So, almost a year on…

…And as you’ve probably figured out, there will be no such thing as Aniscape 2013.

This is due to a few reasons. the least interesting of these was my own personal health getting a bit complicated this year. Nothing serious, just highly distracting and time consuming in a few different ways. The other two are more much more a part of it though.

The organisation of Aniscape ended up being a largely single handed process. That wasn’t really the plan, but that’s how it turned out. I really wanted it to happen, so I didn’t give up on it, I wanted it to feel like something worthwhile, and try to bring a community together. And i wanted it to look like a festival, so I did most of the graphic design for everything you saw on the day. I got so much great work sent to me for the animation showcase, which i edited into one big reel, making sure it would happily play on loop for 2 weeks. i’m really proud of the festival as people saw it on the day.

But, organizing something like that is hard! It took its toll on me physically and mentally (my girlfriend often points out that I now have a grey streak in my hair due to it) and in the weeks after Aniscape, I just couldn’t bring myself to think about it. This is why its so much better to work in a team. There were bits a loved doing, and wanted to make them better, but I couldn’t because I had to do things like work out schedules for the day, and make sure we had enough tables, and work out money stuff (Aniscape pretty much broke even in the end, though time was the thing it consumed most.) My avoidance of all things Aniscape just after the festival happened was something i regret, as it was the perfect time to try and bring a community together, and i feel I dropped the ball on that one. But I just didn’t want to lock myself into doing another festival alone.

Also, I’m not an event organizer. I’m an animator.

I wanted to animate again, and make that the focus of my life. Soon after Aniscape, I started doing things for myself again. Whats been really nice is I’ve distanced myself from the animation ‘industry’… i have no real urge to make money out of my work. I just want to get back to the days where I made things for one purpose - to entertain people.

And it happened. Last summer I was involved in creating a theatre show titled ‘The Lost Child’ - a multimedia show that used both actors and my animation to tell a story. We went to Edinburgh Fringe and performed the show 5 times over a week, raising money for Rainbows Hospice. We performed and entertained, and as an animator I got something really unique out of it - I got to sit in the audience with everyone who ever saw that piece. I love that. Animators often forget that their goal is to entertain that audience. And i would love to be at the back of every theatre, listening to every laugh and gasp my work creates. Its addictive, and far more valuable than money.

So, the plan is to do it again next year. We’re already working on it. And to be honest, its all I want to be doing right now.

Also, Aniscape has made way for another festival that I’ve been helping out with; Code Control. Its focus is a programming tool called Max/MSP, and even if you have no interest in programming, it will be full of some amazing artwork that uses technology in really interesting ways. Its the way we built our live animation system for ‘The Lost Child’ and well worth checking out at

Thank you to everyone who supported Aniscape in every way, the organizational people, Citizens Eye people, Phoenix people, FD2D people, marketplace guests, speakers and especially the people who bought tickets. I’m sorry I haven’t held up my side of the deal and haven’t created something ongoing. That was the original dream. I often hope someone would ask me about it, then offer to run the thing again. I would love Aniscape to live on somehow. but i don’t think i’m the guy to do it.

I will always be proud of that day. Thank you for being a part of it.

Andrew Leeke

Post Fest Blog Post


Aniscape is over. I’ve spent a few days getting used to that fact, and now I’m ready to blog about it. 

Aniscape took roughly about 6 months to plan and organise, with most of it being done single handedly in my spare time, so I’d grown very attached to it. I’ve loved and hated it in equal measure, so the day itself was fairly emotional for me. 

So I got to phoenix for 8am, and didn’t really stop running about until the end, but it was great. We got the market place set up, arranging the tables as we wanted them,  John Coster from Citizens Eye took charge of this area and created a really good atmosphere.

From Dusk 2 Dawn were great, talking to lots of people and having one of their artists (Mair Perkins, who I annoyingly didn’t get chance to talk to!) doing cartoon style caricatures of people.

Deans Metal Dog

Dean the art Wizard brought his amazing metal dog, and showed some of what we had been doing on Aniscapes education day, along with explaining what exactly it is that he does. If anyone is planning an event, i really would recommend getting Dean involved. Everyone can get involved and create something really unique.

We also had Amy Jennings, who creates stop motion puppets, this is her, doing an interview!

follow her on twitter here!

Illustrator Rachael Smith was creating various illustrations all day, selling her wares and generally doing great things all day.
Dean The Art Wizard + Rachael Smith!

In her own style, she documented it on her blog, in the form of an illustration:

Such a good blog, read it, follow it, buy the book!

We also had Jason Boomer promoting his Red vs Blue UK machinima festival thats happening next week @Phoenixsquare

Aniscape animation festival

 The Talks

While I spent a lot of time running around, I did manage to see some of every talk. The Phoenix was a great space to use for this, and I can only apologise for the lameness of my introductions ( I was very very tired, sorry.) 

First up was NSC Creative, based at the National Space Centre. Paul Mowbray gave us an overview of what they do, including some of the challenges they face working in a full dome, and then Austin Durose gave us a case study of a project recently completed for the Space Centres ‘Weather Pod.’ It was a great presentation with some really amazing visuals.

Then we had Leo Bridle, who came up from London for the day to give a presentation about his film ‘Train of Thought’ - which if you would like to watch again, here it is!

He gave some great insights into the inspirations behind various aspects of the film, and the process behind creating it.

After lunch (where many people got to look at the marketplace, and visit the cube to watch the animation showcase) it was back to the talks, this time with Stuart Owen and Brad Auty from Jagex Game Studio They showed us how a big shift in art direction is affecting they way they animate their game characters, as well as creating animation that needs to sit alongside the huge amount of content that has been developed over 10 years. A huge amount of work clearly goes into this game! IF you want to play it, get on over to

Last but not least, the final speaker of the day was Mohan Subra who talked about what it takes to get an animated TV show from concept, to a final product that you can sell internationally. He gave us many insights into why certain key choices make something more attractive to worldwide markets, and what it takes to get noticed by the right people. He really did pack a lot of information into a short space of time, and I felt really bad having to cut him off! would have loved some time for Q&A with him, but it was unfortunately not possible.

The talks were really fantastic, and I really liked how diverse the talks were, covering many techniques and different aspects of animation. 

The movies 
After the talks, we showed both The Iron Giant and The Illusionist which are both fantastic films. I literally cannot watch The Iron Giant without crying my eyes out. Fortunatly I was helping back up the marketplace I got to skip that embarrassment (mostly, I still caught the end and blubbered a bit.) Then James introduced the illusionist (his intros are much better than mine) and then it was all over!

Thank you to everyone at phoenix, all my speakers and marketplace people, John Coster and the citizens eye team, my volunteers and everyone who sent films in for the showcase, it really validated the festival having amazing work on display all the time.

And thank you of course to everyone who bought a ticket. I hope you enjoyed the day. I’d love to hear what you thought of it. 

The big question… will it happen again? Well, right now I’m really not sure. It depends if people want it to happen. There was a few people who specifically didn’t want this to be a success, but I think we managed to ignore them and have a good, productive festival. I know what I would do differently if it does happen again, but I want to know what you want.  More films? No films? More talks? different pricing structure? Please, let me know and we’ll see what happens.

Thank you to everyone, I hope we inspired you, or in some way helped you on your journey to achieve your dreams. 

Andrew Leeke 


I shall write up a proper account of the day later on, for now, more sleep:) 

Thanks To John Coster and Citizens Eye for making this!

6 Days to go! and a break down of the days events!

Hello everyone, not long now!

It occurred to me that I haven’t really posted the details of the day! Its on the flyer, and in the brochure, and now its here, so you can play your day out in fine detail!

Aniscape Talks - 24th march 
Listen to talks from professional animators and gain some insight into the world of animation. Plus, see our film screenings for the reduced price of £3.50 each!

10am Aniscape officially begins!

11:30am introduction

11:45am NSC Creative - Immersive Storytelling
An award winning studio that specializes in full dome and Stereo 3D work, right here in Leicester.

12:45am Leo Bridle - Train of Thought
A director and animator who’s previous clients include Nickelodeon and The Science Museum will take us through the making of his short film ‘Train of Thought’

2:30pm Jagex Game Studio - Runescape
Brad Auty and Stuart Owen will be showing us their work, and what goes into creating animation for the world biggest free MMORPG, Runescape.

3:30pm Mohan Subra - Selling Your TV Ideas
With 25 years experience, Mohan Subra has worked with many clients, including Cartoon Network, and will be talking about his own tv project, Patch Pillows.

Film screenings
show your Aniscape talk wristband to get a reduced price of £3.50 each. (works both days)

The Iron Giant - 4:30pm
The Illusionist - 6:30pm
The Iron Giant - 3:00pm
The Illusionist - 5:00pm

Media Marketplace
From 10am
The Phoenix Cafe will be transformed into a media marketplace; a space for artists to display and discuss their work, and for budding animators to pick up some hints and tips, or discover something new. Entry to the marketplace is free, and open to all, so why not come on down and check out what’s going on?

Also, as of yesterday, The Cube at Phoenix Square is currently showing over 2 hours of animation that you amazing people submitted. If you’re there any time this week, pop in and watch a few (or all) of the shorts that have been sent in. Some great stuff!

If you haven’t already bought your tickets, you can get them online here! or you can buy them through the Phoenix box office! 
8 days to go!!

While things are crazy for me right now, its also an exciting time of things coming together. Aniscape is going to be fantastic. If you don’t already have your tickets, get them now! 

Ok, now to a little profile piece. The Friday before aniscape, we’re going to have an education day (that’s why on some aniscape logos it says the 23rd! Confusing, I know.) One of our main collaborators for the education day is Dean The Art Wizard. 

Dean Williams (AKA, the art wizard) creates large scale animations, much like art attack, but animated! the plan is to use lots of the recyclable materials that gets produced in a digital media centre to create some animation on a scale many people will never see. im really excited to see what they end up creating! Dean will also be showing off what he does at the marketplace on the 24th, so you’ll all have a chance to meet him then.  

In other news, The Cube at Phoenix Square will be hosting a 2 hour showreel of animation from tommorrow (hopefully) in the lead up to aniscape! im about to go set it up, so hope it all goes well!

bad news (boo) good news (yay!)

Ok, so you may have noticed news on Aniscape a little quiet over the past few days, and there’s an unfortunate reason.

One of our speakers, Szofita has been forced to cancel. It was tough for her to do, but it was a choice she had to make, and she made the right one. It’s just a shame for us that we wont get to see the talk she was going to give, I’m sure it would have been fantastic! She will be sending her work over still, so ill make sure it gets shown so you can all see her fantastic work. 

But, that left me with an empty slot to fill!i wanted to deliver 4 interesting talks, and thats what people expect (and deserve if they’re buying tickets) so thats what we will do. So, after lots of head scratching and a few emails, we have a new speaker to announce!

Mohan Subra

Mohan Subra has 25 years industry experience as an animation director and consultant for animation. His previous clients include Cartoon Network, Copernicus Studios and Leo Burnett. Most recently he has created and directed ‘Patch Pillows’ a 78 episode preschool animated show that will be released worldwide this year. Mohan is going to talk to us about how he developed and sold this concept to a worldwide audience. 

Check out lots more of his work (and I mean lots) at his website 

Despite the last minute addition to Aniscape, I’m really looking forward to this! This is a talk for people who want to get serious about their work and make something big. I’m also geeking out a little because I remember his Cartoon Network stuff from when I was younger!

Mohan will be giving his talk in the 15:30 slot of Aniscape, that is advertised as ‘Szofita - Szofitaland’ in the Phoenix brochure.

Tickets on sale now! 

Here’s a digital version of the new flyer that you’ll see dotted about Leicester over the next few days. If you’re reading this, i hope you grab a few and give them to friends. Spread the word! It features a breakdown of the days events, and a few pictures of our newly named mascot, Ruffus.

In other news, we’ve got over an hours worth of animation submitted to show at the festival, and there’s still time to send in lots more!

Tickets for aniscape are on sale now, from the phoenix box office or their website

A delayed reaction to a fantastic creation

Wow, I’ve been so busy I entirely missed someone great doing something great to announce their involvement with Aniscape!

Rachael Smith will be at aniscape, doing some drawing, showing off her art, and generally being a great creative talent in whichever way she wants to. She announced this on her blog ALMOST A MONTH AGO when I asked her to be involved, and I totally missed it. In her typical style, she captured the moment like this:
Rachael Smith

check out her blog at Every single time she posts, it makes me smile. When I’m not too busy to read it!