It’s been a few days since the start, and close of Manchester Animation Festival. My role as head of volunteers meant I was always at the front line – greeting excited delegates and guests, and running around HOME – the base of the festival for the past two years. As my second year with the festival, I understand the feel of it, every festival feels different. MAF is electric, full, surrounded by community.
As the hub for Aardman’s 40th anniversary, the space was buzzing with excitement. As part of the celebration was In Your Own Time – a panel discussion between Aardman, Mackinnon and Saunders (The Sandman) and Mike Mort. I’d slowly began to realise the dedication of these people, who often made puppets, wrote, directed and animated in their spare time in between jobs, during quiet weekends, during early mornings or late nights, just because they wanted to.
I’m always stressing the importance of volunteering, of offering up spare time for others, but this is one of those special moments that make me feel proud to exchange my time for being inside a small team of dedicated creatives, bounding towards one goal, one project and one vision. A dedicated team of volunteers certainly help during any art festival. I was overwhelmed by the generosity of others. Working 14 hours in an overly heated building isn’t always easy, but they persevered with huge smiles and great enthusiasm and for that I am so grateful.
It was a successful year, bigger and brighter than last year, but I hope 2017 will be MAF’s best year yet.