The winners of this year’s Young Animator of the Year UK award have been announced by Access:VFX, the ScreenSkills Animation Fund and #Dami. Through its awards program, YAY UK aims to provide aspiring animators from a range of backgrounds with access to and advice from professionals and studios in the animation, games and visual effects industry. The winning work will premiere at the Manchester Animation Festival, which runs November 14-19.
The young animators entered their original work into one of six categories, separated by age range and animation medium and had their work reviewed by professionals from across the industry. The winners of this year’s awards are:
Best Stop-Motion Animator Aged 11-14; Rebirth by Finlay, 14 from East Sussex
Best 2D Animator Aged 11-14; hand-drawn short film by Freya, 14 from West Midlands
Best 3D Animator Aged 11-14; Companions by Noah, 14 from Dorset
Best Stop-Motion Animator Aged 15-18; Insomnia by Ben, 16 from Bedford
Best 2D Animator Aged 15-18; Future Therapist by Amelie, 17 from Edinburgh
Best 3D Animator Aged 15-18; Flight of the Odonates by Luke, 18 from Buckinghamshire
Oscar-nominated Aardman director Will Becher, who was one of the program’s judges said, “I was so impressed by the variety and professional quality on display in all of this year’s young entries. The skills they’re learning in this program and the valuable feedback they’re getting from across the industry is something they can take forward as they learn and grow as creatives. I can see many of them becoming successful professionals in the future.”
Throughout the summer the young animators who signed up to the program were set tasks by a number of the best VFX and animation studios around the UK before producing their own original films. As part of the YAY UK program, animators were encouraged to use opensource software that’s available to anyone, many of which are standard tools for the VFX and animation industry.
The skills learned and developed as part of the program are ones that are directly transferable to future careers, something which has been proved by one of the winners from last year’s awards program. Joshua Palfrey, 18, entered the awards with his short film First Place and has since joined Blue Zoo Animation Studio where he works as a full-time 3D artist.
Tom Box, co-organizer of YAY UK, board member of Access:VFX, chair of ScreenSkills Animation Skills Council and managing director of Blue Zoo Animation Studio said, “I want to extend a huge congratulations to this year’s winners. This program is a great way for young, ambitious animators to experience not just the creative process of producing their own original content but doing so alongside industry professionals and award-winning studios. I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off a young animator’s career.”