Festivals, Cultural and City Events

Film Festival interview with Jared Taylor

Jared Taylor is the Programme Director of Animation at Edinburgh College of Art. Here he talks highly of the 2015 graduating Animation students, and of finding the beauty in small things in the Film Festival.

Animation by Helen Chiu
Credit: Helen Chiu

What can people expect to see from ECA’s Animation strand at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival?

This year we have the highest number of ECA Animation graduates premiering their films in the McLaren Awards that we have ever had - 6 in total.

  • Helen Chiu - One Step Ahead (One of this year’s graduating ECA Animation cohort)
  • Ainslie Henderson - Stems
  • Will Anderson - The Infinity Project
  • Owen Rixon - Toonocalypse
  • Steve Warne - Pombo Loves You
  • Simon Cartwright - Manoman

Four of these films are also being considered by the Short Film Award jury.

We’re really happy to see some of our alumni returning to Edinburgh, and delighted to see that they are all maintaining the diversity of method and thinking that we encourage in all of our animators. I think audiences will be surprised at the range and scope of what they’re being shown this year.

What do students get out of taking part?

The EIFF is a very effective launchpad for a graduating animator’s career, but as students they can become involved in a huge range of activities around the festival: the Animation Lab and the Youth Hub programme where they can talk to professionals and gain insight and guidance into how to shape their future projects.

The festival also operates on another level beyond the screenings and the programmed ancillary events and workshops - the sense of community that comes through having so many film makers, and avid consumers of film, in the UK’s most cinephile friendly city is nothing short of a provocation, an incitement towards more films being made, and that is a fantastic thing.

It’s impossible as a student in a film-related discipline in Edinburgh not to become caught up in the excitement and the energy of the festival, and that momentum lasts long after the festival is over.

How does taking part in the Film Festival inspire you?

Animators only occasionally get to see daylight, their films are usually their prime means of communication. As someone who teaches animators I find myself moved beyond words whenever I see the realisation on their faces of the fact that the film they have invested body and soul in making is actually having its intended or hoped for effect upon an audience.

That for me is the biggest inspiration - films without audiences have absolutely no meaning or purpose, so events like this are a kind of proof of existence for us.

What do you hope audiences can get out of coming along to the Film Festival?

In animation terms, I hope audiences gain an appreciation of the beauty that can be found in small things, that animation can be about truths rather than fantasies, that animation can explore the gamut of emotion, that animation can be a sensitive and intelligently expressive medium as well as one that can make you laugh so hard that stuff comes out your nose.

I dearly hope that the festival gives audiences a sense that these things are not only being made across the planet, but being made, right here, right now.

Have any other screenings or events especially caught your eye this year?

I’m actively involved in the Youth Hub this year, and took part in last year’s Animation Lab, so I may be a little biased, but I think above and beyond the screenings themselves, these events are incredibly helpful for anyone that thinks they might want to make films, animated or otherwise.