The Halas & Batchelor Archive

As readers of this blog will be aware, we have a very special screening coming up this Friday (22 July) at St Nicholas Church, Brighton. We will be presenting Halas & Batchelor’s Œ’Animal Farm’, with a short talk from the filmmakers’ daughter, Vivien Halas (booking details below).

In preparation of this, the Filmspot team asked Vivien to pick out three of her highlights from the Halas & Batchelor Archive, which she recently donated to the BFI. This collection of film prints, stills, scripts, papers and original cells, forms the largest single donation of British animation to the institute, and features many gems.

Automania 2000 (1963)

A satirical and prophetic short film, directed by John Halas and written by Joy Batchelor, Automania 2000 presents the future, as they predicted in 1963. It has turned out to be worryingly accurate, portraying consumerism gone mad. It won a British Academy Award and was nominated for an Oscar.

Symphony Orchestra (1964)
From a series of short films made for the BBC entitled Tales from Hoffnung based on the drawings of artist and musician, Gerard Hoffnung. Packed full of witty visual gags, it depicts an orchestra giving a performance to end all performances!
History of the cinema (1957)
Paying tribute to, as well as parodying, Hollywood tradition, this short was one of John Halas personal favourites. He co-wrote the film with Nicholas Spargo, who went on to pen Willo The Wisp. It was included in the annual Royal Command Performance.
All of these films are available on the DVD which is included with Vivien’s informative and richly illustrated book, ŒHalas and Batchelor Cartoons. It gives Vivien’s personal account of her parents, alongside critical insights by Paul Wells, Richard Holliss and Jim Walker, and includes a foreword by Nick Park.

FILMSPOT SCREENING OF ŒAnimal Farm (1954), with introductory talk from Vivien

Friday 2nd July, 7.30pm St Nicholas Church, Brighton
Tickets £7 (£5 concession)
Available from Brighton Ticket Shop (
Part of the CMP Festival