On Sunday April 13, as part of the Bird’s Eye Film Festival, the Barbican art centre in London is set to hold an event to mark the centennial of animator Joy Batchelor (1914-1991). Speaking at the event will be Joy’s daughter Vivien Halas; author and former Channel 4 commissioning editor for animation Clare Kitson; BFI animation curator Jez Stewart, and film critic Brian Sibley, whose work includes books on Disney and Aardman.

The Barbican website outlines the focus of the celebration: “This event, celebrating the centenary of her birth, looks at Joy’s life as both a professional co-running a creative studio and her role as a mother through a film compilation of highlights from her impressive oeuvre.”

Batchelor co-founded Halas & Batchelor Cartoon Films, for some time the biggest animation studio in Britain, with her husband and creative partner John Halas in 1940. Although it is Halas who has received most of the popular attention over the decades, this event is set to place Batchelor firmly in the spotlight. As well as co-founding a major studio, she worked as a director, producer, screenwriter, animator, and character designer during her career; the BFI database credits her with directing more than forty films from Carnival in the Clothes Cupboard in 1940 to The Ass and the Stick in 1988.

She started out as an animator at a time in which there were few women in the industry outside of the ink-and-paint department. Joy Batchelor bucked this trend and has earned a place not only as a significant figure in the history of British animation, but also in the history of women in animation.

Visitors to the event will be able to purchase advance copies of a new book, A Moving Image: Joy Batchelor 1914-1991 – Artist, Writer and Animator. This 100-page volume from Southbank will be published on May 15th (pre-order on Amazon or Amazon UK).

Here is a list of the films that will be screened during the upcoming event:

Dustbin Parade (1941)
Charley in New Town (1948)
Modern Guide to Health (1946)
6 Little Jungle Boys (1945)
Dolly Put the Kettle On (1947)
The Figurehead (1953)
Piping Hot (1959)
Ruddigore (1964)
The Five (1970)
Automania 2000 (1963)

Neil Emmett

NEIL EMMETT is a cartoonist and aspiring screenwriter based in the United Kingdom. A graduate of the Norwich University of the Arts animation course and former member of the BAFTA Youth Board, he began keeping a regular blog about British animation entitled The Lost Continent during his studies.