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While Beryl shapes up for the Oscars her writer is confined with Covid

26 Mar 2022 3 minutes Read
Image NFB and Beryl Productions International

While Beryl and her creator are busy preparing for the red carpet at the Oscar’s ceremony, her producer and writer is stuck indoors with Covid.

The award-winning animation team behind Affairs of the Art are having a very busy awards season thanks to the latest adventures of the legendary Beryl, the larger-than-life heroine voiced by Welsh actress Menna Trussler.

Having already scooped three British Animation Awards and a nomination for British Short Animation at the BAFTAs the Cardiff couple Joanna Quinn and Les Mills have been jetting around, heading where the accolades lead them.

Unfortunately, they have both contracted Covid along the way and had to isolate at home, and while Joanna has recovered and can travel again, Les is still testing positive so will miss the Oscar ceremony.

Speaking to the BBC Les said: “I’m gutted I haven’t been able to go, it’s a bit of an anti-climax but I am so glad Joanna has been able to go – I am just happy one of us is out there.

“I don’t know if it is going to be broadcast live, and if so, I will be watching it from home, but my daughter is going to be there, and will be shooting stuff and phoning me, so I will be there in spirit.

“I am deflated, but I have bit my lip and said never mind – I guess we will have to make another film so I can get out there.”

Sex symbol

In a recent interview with Director’s Notes Les Mills said: “In many ways, Beryl 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.”

It seems, however, that Beryl has something to say about that, as her efforts to pour herself into that all-important red-carpet dress have been captured in animation and were released on Twitter this week.

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.

Affairs of the Art will receive its UK TV premier on BBC Two Wales on Sunday at 22:15 BST.


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