London International Animation Festival 2023

Animation Industry Event 5: Producing the Goods - The ‘Invisible’ Art of the Animation Producer

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Stream began December 3, 2023 2:00 PM UTC
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LIAF presents the 2023 UK Animation Industry Event – 6 panels giving insider access to some of the hottest topics of the year. We’ve gathered together some of the most passionate, honest and insightful experts from a wide range of different areas and backgrounds who are ready to cover all manner of vital topics to give you much food for thought.

Animation doesn’t stand still; and debates and discussions with animators and creative experts are the best way to get in touch with what’s happening. This year we’ll be looking into the minds of some of the most creative forces currently working in the field of the animated documentary, discussing the intrinsic role of the Animation Producer and how do you get to become one, finding out whether animation can be a viable and satisfying career for people who are neurodiverse, looking back at the meteoric growth of the UK animation industry over the last 20 years and looking forward to how the next 20 years might develop in CGI, 3D and general technology.

The panels will be chaired by Saint John Walker, Dean/Director of Industry Engagement at Escape Studios and Julian Scott, animation consultant at Film London.

For anyone currently working in the film and animation industry, thinking of working in the industry or just plain curious, these 6 talks are indispensable. They are free to everyone and take place live and online on our streaming platform over the 2 days of December 2 and 3.

Animation Industry Event 5: Producing the Goods - The ‘Invisible’ Art of the Animation Producer

Animation Producers are the unsung heroes of what we see on the TV, cinema and computer screens, enabling the animation director’s creative vision and stories to be realised. And yet their role is hidden from view - there are hundreds of courses on how to become an animator, but only a few for becoming a producer.


So what does an Animation Producer do and how do you learn the ropes and gain experience? What kind of person chooses to be an Animation Producer, and why? Is it all just spreadsheets and budgets or are there creative aspects to the job too? Could you have what it takes to bring future productions to life by becoming an Animation Producer? Come and listen to our panel of experts!


Moderator: Saint John Walker, Dean/Director of Industry Engagement at Escape Studios

Saint works with key companies in UK and international animation and VFX sectors, often leading on new technology training for industry such as Unreal Engine, Virtual Production and generative AI. He is the author of the Core Skills of VFX Handbook and has designed and run courses and conference panels across the UK and Europe. He has been LIAF’s industry panel coordinator and chair for a decade and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. At Escape Studios he has chaired panel discussions for the annual VFX Festival, and has taken part in many Access:VFX activities online and in person.


Roo Knight-Jones

Roo's latest work as an Animation Producer has found him running the fan-favourite The Wheel of Time: Origins for Amazon. Since then his most recent projects include producing high-end VFX work on Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning, Amazon's The Boys and Netflix's Bodies. Roo graduated from the University of South Wales with a Masters in Producing for Film and Business Management, then started working on independent feature films and worked his way up to be Production Manager. In 2012, he moved into the VFX field as a film runner, but quickly worked his way up in the animation department as a coordinator on Guardians of the Galaxy and Maleficent. Since then he has worked for multiple streaming and broadcast clients including Channel 4, BBC, Amazon, Apple TV and Netflix. He also has a wealth of experience working in high-end VFX at studios such as MPC, Framestore, Dneg, Milk VFX and most recently Untold Studios. Roo has also worked as a VFX Development Executive, working with Business Development teams to kickstart projects and early development. In 2021 Rory founded Roo & Ralph; a creative development agency that focuses on supporting and advising companies on operational structure in order to empower storytelling.


Vici King

After graduating with a BA(Hons) in Television Production at Bournemouth University in 2000, Vici began working for HIT Entertainment across development and production of their series slate, building her career in pre-school animation. In 2008 she joined Blue-Zoo Animation where she produced Kerwhizz, Alphablocks and Tree-Fu Tom. Vici then freelanced for a range of production companies whilst raising a family. In 2017, she joined Magic Light Pictures to manage animation series development with a vision to bring the same high quality, life enhancing storytelling of the Magic Light specials to long form pre-school series. Vici produces the BAFTA nominated Pip and Posy and is working to bring further Magic Light series’ to life.


Dara McGarry

Dara started her career at Disney Feature Animation in 1997, and over the course of 13 years worked in a variety of departments including Production, Technology and Effects on films such as Dinosaur, Chicken Little, Tangled and Frozen. But being a bonafide anglophile, she jumped at the chance to move to London in 2010, working as an Artist Manager for DNEG VFX. A few years later, DNEG opened a Feature Animation division with Dara as the Artist Manager, helping to grow and shape the team from its nascent days of 12 people to a global team of 700. She now serves as Director of Outreach for DNEG Animation.

Kath Shackleton

Kath is Producer of Fettle Animation, a multi-award-winning animation studio in Pennine Yorkshire. She has worked alongside her partner Zane Whittingham in running the company for 11 years. As a studio they have won 3 children's BAFTAs, a Japan Prize, a Sandford St Martin's' Children's Award and 7 Royal Television Society nominations, plus awards for a graphic novel based on an animation series. Kath is tenacious, with extra batteries to keep on going when others would give up!