Clare Kitson, the influential commissioner of animation films at the U.K.’s Channel 4 from 1989 to 1999, has been selected as the recipient of the Lotte Reiniger Lifetime Achievement Award, to be presented at the 2018 European Animation Awards.

The award, which was won by Richard Williams last year at the first-ever European Animation Awards (EAA), is presented to an individual in acknowledgment of the importance of their participation in the artistic, industrial, and technical aspects of European Animation. The recipient of the award is determined by the Board of the EAA.

Clare Kitson.

Kitson is highly regarded for helping place independent British animation on the map. During her tenure at the British public broadcaster Channel 4, she commissioned hundreds of shorts from filmmakers that included the Brothers Quay, Joanna Quinn, Ruth Lingford, Mark Baker, Run Wrake, Candy Guard, and Barry Purves, as well as foreign filmmakers like Paul Driessen, Priit Pärn, Raoul Servais, and Jan Svankmajer. Two of the films she commissioned – Nick Park’s Creature Comforts and Alison Snowden and David Fine’s Bob’s Birthday — won Academy Awards.

Channel 4 during these years was regarded as one of the most adventurous animation producers in the world, helping to grow the general public’s understanding that animated film is an art form and not just commercial product. Her tenure at Channel 4 was also notable for how she promoted women filmmakers; she commissioned just as many films from women directors as male directors, something that has rarely happened since anywhere else. Kitson also set up the long-running Animate! initiative with the Arts Council of England.

In addition to her work at Channel 4, Kitson has also written multiple books, including Yuri Norstein and Tale of Tales: An Animator’s Journey, the definitive English language study of the Russian filmmaker.

The European Animation Awards will expand this year into a two-day event that will include not only the Emile Awards ceremony, but also a series of conferences, roundtables, and masterclasses. Kitson will be one of the masterclass presenters, and another will be presented by Aardman Animations co-founder Peter Lord.

The 2nd European Animation Awards are set to take place December 7 and 8, 2018 in Lille, France.

The Emile Awards are currently accepting entries for their 18 competition categories. The deadline for European filmmakers to submit projects is October 15, 2018.

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