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Animation lecturer lands BAFTA nomination

Published: 28 January 2019 at 15:58

Elizabeth Hobbs - photograph by Joe Lawlor

Elizabeth Hobbs of Anglia Ruskin in the running for best British Short Animation award

Anglia Ruskin University lecturer Elizabeth Hobbs is celebrating after being nominated for a BAFTA for her short film I’m OK, an animation inspired by the life of artist Oskar Kokoschka.

I’m OK is one of three works vying for the best British Short Animation award, which will be announced at the EE British Academy Film Awards in London on Sunday, 10 February. 

Elizabeth, whose films specialise in telling the stories of interesting historical figures, said:


“I am really overjoyed to get a BAFTA nomination but also a little surprised, because the film is quite experimental and Kokoschka is an unusual subject matter.


“All three nominations are unusual, independent projects, which is very heartening for the animation scene.”

Elizabeth has been teaching animation to students on the Film Studies and Media Studies degree courses at Anglia Ruskin University since 2004, alongside her work as an independent filmmaker.  I’m OK was mostly funded by Arts Council England, The National Film Board of Canada and The Elephant Trust, and Elizabeth received additional funding from her department at Anglia Ruskin to carry out research at the Oskar Kokoschka Centre in Vienna.

Paintings by Kokoschka – who signed his work OK – are held by galleries and collections across the world.  Kokoschka left Austria for Prague in 1934, after being labelled a degenerate artist by the Nazis.  He moved to Scotland just before the outbreak of the Second World War and eventually died in Switzerland in 1980, aged 93.

I’m OK is illustrated by hand with Elizabeth using ink and paint drawings, accompanied by a powerful operatic soundtrack, to tell the story of the Austrian artist fighting in the First World War following the end of his passionate love affair with Alma Mahler.

Elizabeth was partly inspired by the Silent Partners exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge in 2014, which featured a photograph of a slightly sinister, lifesize doll of Mahler that Kokoschka commissioned following their difficult break up.

Elizabeth explained:


“I began to research his relationship with Alma Mahler and realized that the prints and plays that he created about their relationship were much more fascinating than the doll, which I think represented a mad moment.

“The film is a dialogue between his work and mine, in particular his lithographic prints and drawings, but also his diaries, plays and his autobiography. I used elements of his work or writing as a starting point for each shot or scene; I would draw it many times to bring it to life, until it became something.

“I start with a drawing, a sentence or an action, animate for as long as I can until I run out of time or ideas, then I cut everything together, review what I’ve got and have another go. There’s a lot of material that doesn’t get used, but I work really quickly, so I don’t think it takes too much longer than making a plan and getting it right the first time.

“It’s certainly a new challenge to make a film without dialogue, because in previous films I have so enjoyed conveying humour through words.  I’m OK is a different kind of film, because it’s about love and war, and about an artist, so his works, combined with the music, meant that words weren’t so necessary in this film.”


I’m OK is a co-production between Elizabeth, Animate Projects and the National Film Board of Canada.  As well as being nominated for a 2019 British Academy Film Award, I’m OK has been named as an Official Selection at seven major festivals including the 2018 Edinburgh International Film Festival, which also featured a retrospective of Elizabeth’s animations.