Joy Batchelor 12 May 1914 – 14 May 1991

25 years since her death and the world is a different place. After spending the war making propaganda and information films such as Dustbin Parade (1942) viewable here (1942), and the immediate post war era making films to rebuild Europe such as Shoemaker and the Hatter (1950) clip and Think of the Future (1953) clip both made for the Marshall Plan, Joy passionately believed in the socialist dream. Both she and John felt that animation could be used to make the world a better place as their series of films for the COI featuring Charley an everyman character who helped »

A Bauhaus archive in our home

Just before Easter this year the BFI, or should I say Jez and a van driver, took most of the remaining archive materials from my office in Lewes to the BFI National Archive in Berkhamsted and two days later Paul Wells and Steve Henderson came in a slightly larger van and saved quantities of tapes and other documents and books for The Animation Academy Collection at Loughborough. This reminded me of how in 1994 just around his 82nd birthday on April 16 my father set up the first Halas & Batchelor Archive in a brand new purpose built archive/office »

Brian Borthwick (1930-2015)

Brian Borthwick died on November 16th, the day by some strange co-incidence I was in the Imperial War Museum viewing one of his first films made for Halas & Batchelor in 1946, Coastal Navigation. He would have been around 16 at the time. You can read his biography here My memories of Brian are that he was always working away in the background; my parents depended on his skills as a model maker, draftsman, artist, animator and technician. He was someone who enjoyed solving problems as well as initiating ideas. One summer in »

100 years of Hungarian Animation

The spirit of John is alive and well. At least it is, in the exhibition of 100 years of Hungarian Animation that I was lucky enough to see at this years’ KAFF, the international animation festival held in Kecskemet in late June 2015. The exhibition of photos, artefacts, models and films charted Hungarian animation from its earliest moments to the latest prizewinning student films. I knew John that would be featured as one of the pioneers but it was still a shock to see him larger than life holding forth on the importance of animation. There as you walked in, »

John Halas Memoir - The Origin of Halas & Batchelor

In 1991, after the death of Joy Batchelor, John began to dictate his life story. This section is his recollection of setting up his first animation studio in London and meeting Joy Batchelor. "It was an experimental film test based on Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody that first brought me to London. My generous partner Macskassy encouraged me to do it myself while he continued to work on commercial projects. The result was a two minute colour test that though lacking in polish, with the music of Franz-Liszt, succeeded well enough for the backers to invite me to London. They consisted »