The 2016 Pitch Panel

There was great excitement at the Poly last week for the annual Falmouth Animation Level 3 Project Pitches. Most of our first and second years were already there, chattering away and filling up the 180 cinema seats as the illustrious panel took their seats to rapturous applause.

To help select the film ideas that were to be given the 'green light' we were delighted to welcome five key animation industry panel members this year. They were...

Candy Guard who has written and directed 13 animated shorts for Channel 4, the BBC and MTV. She also wrote and directed 20 episodes of the cult animated sit com, ‘Pond Life’ for Channel 4.  Candy’s adult illustrated novel ‘Just a Little Disco on an Open-Top Bus’ was published by Penguin, while Macmillan recently published her series of illustrated books for tweens: ‘Turning To Jelly’, ‘Jelly Has a Wobble’ and ‘Jelly Breaks the Mould’.  Candy came to Falmouth last year and helped the third years to develop some of the projects being pitched on the day.

Bexie Bush is an award-winning filmmaker. Her film, 'Mend and Make Do' went on to win over 30 awards (including BAA Public Choice Award 2015). Currently Bexie is working with The Open University to make a film about the future of Energy. In addition she has raised £10,000 on Indiegogo to continue to make 'The Rumour Mill' as part of a residency in John Smedley’s Mill in Derbyshire.  Bexie’s filmography includes: 'Betty’s' (2010), 'Britain' (2011), 'Ever Hear a Postman Whistle?' (2011), 'Mend and Make Do' (2014).

Erica and Georg
Our third judge was Erica Darby who is a partner and creative producer at Spider Eye, one of Cornwall’s great success stories. From a background as an artist and production manager in studios such as Richard Williams, TVC , Passion Pictures, Uli Meyer and Disney, Erica has produced and developed many award-winning commercials, shorts and features with the Spider Eye team (which includes many of our own alumni). Spider Eye has established its own international brand with 'Jungle Junction', along with a reputation as being one of the UK’s most commercially viable and internationally recognised animation studios.

Rosa and Jean
Jean Flynn is development producer and director at CHF Entertainment, responsible for turning original concepts into series.  At Cosgrove Hall Productions she started as an animator, before moving on to direct series such as ‘Danger Mouse’ and ‘Count Duckula’. Jean has directed for the Chuck Jones studio and as a producer works closely with clients and broadcasters and overseas studios in India, China and Europe.  Projects have included the award winning animation/live action interpretation of ‘Peter and the Wolf’, which won an international Emmy and was awarded Best Children’s Film at the Chicago Festival.

Bexie and Darren 
Our final judge was Darren Walsh who devised, directed, and voiced 'Angry Kid' for the BBC at Aardman. He has also directed commercials, title sequences, and broadcast idents for the BBC and Channel 4, before moving to London and joining Passion Pictures in 2003.  At Passion Pictures Darren directed campaigns for Sony Bravia 'Play-Doh' (the one with the rabbits going crazy round New York), (that one with Alexandr the Meerkat), Peperami, Specsavers, BBC iPlayer, Duracell and National Express Trains. Darren’s commercials have picked up over 50 awards, including the animated the clockwork mouse for 'Hugo', which was nominated for 11 Oscars.

Back at the pitches and once up on stage, the auditorium lights were dimmed so low that now the cheering supporters were no longer visible, leaving the contestant in a lonely pool of light to make their pitch into the silence, not an easy thing to do. To add to the pressure, the Level 3 Pitch is a tough, competitive process and our industry panel asked a series of pertinent questions at the end of each presentation.

The selection process took place afterwards over a drink, with heated discussions around the table. Our students know that it is only by limiting the amount of film projects that are made in the third year that high production values and significant ambition can be achieved. However the panel had seen potential in all the projects pitched, so hard choices had to be made.  In the end nine projects were selected to go-ahead and work has already begun this week in all cases.

The green-lit projects are:

Big Top

Merlin the Mallard


Our Daughter is a Necromancer

Business Dog

Cold Case

Dino Diner

Over the Road

Watch this space for updates on how the projects are progressing.

Over the next couple of weeks all the students will decide which projects they want to work on, as storyboard artists, designers, animators, riggers, modellers, producers and so on! This way they will be able to hone their specialist skills throughout the year and prepare themselves for the animation industry ahead. 

Well done to everyone who pitched on the day, regardless of whether your project made the final selection, you did yourselves proud, you did us proud and all impressed the panel hugely!  A great day.


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