More than 2,800 cans of animation plus film prints, stills, scripts, papers, and thousands of original cells from the Halas & Batchelor Cartoon Company – which includes classic titles such as Animal Farm & The Owl and the Pussycat – have been donated to the BFI National Archive.
The Collection has been donated by Vivien Halas, daughter of husband and wife team, John Halas and Joy Batchelor who set up their studio in 1940 and is the largest single donation of British animation in the BFI’s history.
Hailed as “a British counterpart to Disney”, Halas & Batchelor’s work included not just children’s films and series, but also theatrical shorts, wartime information, commercials and industrial training films.
Explaining her reason for donating the collection, Vivien Halas said: “A portrait bust of my father has been in the board room of the BFI for many years and the BFI National Archive has already preserved most of Halas & Batchelor’s early war films in the COI collection. So it seems very apt that this great institution should become a permanent home for the fruits of my parents’ labours.
“I gave up my career as a graphic designer in Paris to care for the collection after my father’s death in 1995 but now need the security of a large organisation who can offer the specialist knowledge to preserve the materials for future generations and to make them accessible”
BFI Director Amanda Nevill said the organisation was “very grateful” to have been entrusted without he collection which she said: “demands to be seen and we have the curatorial skills and resources to present it in new and exciting ways, whether online as an educational resource, in our expanding chain of BFI mediatheques, on DVD or in cinemas.”
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