TEESSIDE UNIVERSITY’S internationally-renowned Animex festival is to be held online this year and has also forged a major new partnership to further cement the region’s position as a hotspot for digital innovation.

Due to the global health emergency caused by the coronavirus, as with many events, Animex has had to adapt this year and will be moving online for a two-week celebration of animation, games and visual effects.

The festival has also launched a new partnership with the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority, working together to use Animex’s reputation and profile to continue to development the Tees Valley’s burgeoning digital sector and establish the region as a hub for digital innovation, growth, enterprise and employability.

Animex is one of the world’s largest and longest running festivals of animation and computer games, which, over the years, has attracted guests including Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson, and visual effects legend Ray Harryhausen. It has an international reputation and attracts visitors from all over the world.

Now, for the first time, the festival will be held completely online from September 21 to October 2.

The Northern Echo:

In a drive to open Animex up to a wider audience, this year’s festival will be completely free and visitors will be able to attend a whole host of online workshops, screenings, exhibitions, professional talks and games tournaments. Those looking to break into the industry will also have the opportunity to showcase their portfolios to a range of experts.

Jo Noble, principal lecturer in Teesside University’s School of Computing, Engineering & Digital Technology, is one of the organisers behind the Animex festival.

She said: “This year’s Animex festival has been a challenge but we are delighted to be able to host it online and believe it will give us the opportunity to further develop our plans to open the event up to the wider community.

“Animex is a fantastic event which has been incredibly successful for many years. However, there is a feeling that it is viewed as a closed university event and something that is only open to students and people from the industry.

“Our ambition is to open the festival up to the Tees Valley community and get more and more people involved and engaged.

“It is fantastic to have the support of the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority. They share our vision and are passionate about establishing the region as a place where digital happens and promoting all the benefits which that brings.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Animex has been going strong for decades. It would have been a real shame if the coronavirus pandemic had ended its plans to bring together some of the top industry experts, researchers, students and fans to celebrate the digital and creative sector.

“Our region has a strong reputation in this field, with businesses across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool doing work that gets us seen across the globe, which Animex helps to champion. The industry will also be vital to our economic recovery post-coronavirus.

“That’s why I was all too happy to help out and work with Teesside University to get Animex online and keep our digital agenda in the spotlight. This will ultimately help businesses and our next generation of talent, as well as giving people across the globe another fantastic event to look forward to.”

The Northern Echo:

The Animex Festival recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and every year boasts a stellar line up of animation and games industry experts from around the world.

Instantly recognisable industry names such as Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Industrial Light and Magic and Rockstar Games have regularly sent representatives to Animex to provide insight and expertise on the latest releases.

For more details about this year’s festival and the events taking place, visit https://animex.tees.ac.uk/.