Animation Lab: Meet the Participants

BFI NETWORK South West are holding an Animation Lab at Encounters Film Festival – for new and emerging animators in the South West.

We’re looking forward to welcoming our cohort on Monday for the two day Lab! Day One of the Animation Lab will be a mixture of a screenings, talks and presentations from industry experts about their careers in animation and the industry. We will be joined by Greg McLeod of the The Brothers McLeod, BAFTA winning animator Chris Hees, Film Programme Manager at the British Council Gary Thomson,  BAFTA in Scotland award winning animator Jessica Ashman and BAFTA Cymru nominated animation director Joseph Wallace.  Day Two of the Lab will focus on storytelling, led by script consultant Selina Ukwuoma.

Find out more about the animators journeys and career below, and make sure to have a look at what’s on at Encounters Film Festival. 

Annie & Sookie


Sookie and Annie met while working on an animated production as Design Coordinators and quickly realised their mutual love for video games and cartoons. Both wanting to do more creative stuff in the industry is where the idea to collaborate came about. Sookie went to Bournemouth University studying Animation Production graduating in 2014. Annie studied Drawing at Falmouth University graduating in 2016.

Sookie enjoys diet coke, long walks on the beach and binging The Sopranos. Annie spends her spare time eating hummus, annoying her cat and crying to Over the Garden Wall.


Heather Colbert

Heather Colbert is an animation director specialising in stop motion and hand drawn animation. She has created several music videos combining both mediums, two of which received Vimeo Staff Picks. She has also collaborated with animator Abel Carbajal at ESCAC, Barcelona, as a character designer and puppet maker.

Marie Lechevallier

Marie Lechevallier is a French animator specialising in stop motion animation. She graduated in France from the Ecole Supérieure Arts Appliqués et Textile (ESAAT) with her stop-motion project “The Last Chance” and studied at Volda University College in Norway where she directed the commissioned stop- motion film Frankulstein.

After working as an assistant director, animator and puppet maker on the award-winning short animated film Manolo, Marie animated on multiple children series and short films before obtaining a certificate in character animation from National Film and Television School and Aardman Academy. She animated on Nick Park’s new feature Early Man and is currently working as an animator on Shaun the Sheep 2 at Aardman Studio. Beside character animation, Marie gives talks, run animation workshops and is part of Hangar studio where she develops her personal work. Knot will be her first credit as a director since graduating.

Hannah Anastasi

Hannah Anastasi is a self-taught Animator based in the South West of Cornwall. In 2014, her first Animated Short Commute of the Crow premiered at the Prince Charles Cinema as part of a Young Filmmaker’s competition hosted by the BFI and Talenthouse. Hannah’s 2nd Short Sweet Tooth was officially selected by multiple International Film Festivals, proving popular among young audiences, and was awarded a Special Mention from the Children’s Jury at the Encounters Short Film Festival, 2018.

Companies that Hannah has created content for in the past include LG, Windows and Ram Trucks. Recently, she has started leading Animation workshops with HeadStart Kernow to help build resilience and mental well-being in young people, and to spread her passion for traditional forms of animation.

Paolo Russo

Paolo Russo is an Italian freelance animator and up-and-coming film critic living in England. He is deeply passionate about cinema both as a filmmaker and a film lover. After an Intensive Foundation Course in Art and Design at Oxford Brookes University, he moved to Bristol to study animation at the UWE, where he developed his skills as a 2D and an under camera animator. His graduation film The Pangolin and the Hedgehog is a children’s animation entirely hand-painted on glass. Once settled in Bristol, Paolo worked on a series of commissions as a freelance animator, including a hand-drawn music video for the song “Empty Sea” by Will Newsome and as a storyboard artist for Unanico Group on a Netflix children’s show.

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