Make a date to Animate – on an ipad at Animated Exeter 14

McLaren Workshops

I just made my first animated film in 20 minutes! Here’s a link to Flying Fish. It may be a bit wobbly but it was brilliant fun and I can’t wait to spend a few hours making something more beautiful. All I had to do was download this amazing app developed by the National Film Board of Canada for the iPad. 2014 is the centenary of the great animation pioneer, Norman McLaren and Animated Exeter is running two workshops explaining how to use this app to its full advantage. In this test, I just used my finger to draw the lines over the ghost lines of my previous drawings until I built up movement, coloured it in (easy) and posted it to YouTube – simple.  The workshops will allow you to further develop your own animation using Norman McLaren’s groundbreaking techniques.

Screen Shot

Why not download the app in advance of the workshop on the Animated Exeter website? The app allows you to create your own animations as well as watch 51 Norman McLaren films and 11 documentaries about his unique animation techniques.  If that doesn’t get you inspired I don’t know what will – what a delight.


The app includes a colourful collection of films to watch and start your ideas rolling.

There are three techniques to use on the app: paper cut out, etching and synthetic sound, all of which give demos to get you started. If you want to take them a bit further you can buy the extended version for a few pennies (69p or 99c), and bring out the animator within.

You can watch a hand-picked selection of  National Film Board of Canada films at the Phoenix on this Sataturday 15th at 11.30am -12.45, have a bit of lunch, then celebrate 75 years of NFBC excellence with Iain Gardner’s film illustrated talk at 2.30-4pm. The McLaren Workshops are being held at the Exeter Phoenix (see below). There are also plenty of other interesting animation workshops throughout the festitval.  

Date for McLaren Workshop is Thursday 20th February

10:00 am – 1.00 pm (7 – 12 years)

2.00 pm – 5:00 pm (12 – 17 years)


Level Beginner

Tickets must be booked at BOX OFFICE: 01392 667080


Liberate yourself from the rain at the Animated Exeter Film Festival

Boy and Bear_Lottie Kingslake

Boy and Bear_Lottie Kingslake

It rained relentlessly last night, then in the morning the rain turned to hail which piled up on my car in little wind-swept heaps. Then it rained again. I’m fed up with it.  My instinct is to curl up and stay at home but that would be such a waste when there is so much colour to be found at a festival on my doorstep.

Animated Exeter starts this week so I am going to point out some filmic highlights.  One of the great things about animation programmes is that you get so much in one sitting, animation is such a time consuming and delicate art that most films are by their nature – short.  Thus, at festivals you have the luck to be presented with a smorgasbord of delights all at once, and if one fails to enchant, a tastier morsel soon takes its place.

On Saturday at 11.30 The National Film Board of Canada (known for superb animation) will be showing their top picks followed at 2.30 by another screening of 75 years of Excellence when Iain Gardner will be discussing the work of Norman McLaren, alongside other films that have come out of the National Film Board’s archive.  McLaren’s (it’s his centenary) work still looks avant-garde today, he was a pioneer in many areas of animation and filmmaking and has influenced generations of animators. This is an event you won’t regret leaving home to see.  

But back to those lovely dishes of shorts –

On Friday 14th and Saturday 15th you can watch The Indies, 18 worldclass independent films back to back for a pleasurable hour and a half.

Get up early on Saturday (also showing 3 more times during the next week) to see Wide World at 10am with the kids. It’s fabulous selection of unique and unusual animated films made for young people from around the world.

On Monday 17th feb 7.30pm – There’s a free screening of ‘grassroots, community and activist’ animations at the Bike Shed Theatre (booking required) Including The Story of Solutions, Patricio Plaza’s brilliant El Empleyo and Zero by Zealous Creative

Pop out on Tuesday 2pm at Exeter College to watch a selection of favourite UK TV characters in Family Favourites and if you miss that they will be shown again on Thursday 20th at 2.30 at Exeter’s hidden medieval gem, Tuckers Hall.

Finally, BAFTA winning international artist, Tal Rosner and over 40 students from animation courses in the South West (SWAN), will be creating a series of fifteen (yes, that many) stunning, FREE, outdoor and indoor animated projections, combined with seductive soundscapes, lighting and installation art, along Fore Street.

Fifty-foot dancers pirouetting across buildings, exotic vines creeping up the ancient walls of a medieval hall, top hats spinning across shops inside the arcade, and interactive works of animated art will be just some of the treats in store for people taking an evening stroll on Valentine’s night and the next evening too, at 7pm-9pm

I mean, how could you stay at home?

ph Matt Austin

ph Matt Austin

More info on the programme, workshops, exhibitions and events at