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‘Affairs of the Art’ scoops major wins at British Animation Awards

13 Mar 2022 3 minute read
Photo by NFB and Beryl Productions International

A Wales based animation team are celebrating as their latest project has scooped three awards the British Animation Awards (BAA).

Also nominated for an Oscar and a BAFTA, the hand-drawn animated short film Affairs of The Art won awards for Best Voice Performance, Best Short Film and the Writers Award.

Affairs of The Art, which was drawn and directed by Joanna Quinn and written and produced by Les Mills, follows the story of larger-than-life Welsh housewife Beryl who has grand artistic ambitions.

The new film continues the Beryl series, which began with 1987’s Girls’ Night Out, followed by 1990’s Body Beautiful and 2006’s Dreams and Desires: Family Ties and has already secured over 20 awards from festivals around the world

The film is the first co-production between Beryl Productions International and the National Film Board of Canada, and tells the story of Beryl, a 59-year-old factory worker who’s obsessed with drawing and determined to become a hyper-futurist artist.

We also meet her grown son, Colin, a techno geek, her husband, Ifor, now Beryl’s model and muse, and her sister, Beverly, a fanatical narcissist living in LA.

Voicing Beryl is Welsh actress Menna Trussler, who beat Ricky Gervais and Ben Whishaw to win Best Voice Performance.

Speaking about her final role last month, Menna said “I have been doing the voice for the same character over the past twenty years.

“I’ve finally finished acting and this was the last thing I did before retiring. I never expected it to be Oscar-nominated, so it is a lovely way to end my acting career.

“The character has developed a lot over the years, she loves the arts and so do I.”

A woman’s story

Speaking about Beryl in an interview with Patricia Miranda on Old School Lane Casual Chats podcast, Joanna said: “I was making a real effort to make a strong female character that would dominate the screen and be clearly a woman telling a woman’s story.”

In an interview this week with Director’s Notes Les Mills said: “In many ways, she has qualities that are greatly underrepresented in mainstream as well as alternative animation.

“She’s the ‘wrong’ age, shape and vocation in terms of female representation. She really is an anti-heroine with very humble beginnings, working class, working in a factory but always seeking a challenge or a way out, a new avenue to explore, and audiences seem to warm to her.

“There is nothing remotely glamorous about Beryl; she’s definitely not a sex symbol. There are millions of ‘Beryls’ around in the world.”

“In Beryl films, it’s Beryl who asserts herself and takes control. Those are the basic ideas running through the scripts: Beryl, asserting herself and stating, ‘I can do anything—I will do anything,’ and she goes for it big time, and usually succeeds!”

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