We are very pleased to unveil the award that will be won for our upcoming competition strands!
The award has been sculpted by Mackinnon and Saunders, the Manchester based animation company that has previously worked on films such as Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie and Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox. The company has a long history with short film, commercial and television animation also, supplying the puppets for Bob the Builder, Postman Pat and most recently the reboot of The Clangers.
Festival co-director Steve Henderson said,
“We are absolutely over the moon to see what Mackinnon and Saunders have made. We knew they would create something wonderful for us but we were not expecting something quite so amazing! We are certain that this award will be much sought after and become an iconic emblem of the festival itself”
The bee was designed and crafted by character designer and sculptor Joe Holman, who based the design on the festivals bee logo. The festival selected a bee design for its logo as bees are the symbol of Manchester dating back to the industrial revolution when the cotton mills of the city and the enormous workforce powering them were likened to the “worker bees” toiling away within the city. The design reflects that industrial heritage with its “steampunk” style. The animation industry in the north west has recently experienced a boom in productivity and is steadily emerging as the centre of animation in the UK, so the workforce of the industrial revolution are now replaced by the innovators of the creative revolution that the city is excelling in.
“After talking with Ian Mackinnon the thought was to combine the industrial theme of Manchester into the bee image of the MAF logo. We tried to keep a hand made quality to the construction, this isn’t a slick engineered piece, it has been hand crafted. It’s almost like a stop motion armature too, its not too big a leap of the imagination seeing it flying around, being animated”
The sculpt was created using a mixture of traditional sculpting with found objects added. The bee is held aloft by a thick piano wire and Holman even sacrificed an old clock to make use of the gears, cogs and other mechanisms in the design of the base. The base itself is hexagonal, the shape of both a bolt nut and a honeycomb, again combining the industrial elements and the bee design.
Mackinnon and Saunders producer Sara Mullock said of the award,
“This is an artisan piece to me and it has been fascinating watching it develop. As soon as we saw the logo we thought “We could make them a great bee!” we knew that the festival really deserved something special and we knew we could deliver that.”
The bee sculpt will be given to winners of the Short Film and Graduate Film categories which will be selected by a jury. The Audience Award, which will be selected by votes collected at the festival and the Fellowship Award which will be awarded to a person as commendation of their special contribution to animation.