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What’s the deal with... The London International Animation Festival?

Everything you need to know about this weekend’s animation bonanza

Written by
Alex Dudok de Wit

Animation as in Disney?

Not so much. The festival aims to dispel the idea that animation is just for kids (though it has family-friendly screenings too). Launched in 2004, it’s grown into the UK’s biggest animation shindig off the back of grown-up fare for adults and bigger kids alike. 

So more stuff like ‘BoJack Horseman’?

Kinda. The fest’s biggest strength is in its eclectic programming. It’s screening 306 films from 37 countries, grouped into offbeat themes like ‘From Absurd to Zany’ and ‘Being Human’. Every form of animation is represented, from claymation and CGI to collage and paint-on-glass. 

What should I see?

Look out for animated docs about face blindness, The White Stripes and (yep) Brexit. A special programme, ‘Aftermath’, spotlights timely shorts about World War One. The time-pressed can catch repeat screenings of all the prize-winners on the final day.

Does the fest only screen short films?

There’s also a feature film, ‘The Wolf House’, a freaky stop-motion fairy tale about Nazis hiding in Chile, and Q&As. Don’t miss the opening-night gala and Q&A with Will Anderson and Ainslie Henderson, an irreverent Scottish duo whose works touch on everything from Robert Burns to the existential angst of a GIF.

Where and when, then?

Mostly at the Barbican from Friday November 30 to December 9. The more experimental stuff plays at the Horse Hospital and Close-Up Cinema. Tickets generally cost £12 and a festival pass is £95. 

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