Joanna was born in Birmingham, England and completed a foundation course in art at Goldsmiths College, University of London before studying for a BA in Graphic Design at Middlesex University. It was here that Joanna first discovered the magic of animation, quickly adapting her unique drawing abilities to produce beautifully fluid and dynamic animated passages. Her first film, Girl’s Night Out (1986), won 3 prizes at the Annecy Animation Festival in 1987 and thrust her into the international animation scene.
Joanna moved to Wales in 1985 and founded Beryl Productions shortly afterwards with her partner, producer/writer Les Mills. The couple have collaborated closely in the production of animated films and as educators ever since.
Joanna is now a highly acclaimed figure in world animation. Her fine drawing skills, wonderful characterisations and her humour mark her out as a unique talent. Joanna has won a raft of top awards, including Emmys, Baftas and Jury prizes at all the major animation festivals. Two of her films, Famous Fred (1996) and The Wife of Bath (1998) have received Oscar © nominations. Her masterpiece, Britannia, a brilliantly biting view of British Imperialism, won her the prestigious Leonardo Da Vinci award in 1996, which was ironically presented by Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace!
Joanna has been honoured with retrospectives of her work in all over the world including Rome, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Stuttgart, Zagreb, Hiroshima, Toronto, Montreal, Gothenburg, Bradford, Cordoba, Tampere, Ottawa, Valencia and Taiwan. 2008 saw the culmination of her work in a beautiful exhibition called ‘Drawings that Move’, curated by Michael Harvey at the National media Museum in Bradford. This much celebrated exhibition has since travelled to Valencia, Spain and Teplice in the Czech Republic.
Joanna is a committed educator and is an Honorary Fellow at the Royal College of Art, London and University of Wales Newport and Honorary Doctor at the University of Wolverhampton. She continues to lecture and do practical workshops at major universities, film festivals in Britain and abroad.
Joanna continues to direct commercials and has now started work on their new film Dreams & Desires – Affairs of the Art.