Belfast’s RENDR Festival Returns with Line-up of Award-Winning Animators

Speakers from Pixar, Aardman, ILM and Sony among line-up

Following the success of its debut last year, Belfast’s RENDR festival returns to the city next month with an extraordinary line-up of creative talent from the global animation industry.

The two-day creativity and technology festival, supported by Northern Ireland Screen, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Studio Ulster, Ulster University, Ulster Screen Academy and Belfast City Council, takes place from 29 February – 1 March at Portview Trade Centre in East Belfast.

Over 30 speakers will deliver keynote talks across two evenings alongside live and interactive demonstrations of new technology, digital art and gaming experiences. For the first time, RENDR will also offer live virtual access to the event from anywhere in the world.

Joining the festival from the world of animation is Academy Award winning Senior Animation Supervisor Hal Hickel, from Industrial Light & Magic. Hal’s work includes Toy Story, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Pirates of The Caribbean 1, 2, and 3, Iron Man, Rango, Pacific Rim, Warcraft, and Rogue One among others. Currently he is Animation Director on the Mandalorian series for Disney+.

Hal Hickel, from Industrial Light & Magic, is currently supervising animation for The Mandalorian and will speak at RENDR in Belfast.

From Sony Pictures Imageworks is Pawel Grochola, an FX and Look of Picture Supervisor who has worked on feature films including Edge of Tomorrow and The Mitchells vs the Machines. His most recent feature, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, is shortlisted for Best Animated Feature in this year’s Oscars.

Digital Artist at Pixar Animation Studios, Dylan Sission, will share his 25 years’ of expertise in animation and visual effects. A key figure at Pixar Animation Studios since 1999, he has made a significant contribution to the evolution and promotion of RenderMan.

Other speakers include Amy Ash, Head of Character at Axis Studios, who has worked on projects for League of Legends and Magic the Gathering, and Suzy Fagan Parr from Aardman, who served as a director and lead character animator on the recent feature film Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget.

Festival director Michael Weir comments: “RENDR offers opportunity to gain insight into unique perspectives within the fascinating worlds of film, gaming and animation, and to network with highly esteemed professionals in these industries. This is an important festival to the ever-growing creative industry in Northern Ireland and we’re proud to make a contribution. Building upon the success of last year, we hope RENDR can serve to inform, engage and challenge the creative community here to push the boundaries of technology in their work.”

For the full list of speakers and to book tickets, visit and stay up to date with the latest developments and speakers announcements on the festival’s FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.