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An exploration and celebration of Twenty-First Century animated documentary.

  • An international programme of 16 animated documentary films

  • Introductions by academics working in animation studies

  • Roundtable discussion with filmmakers and scholars

  • Drinks reception

Doors 11.30am - Programme starts Noon

Tickets: £10 (£8.50 concessions)

An exploration and celebration of Twenty-First Century Animated Documentary. Join us for a whole-day event in which we consider:

  • What is animated documentary?

  • How is the relationship between animation, realism and reality being interpreted by contemporary filmmakers?

  • What can animation add to the documentary form?

  • How can animation help us confront difficult and serious subjects?

  • What dimensions of real-lived experience can animation probe that live-action cannot?

We have a programme of powerful animated documentaries from across the world, which we are delighted includes a large percentage of works by female directors and animators. The programme includes films about protest, modern-day slavery, immigration, conflict rape, personal memory, mental health, love, art, migraines, abuse, second-generation memories of war, suicide and the ethics of representation of the Holocaust in the digital age. [For full details of films please see synopses below] Please note: Some of the films include intense flashing images.


11.30am - Doors open

Noon - Welcome - Dr Victoria Grace Walden (University of Sussex)
12.10 - 'What is Animated Documentary?' - Dr Bella Honess Roe (University of Surrey)

12.30 - Shorts Programme 1: Borders
To include: Neustro Pais (Our Country) (Mayra Flores, US), They Call us Maids (Leeds Animation Workshop, UK), Petition in Boots (Gliechenhaus Films, US),  Nowhere Dreams from Manus Island, (Lukas Schrank, UK/ Australia/ Manus Island) Wave (Debjani Mukherjee, India/Myanmar)

13.30 - Lunch

14.45 - Shorts Programme 2: Memories 
Including: Durrenwaid 8 (Kirsten Carina Geisser and Ines Christine Geisser, Germany), The Betrayal (Susan Young, UK), Warsaw January 2011 (Miriam Harris, New Zealand), Hoane Alone (Aaron Johnson, US), Animation HotLine (Dustin Grella, US)

15.45 - Break

16.00 - Feature: Another Planet (Amir Yatziv, Israel) + Skype talk with Dr Nea Ehrlich (Ben-Gurion University, Israel - TBC)

17.30 - Break

17.50 - Shorts Programme 3: Body and Mind
Including: Lingua Absentia (Kate Raney, US), Migraine MyGroan MyGain (John Akre, UK), Flying while Fat (Stacey Bias, UK), O Hunter Heart (Carla MacKinnon, UK), I'm OK (Elizabeth Hoobs, UK)

18.30 - Round Table and Discussion with filmmakers Susan Young (Royal College of Arts), Carla MacKinnon (Arts University Bournemouth), and Terry Wragg (Leeds Animation Workshop) with Dr Victoria Grace Walden (University of Sussex) and Dr Bella Honess Roe (University of Surrey).

19.30 - Closing Remarks followed by drinks and nibbles 


Neustro País (Our Country) Dir. Mayra Flores (US) 6:07

In the winter of 1988, my mother trekked the hills of the Tijuana-San Diego border at the age of twenty-one to enter the elusive "el norte." Newlywed, full of hopes, dreams, and fears, she never imagined that she would one day call herself an American citizen. Nuestro País is a short experimental animated documentary film about immigrant families living in the U.S. told through an intimate lens.

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They Call Us Maids – The Domestic Workers’ Story Dir. Leeds Animation Workshop (UK) 7:00

The true story of today’s migrant domestic workers, women from the Philippines, Indonesia, North Africa and South-East Asia, who go abroad to support their families. Told in vivid, hand-painted animation.


The Petition in Boots Dir. Gleichenhause Films (US) 6:55

A short animated documentary on the first march on Washington.


Nowhere Lines: Broken Dreams from Manus Island Dir. Lukas Schrank (UK/ Australia) 15:16

In July 2013, the Australian Government introduced a controversial immigration policy, transferring asylum seekers arriving by boat to remote offshore detention centres on foreign Pacific islands. Seven months later, the Manus Island centre erupted in violence when police and guards put down protests with sticks, machetes and guns, and 23 year-old asylum seeker Reza Barati was killed.  We spoke to Behrouz and Omar, who are currently detained on Manus Island. This film contains recordings of these conversations.


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Wave Dir. Debjani Murherjee (India/Myanmar) 5.44

According to Woman’s League of Burma and AJAR Briefing Report of 2016, between 2010 and 2015, 92 women reported conflict-related sexual violence in Myanmar. However, only 2 cases were tried in civilian courts. Rape has been and continues to be used as an outlet of anger, a war weapon, an instrument of repression and a ‘correctional’ act of subjugation, across all social levels.

When Yangon Film School (YFS) in Myanmar sent me audiotapes of documentary recordings of violence, injustice and humiliation of the victims, or let me say survivors, presently at the internally displaced camps (IDP) of Myanmar, it was with this background that I took it up-- the intention of addressing the theme of atrocities towards women. The challenge was that these true stories had to be portrayed maintaining the anonymity of contributors and yet expected to speak of the injustice and violence under the present rule.

Dürrenwaid 8 Dir. Kirsten Carina Geißer and Ines Christine Geißer (Germany) 6:50

A house, a garden, a stream. The behive on the hillside, the shack, the wooden hut and the shed. Inbetween we find memories, stories and observations. The past, the present and the future. 

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The Betrayal Dir. Susan Young (UK) 5:40

A traumatised woman trusts her psychiatrist, but becomes imprisoned in his prescriptive regime of psychological manipulation. Fragments of medical records interwoven with pulsing pills form a disorienting montage depicting the enmeshed relationship between patient and doctor. At its dark heart, The Betrayal is a twisted, deadly love affair.

Warsaw January 2011 Dir. Miriam Harris (New Zealand) 9:30

"Warsaw January 2011" explores issues of temporal and geographical dislocation simultaneity experienced in 2011 when Harris visited a wintry Warsaw, the childhood home of her Polish Jewish mother. In this age of the Internet and global shrinkage, she found that Warsaw’s multiple layers of history were intermingled with emailed narratives from an Auckland summer, stories relayed by her mother via Skype, and international pop cultural references that ranged from Angelina Jolie to Calvin Klein.

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Hoane Alone: Personal Stories from the Bridge Dir. Aaron Johnson (US) 8:30

Milwaukee’s Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge is the crown over Summerfest and has become one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. But it’s also a popular site for suicides. This animated documentary explores the issues of the bridge and suicide through three intimate interviews. Follow animator, Aaron Johnson, as he shares the stories of Dave, John, and Mary.

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Animation HotLine Dir. Dustin Grella (US) 7:05

Animation Hotline is a series of over 150 crowd-sourced telephone answering machine message that have been being animated since 2011. This documentary collection focuses on real life stories.

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Feature – Another Planet Dir. Amir Yatziv

Animated Documentary of encounters in virtual worlds simulating the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. The film follows the creators of these virtual camps within their simulated worlds: a German prosecution office preparing a trial; Israeli high-school students reconstructing the israeli air force fly-over from 2003; Israeli game developer developing a game; Polish graphic designer developing a virtual reality experience; German architect and Israeli historian reconstructing architectural model. The film is constructed as a mosaic in which the avatars of each of these creators walk around his own virtual Auschwitz camp .A journey to the depths of memory which reveals the obsession with the representation of the Holocaust.

Lingua Absentia Dir. Kate Raney and Jeremy Bessoff (US) 10:00

Lingua Absentia is a paper cut-out animation, about a mother and her schizophrenic daughter, Abby. Guided by the mother’s voice-over narration, the film takes the viewer through Abby's severe cancer treatment and her long process to recovery.

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Migraine MyGroan MyGain Dir. John Akre (US) 4:15

A picture that will give you a headache and, perhaps, a smile. An animated film whereby I attempt to understand the migraine headaches I get.

O Hunter Heart Dir. Carla MacKinnon (UK) 7:07

Nature and domesticity collide and animal instincts rise to the surface, in a dark tale of love and loss. This film's soundtrack features audio from interviews collected around the UK, creating a story that is constructed from fragments of real-life broken hearts.


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Flying while Fat Dir. Stacy Bias (UK) 6:13

Flying is uncomfortable for many people, but when the physical infrastructure of the plane doesn’t accommodate your body and/or the social attitudes of other passengers make the plane environment a hostile space, flying can be a particularly anxious thing to do. News stories about fat passengers often present them as unreasonably taking up space that is not their own, as a problem for others, dehumanising fat people akin to ‘excess baggage’. To challenge these narratives, this animation presents the voices of fat passengers as they explain the challenges of fitting into spaces that exclude them both socially and materially. The animation encourages people to empathise with fat people as fellow passengers and human beings, and to think about the political and economic relations that contribute to this exclusion.

I’m OK Dir. Elizabeth Hobbs (UK) 6:04

In 1917, Austrian artist Oskar Kokoschka was in hospital, injured and shell-shocked from World War I, and heartbroken from the end of his famous love affair with Alma Mahler.