BBF-Dock Bilbao

Festival’s program (4,4 MB)

Friday 13, 21:00h.

JOY BATCHELOR (1914 – 1991)

A pioneering animator, Joy Batchelor was born in Watford. Even today, there are markedly less women in powerful positions in the film industry than men, so Joy Batchelor’s career, as half of the Halas & Batchelor Cartoons studio is extraordinary.

The daughter of a commercial artist and a former golf club manageress, Joy was brought up to believe that talent, ambition and hard work were paramount, and that a woman’s place was not necessarily in the home. A gifted artist, Joy went to art school in Watford and was offered a place at the prestigious Slade School of Art, but unfortunately there was not enough money for her to attend. She found work at an animation studio creating films about a ‘dreadful little koala bear’. Appalled at the quality of the films, she taught herself animation, and soon become so skilled that she trained her colleagues – and was earning more than her father.

Joy met John Halas, an animator from Budapest, when she was looking for a better studio to work for. John was impressed by Joy’s talent and intuitive sense of movement. He hired her and they both went to Budapest to work on the series The Music Man. Production halted because of the WW2, and at the outbreak of the War, the pair returned to London where they both eventually found work creating animations supporting the war effort for J. Walter Thompson’s advertising agency.

By 1940, they set up Halas & Batchelor Cartoons, and got married. Throughout its history, the studio always strove to pioneer new styles and techniques from paper cut-out figures to computer animation, and it went on to create more than 2,000 films over 50 years.

The studio’s best-known work is Animal Farm, regarded as the first British feature length animation, which celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2014.

Joy not only animated, designed the characters and wrote many of the early scripts – she was also a producer and director at a time when women in the animation industry worked mostly as painters and tracers.

Thursday, April 12

Facultad de Bellas Artes, Sala de Proyección Edificio 2 (11.00 h)


  • THE FABLE OF FABRICS (1940), 6’ –advertising for LUX soap
  • DUSTBIN PARADE (1941), 9’ –propaganda film for the war
  • FILLING THE GAP (1941), 8’ –information film
  • CHARLEY IN THE NEW TOWNS (1946), 11’ –information film
  • TRAIN TROUBLE (1946), 8’ –advertisement for Kelloggs Cornflakes
  • MODERN GUIDE TO HEALTH (1946), 8’ –a film for the government*
  • DOLLY PUT THE KETTLE ON (1947), 2’ –an ad for Bookbond tea
  • THE SHOEMAKER AND THE HATTER (1949), 16’ –a film for the Marshall Plan
  • THE FIGUREHEAD (1953), 9’
  • PIPING HOT (1959), 6’ –a film for British Gas

Friday, April 13

Facultad de Bellas Artes, Sala de Proyección Edificio 2 (11.00 h)


  • FOR BETTER FOR WORSE (1961), 12’ –about the televisión for Phillips
  • AUTOMANIA 2000 (1964), 11’
  • THE FIVE (1970), 6’ –about foot health for young people*
  • ORE (1964), 55’


Ceremony with the presence of Joy’s daughter, Vivien Halas.

  • ODE TO JOY (2014), 5’
  • ANIMAL FARM (1954),  75’’

A selection made by The Halas & Batchelor Collection Limited with the support of the British Film Institute
* Material courtesy of The Wellcome collection