? Can you remember what Charley said? Whether you do or not, you will enjoy this and all the exhibitions.

Animated Exeter runs from 11-23 February. With tickets for most events costing under £10, plus free exhibitions and some free events and workshops, Animated Exeter is an affordable and fun way to liven up the winter months.

For a free brochure of all events, join the mailing list online www.animatedexeter.co.uk or call 01392 265885.

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