Previous Special Guests

DUKE JOHNSON
is a graduate of New York University and the American Film Institute. ANOMALISA, which Duke directed alongside Charlie Kaufman, is his first feature film and was nominated for an Academy Award® in the Animated Feature Film category. Duke‘s previous credits include the Adult Swim shows MORAL OREL, MARY SHELLEY¹S FRANKENHOLE and BEFOREL OREL. He also directed the Emmy Award winning episode of NBC¹s Community: ABED’S UNCONTROLLABLE CHRISTMAS.

Duke was a popular guest at the 2017 Festival and we hope he will visit us  again in the future!

WILL BECHER 

Will Becher joined Aardman Animations as a trainee assistant animator on Wallace and Gromit’s big screen adventure The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Since then, he has worked on features, commercials and TV shows including The Pirates, Creature Comforts and Shaun the Sheep.

He has written and directed three award winning short films. Will was the lead animator in the Shaun the Sheep Movie and is currently the Animation Director for Nick Park’s film Early Man.

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DAMIEN O’CONNOR

Damien currently works at Brown Bag Films as Director/Co-writer on Angela’s Christmas, an adaptation of Pulitzer Prize winning Frank McCourt children’s book ‘Angela and The Baby Jesus’. The film stars Oscar Nominated Ruth Negga (Loving), Lucy O’Connell (Song of the Sea) and Brian Gleeson (Snow White and the Huntsman).

Previously, Damien worked an Episodic Director on the Peabody Award winning; smash hit preschool show Doc McStuffins for Disney Junior.

He has written and directed four award winning Irish Film Board funded shorts Mutt, Ledog, IFTA nominated Dick Terrapin and IFTA nominated After You.

His most recent short film ANYA was a unique collaboration between Brown Bag Films and Irish NGO ‘To Russia With Love’ to help highlight the plight of Russian orphans. Since its release, ANYA has clocked up over a million views online and won several awards including the Best Overall Film at Limerick Film Festival and the Social Recognition Award at Dublin Animation Film Festival in 2014.