December 2006

Friday, December 8th, 2006

This is what’s been going on since our last post…in reverse order!

Les and Joanna did a presentation about our company Beryl Productions, in particular the storyboarding and scripting aspects, as part of the professional Animation Industry Day. Aardman’s Helen Brunsdon who used to work for us in earlier times, introduced the session which was followed by some Q & A’s. We ran out of time of course, but overall it went down pretty well and was great fun and the festival staff were very welcoming. Nice to re-unite with old friends again, and we enjoyed the free wine and the Chilli! Then to cap it all we won ‘BEST OF BRITISH’ at the Encounters awards ceremony on Saturday night… Yippee!!. Thanks to Claire Jennings, the Festival and of course the Jury members.

It’s easy to forget just how near Cardiff is to Bristol – we should do more things together in the future.

What a wonderful festival! Very friendly and well organised. The brilliant thing is that there are lots of students there so it’s all very down to earth and accessible. On the Wednesday Joanna gave a talk about her work going right back to her first attempt at animation in her first year at Middlesex University. She thought it might give hope to the students! Afterwards Joanna was interviewed by the wonderful Barry Purves in front of the audience. It was all great fun.

Joanna particularily enjoyed the Awards ceremony of course, as Dreams and Desires – Family Ties won the Grand Prix! All in all a fantastic time, great meeting old friends and making lots of new ones.

While Joanna was in Bradford Les took part in the final day’s Independent Makers day at the Sand conference in Swansea introducing two S4C sponsored shorts – ‘Peligrina’ by Cardiff based artiste Virginia Head and ‘Hard boiled Chicken’ by Dutch Animator Arjan Wilschut both of whom have worked with Beryl Prods in the past. In the limited time available Les talked a little about the history of Beryl Prods and introduced ‘Family Ties’ but found it a little difficult to get really inspired because of the very disappointing turn out for the whole day. Considering the quality of the personnel giving the presentations that day, which included the excellent Studio Soi from Germany, Prof. Joan Ashworth from the Royal College of Art and the McLeod Brothers the audience turn out was dismal. Perhaps next year at Sand the programming should be looked at to maximise audiences on all the days.

CINANIMA ESPINHO PORTUGAL 6 – 12 November (www.cinanima)
Joanna had a fantastic time in Espinho, one of her favorite festivals. The weather was unusually warm and the people were as friendly as ever. She didn’t have to give any talks this times she just enjoyed the films and networked. It was great to see Oscar and the students from the ARS college in Madrid, where Joanna sometimes teaches. The srudents from Ars did the festival trailer. She also spent a lot of time with old friends Vera Neubauer and Phil Mulloy which was fun.

At the final ceremony ‘Dreams & Desires’ won 3 prizes… Best film – Audience prize, Best film TV 2 award and the Jose Abel best European animation award. Triple chuffed! Phil Mulloy got the best feature prize. Thanks again to Cristina and her hard working team at the Cinanima festival

TAIWAN VISIT 27 Oct- 2 November (
Well, we were lucky enough to be invited by the Taiwan Animation Association to give 2 extensive presentations in Taiwan to celebrate the 2006 International Animation Day. George Lacroix from France was also invited which was a joy because he’s such good company – he tells great such anecdotes. The first talk was in the capital Taipei and the second in the university in Taichung City….The talks went really well and the audiences seemed to get a lot out of them. Of course it was all translated as we don’t speak Chinese! We had a chance to travel round a bit and visited the Museum of Chinese Culture and Art in which are stored many incredibly beautiful artefacts brought (some would say pinched!) from mainland China By ChanKaiShek when in 1947 he fled to Taiwan after losing the civil war to Mao Tse Tung.

We also visited a re creation of indigenous Taiwanese villages in the middle of forested highlands in the centre of Taiwan which was very enlightening. We stayed in a nearby hotel on Sun Moon Lake, and had the most fantastic food in a spectacularly beautiful restaurant overlooking the lake. Next day we took a boat trip on the lake and visited some sacred shrines and a temple which was a lovely way to end the week. In Taipei which is a huge, bustling city we especially enjoyed the street night markets where you can buy anything you want and you can sample the most delicate and mind blowing food sold from thousands of street stalls. We think we now know what Chinese food is really like – totally delicious, unique and very different from Chinese food eaten in the UK or the US. We want to move there now of course!

It was a trip of a lifetime and we all really had a fantastic time, meeting new friends and realising how enterprising, enthusiastic and dedicated the Taiwanese people are. The Taiwanese animation community is hell bent on creating a genuinely home-grown and world class independent and commercial Animation structure in Taiwan and we have promised to do all we can to help in whatever small way we can. They certainly have the technological expertise, determination and creativity to succeed on all levels.

We’d like to thank Flora Chuang for inviting us to Taiwan and being so hospitable, Yi-Ching Chen for organising everything so well and being such a good friend … and to Jerome Lin for being so helpful and so bloody knowledgeable and clever!! Lastly to the Taiwanese people for being so friendly, polite and full of joie de vivre.

up and coming stuff…

FLICKERFEST Sydney Australia 5 – 14 January (
Dreams and Desires Family Ties is in competition.

30th Göteborg Film Festival – Jan 26 – Feb 5 (
A retrospective of Joanna’s work.

Dreams and Desires Family Ties is proud to be of part of the global travelling RESFEST 10! To see where it’s playing next go to the website. It’s part of Shorts 2 Out of the Box.

SUNDANCE Festival Utah.USA
We’ve been invited there in January 07 so we are looking forward to going to Utah, in the meantime we’ll attend a Sundance Festival reception in New York City on Dec 14th.