Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Drawing Inspiration

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Drawing Inspiration

Article excerpt

Byline: By Keith Newton

The magic of animation, the grand old world of cartoons that is now a 21st century multi-billion pound business, bustles back into town next week.

The annual Animex Festival is here again and proudly growing bigger... international star guests will give insights into big cinema successes like Finding Nemo and actor Neil Morrissey will be talking about voicing Bob The Builder.

The legendary animation pioneer Ray Harryhausen will also be back and there will be competitions for aspiring animators, a whole day devoted to computer games, and full cinema programmes. The streets, pubs and clubs of Middlesbrough will even be lit up with striking images.

Not bad for a festival that began only in 2000 as a two-day workshop organised by the University of Teesside.

Animex this time will also spread into the Tees Valley with key events at Arc at Stockton and even up to Tyneside when it reaches into the Baltic. Best of all, everything - including the workshops and the talks - is open to the public.

"Animex has been growing year on year since our first event back in 2000, it's a big success and I've no doubt that 2004 will be the biggest and best yet," says festival director Chris Williams, a lecturer at the university. "This is great from my point of view, but it's a bit hectic right now to say the least. I could do with a cardboard cut-out of myself."

The hugely successful guest lecture series is headed by Mark Walsh, backed up by Tom Martinek, Dr Stuart Sumida, Curtis Jobling, Ray Harryhausen and Neil Morrissey who will all be offering a startling insight into the very best in animation.

Mark Walsh was the directing animator on the internationally acclaimed big screen hit, Finding Nemo.

"I attended an event in London last year specifically to see Mark," says Chris. "His presentation was absolutely fantastic and utterly inspiring.

"Mark is undoubtedly passionate about his work and for this reason I am absolutely thrilled that he will be coming to Animex."

Tom Martinek is a computer graphics supervisor with Industrial Light And Magic, the company created by Star Wars deviser George Lucas. He worked on Jurassic Park 2 and is presently busy with Mask 2 starring Alan Cumming.

Ray Harryhausen is the pioneering animation legend behind Jason And The Argonauts and the Clash Of The Titans.

Dr Stuart Sumida is Professor of Biology at California State University in San Bernardino, and has provided advice on the movement and physiology of animals on a range of animated films, including Beauty And The Beast, The Lion King, Hercules, Mulan and Scooby Doo.

Curtis Jobling designed Bob The Builder. The illustrator and writer studied at Cleveland College Of Art And Design and will be revealing the secrets of character design. …

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