Manchester Animation Festival announces program line-up of their hybrid edition

The Manchester Animation Festival announced their programming line-up for the first ever hybrid edition of their event taking place between 14 to 19 November. This edition will include film screenings, panel discussions, Q&A sessions and more via pre-recorded virtual videos, livestream and in-person events celebrating animation.  

The key highlights of the UK’s largest Animation Festival include four feature films debuting online and on the big screen. The list of films include My Favorite War, My Sunny Maad, Absolute Denial and Flee.

MAF will present a behind the scenes look at The House, a masterfully crafted dark animated comedy, set to debut globally on Netflix. Also, one will be able to enjoy the behind the scenes of Netflix and Aardman Animations’ mice heist Robin Robin with directors Dan Ojari and Mikey Please. 

Film editor David Burrows of The Lego Movie fame and director of multiple award-winning series Shaun The Sheep JP Vine will take the viewers through the making of their work Ron’s Gone Wrong, the debut film from Locksmith Animation. The film is about the adventure of Barney and his digital device Ron.

The masterclass session will be taken by Robert Kondo, the founder of Tonko House and who earlier worked with Pixar. He will share the secrets of independent animation studios, what he learnt over seven years and the reasons why being small and independent is absolutely terrifying and unbelievably exciting.

The festival is offering 99 short films from 24 different countries from the best emerging animators. 

Jorge R. Gutierrez and Sandra Equihua known for heartwarming animated features like The Book of Life and Netflix’s new one Maya and the Three are the recipients of this year’s Fellowship Award and will be joining us for a live Q&A session. 

“We are really excited to announce two brand new competition strands at MAF this year. Our short films for children will be eligible for an award showcasing family friendly short films from across the globe,” said festival director Steve Henderson.

Executive director cum programmer Jen Hall revealed that four selected animated feature films will also be contending for awards. 

Here are the details of the feature films:

1) My Favorite War– It is the personal story of the director, Ilze Burkovska Jacobsen, growing up in Cold-War Latvia, USSR. 

It’s a coming of age story, a personal escape route from the mighty authoritarian regime’s brainwashing. An anti war film, emphasizing the importance of an individual’s freedom being a democratic society’s fundamental right.

My Favorite War

2) My Sunny Maad– The film is directed by Michaela Pavlátová of Czech Republic.

When Herra, a Czech woman, falls in love with Nazir, an Afghan man, she has no idea about the life that awaits her in post-taliban Afghanistan, nor about the family she is about to join.

My Sunny Maad

3) Absolute Denial– This film is directed by UK’s Ryan Braund.

An obsessive, genius programmer sacrifices everything in his personal and professional life to build a computer of unprecedented power. After weeks in isolation and watching his life crumble around him, he must now confront the ever-increasing problem of a machine that is much smarter than himself.

Absolute Denial

4) Flee-The film is directed by Denmark’s Jonas Poher Rasmussen. Recounted mostly through animation to Rasmussen, his close friend and high-school classmate, he tells for the first time the story of his extraordinary journey as a child refugee from Afghanistan. 

Amin Nawabi (a pseudonym), a 36-year-old high-achieving academic, grapples with a painful secret he has kept hidden for twenty years, one that threatens to derail the life he has built for himself and his soon to be husband. 


The animation festival have listed many more offerings like discussion on how Non-Fungible Tokens are being utilised as a way for artists to share their work with an audience, working from home and the freedoms that this presents as well as the perils and pitfalls companies face as they adjust to this new system of working and so on. Industry experts will hold talks, presentations and a lot more during the in-person and online gathering of animation lovers.