Ref NoDA
TitleDick Arnall Animation Archive
DescriptionThe material consists of 33 boxes containing the histories of artist-made animations in the UK and Europe from the early 1960s to the late 2000s.

The collection includes material from significant artist-focused animation events and organisations such as the Cambridge Animation Festival, Formations programming for Channel 4, and the Arts Council England/Channel 4 Animate! scheme (1990-2009).

It consists of video, photographs, production agreements, correspondence, finance, festival programs and magazines.

The amount of Cambridge Animation Festival information is particularly predominant, as Arnall was a founder. It also contains documentation from European animation and short film festivals.

Dick Arnall (1944-2007) was an influential animation producer who ran the UK's most innovative and productive Finetake film company that, with Channel Four, generated the 80-90s 'renaissance' of UK animation internationally.

His archive contains a wealth of materials, documentation and artwork with film-political and international experimental/animation filmcontexts, intellectual manifestos, rare old publications and also includes the unwritten history of the origins of the Cambridge Animation Festival. This archive overlaps historically and compliments the Bob Godfrey archive. Many of the filmmakers represented were students or former employees of Bob Godfrey at some stage of their career and some now hold key positions at the NFTS, RCA and leading animation degrees or are at the forefront of global animation companies such as Aardman, which only underlines Dick Arnall’s role in British Animation history. With his famous ‘Death to Animation’ article, Dick Arnall also contributed to the paradigm shift demonstrated in the British animations of this period. Rather than a traditional view of animation as mainstream cartoon entertainment for children, Arnall argued for a new form of animation exploring material, temporal and structural issues through a serious, adult form of artists’‘manipulated moving image’.

RepositoryUniversity for the Creative Arts
Extent33 boxes
LocationUCA Farham
AdminHistoryAppendix: Obituary:

Dick Arnall: Influential and award-winning British animator
by Gareth Evans
The Guardian Wed 18 Apr 2007

The call "Death to Animation" might seem surprising coming as it did from a man who spent morethan 40 years working in the medium but Dick Arnall, who has died aged 62 of pneumonia as a consequence of a brain tumour, was no ordinary producer. His striking 2005 polemic on theanimate! website sought to free up discussion around the possibilities of the manipulated moving mage. It revealed him to be at the forefront of thinking about what animation could be and do.

Born in Sunderland, he was the son of a design engineer and a domestic science teacher. Educated at Monkwearmouth grammar school he studied metallurgy at Queens' College,

At university he ran a successful film society and devised what was Britain's first animation festival there (1965, 1967, 1968). Described in 1968 by the International Film Guide as "by far the most original, exciting and creative film festival ever staged in the British Isles", the Cambridge seasons brought an international experimentalism to the country's filmgoing, showcasing the New Zealandborn film-maker Len Lye among many others. The festival was revived in 1979, with Arnall contributing unpaid support.

A move to London saw him work on George Dunning's Beatles vehicle Yellow Submarine (1968), the first animated British feature for 14 years, before joining Halas and Bachelor as assistant managing director (1969-1972). Talent-spotting and supporting the generation who became the industry leaders of the 1970s and 80s, Arnall produced first films by Paul Vester, Geoff Dunbar, Gillian Lacey and others, and managed the studio's Jackson Five and Osmond Brothers' series for ABC-TV in the US.

He travelled to festivals across Europe, and while attending the Mamaia festival in Romania was held up by armed bandits; he also met his wife, Finnish animator Marjut Rimminen. Her relocation to London and the birth of their son Timo in 1976 saw Arnall as an active house husband, extending their Highbury house single-handedly.

He returned to independent production with Rimminen's I'm Not a Feminist But... (1986), the first of 10 multi-award winning animations he would make in the following 15 years. These included Tim Webb's pioneering A is for Autism (1992), Ruth Lingford's Death and the Mother (1997), created on an Amiga home computer and Robert Bradbrook's autobiographical Home Road Movies (2001) for New York's Museum of Modern Art. Arnall's nurturing and defence of film-makers, especially emergent talents, ran through all he did.

It was this, coupled with his reputation for an unshakeable professional honesty, that saw him approached by David Curtis, Keith Griffiths and Clare Kitson, then head of animation for Channel 4, when they set up the broadcast commissioning project animate!, in conjunction with the Arts Council of Great Britain in 1990. He worked as its independent production adviser until 1998, steering 35 films to completion and numerous prizes, and was himself voted top producer in Creation magazine's 50 Hottest Names in British Animation in 1999.

In 2000 he returned to run the project itself through his own company Finetake. Radically extending its scope to take in an international artists' award and a major online archive and information resource (, Arnall turned his advocacy of animation as a visionary art form into a sustaining network.
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