Dance films

Under/line CH4 3 mins 2001
I asked Wayne McGregor if he would like to work with an older dancer. We particularly wanted to create a piece for Diane Payne Meyers, (then aged 73) which showed off her grace. The sound track is by Scanner.
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Horizone CH4 9 mins 2001
Wayne McGregor suggested to me that we do a Dance for Camera together and Horizone is the result. It was mostly shot in Morocco. The score is by Jocelyn Pook.

Dancing Under the Dustcover CH4 9 mins 2000
I met Diane Payne Meyers to discuss making a film with an older dancer. She had told me she couldn’t send her CV, I had to meet her to see it. She produced an old guide book to Paris in which she had stuck photos, shopping lists, cuttings etc. This book became the starting point for the film which is a mixture of pixilation and live action.
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Dancing Inside BBC2 26mins 1999
I worked with choreographer Jane Dudley, then 86, to create this film in which she reflects on ageing and approaching death. I was keen to see how film could be used to make movement sequences using whatever movement an older dancer was still capable of and also using manipulation of bodies to create new movements. Computer programmes have advanced hugely since this was made and some of the film looks very dated now. The portrait of Jane remains emotionally strong in spite of this.
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Capoeira Quickstep CH4 /BFI 26 mins 1991
The film is a ’conversation’ with Brazilian Roberto Mader as I re examine my early impressions of Latin American culture and ’the other’. Although not conceived as a dance piece it contains a lot of dance sequences. .

Other Films

Mixed Feelings CH4 3 min 1997
This work is a series of four 3 minute films each portraying a different person talking about their mixed feelings following an abortion. I directed two of them.
All four use live action and computer manipulation in some way.
It was the first time CH4 had agreed to a budget sufficient to use visual effects and some animation. The look of the series has become very widely used since then.

Album BBC Picture This Series 26 min documentary 1996
In the early 60’s I bought an old album of photographs from a barrow in Farringdon Road, which was then well known for its second hand books.
The photographs dated from 1898 to 1911.
In 1996 I set out to trace the places and people in the pictures. I wanted to know who the album had belonged to and why it ended up on a barrow.
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Gotta Get Out CH4 11 min 1995
I am very claustrophobic but less than I was thanks to cognitive psychologist Dr Mike Wang. At a time when claustrophobia was limiting my life to a crippling degree, I decided to make a film about it.
Darren Walsh had been a student at Farnham, where I was teaching. There he started to evolve a style using masks and pixilation that seemed very appropriate for my subject. I asked him to direct the animation.
The film simply tells something about my claustrophobic experiences from the conversations Alison Steadman, the actress, and I had as we developed the voice over.
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Blind Justice series/ Murders Most Foul CH4 7 min 1987
I left Leeds Animation Workshop after Give Us a Smile. I felt I had so much research as a result of that film that I wanted to make a series. I proposed this to CH4 with a group of women directors – Marjut Rimminen, Monique Renault and Christine Roche. We received development money from Paul Madden, the commissioning editor for Animation. I was delighted when Orly Yadin agreed to join the group as the Producer. Murders Most Foul was one of the series.
The action is set with the court as a theatre, the jury as audience. The story uses quotes from real cases where often the woman is seen as in some way responsible for her own murder by leading the man on. In consequence he receives a lighter sentence.
I chose to use drawn animation although at the time Marjut suggested I pixilate it with live characters. In retrospect I have always wished I had taken up her suggestion.
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If By Chance we should Meet Halas and Bachelor 2 min 1971
A man and a woman meet and fall in love. However while she dreams of their merging together, he dreams of being swallowed up by her. A parasitic plant grows over them and they become skeletons inside it. One walks off. The other is left desolate.
Halas Bachelor funded this film while I was working for them. It’s a bleak piece about relationships, drawn in pencil. The film has deteriorated so much it’s not really visible and the sound track has disappeared

Up Halas and Bachelor 1 min 1970
An androgynous person is climbing up a swaying tower of humans who hang in the air. Many drop into a sea of flies below them. The flies pick at their brains. At the top of the tower a lotus flower opens and radiates light.
This one minute film was sponsored by Halas Bachelor. It was one of three films made for a competition called ‘The Condition of Man’. It was the first film I had screened in a festival – Tours - I was the only woman with a film there and was interviewed by French TV as a result.

Wanderings of Ulick Joyce 1968 BFI Experimental Film Fund
This was my first film. I made it with the support of the British Film Institute Experimental Film Fund. I had never animated anything before. The story was very roughly inspired by a Flann O’Brien short story. The Australian director, Bruce Beresford, was then heading the fund. He was an energetic and helpful producer. The experience of that fund is a long way from the application processes of today. I submitted a budget of £50. Bruce came back to me with £500.
I used the film to get my first professional job as an assistant animator on Yellow Submarine.


Leeds Animation Workshop was set up in 1978 to make campaigning films. The films were intended for educational use by schools, colleges, councils and trade unions. The workshop was funded by Yorkshire Arts Association, Arts Council Community Arts Programme and Job Creation Schemes. Later it received support from CH4 Film Workshops scheme.
When the group started I was the only person with any animation skills and the idea was to teach others to enable them to make films about issues that were important to them.
I left in 1984. Leeds Animation is still active today.
To find out more about the work of Leeds Animation Workshop go to

Give us a Smile 1983
Men call out at her on the street, she is blamed for encouraging and provoking their attention, told to stay indoors at night as the streets aren’t safe for a woman to be out alone. Representing ‘everywoman’ the film character decides to take action against the sexism she encounters in everyday life. The tables are turned.
This film won a ‘Special Mention’ at Tampere short film festival. It was made at a time when the Women’s Movement had gained great strength in the UK. It also coincided with a series of murders of women by Peter Sutcliffe who prowled Leeds for his victims. There was also a movement called Women Against Violence Against Women who were very active burning down sex shops, spraying graffiti on particularly sexist advertisement hoardings and taking a strong stand on the pornography industry.

Pretend You’ll Survive 1981
A woman is worried for herself and her family in the event of a nuclear blast. The government proposals for civil defence seem woefully inadequate. Looking at the situation and nuclear proliferation she concludes that disarmament is the solution.
This was made in the days of the Greenham Common Women’s camp and huge demonstrations against US weapons sited in the UK. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the newly established European Nuclear Disarmament were extremely active as more countries gained and increased their nuclear arsenals. The film was widely used by campaign groups and also in schools and colleges.

Risky Business 1980
Health and Safety representative Carol is accompanied by a robot who knows the regulations but doesn’t know the answers. Together they tour her factory encountering a variety of common problems which Carol is anxious to solve.
Used widely by Trade Unions and Health and Safety groups to introduce discussion in the workplace.

Who Needs Nurseries-We Do 1979
This was the first of the Leeds Animation Workshop campaigning films. It portrays a group of nursery age kids, presided over by three ‘chairbabies,’ discussing their need for nursery places and their problems arising from a lack of them. With little dissent amongst their group they decide to take action. .
Many newly formed Women’s Groups were campaigning for more nursery places at this time. The film was widely used to start of the meetings.


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