A personal note from Vivien Halas
In 1991, just after my mother Joy Batchelor died, my father took me aside to show me how much better he thought her drawings for the illustrated book of Animal Farm were than his own. He also asked me if I would mind having my name added to the company letterhead as a director, to replace my mother. I said fine, even though I was 5 months pregnant and living in Paris. When he died, in 1995, I found myself with the company and a considerable mess of litigation over Animal Farm, unsorted and missing films in all kinds of formats, as well as drawings, cels, books and trophies. By 1996, I realised that it was time to come back to England and form The Halas & Batchelor Collection Limited.
It took many years to sort through all the material but I felt it was important to preserve the legacy of work that is a unique and important part of the history of animation. And I have had so much fun meeting so many great animators, artists, technicians and archivists who have helped me preserve, protect and present the work. Without being an animator myself, I have been able to feel part of the 'animation family', for which I am very grateful.
Today most of the collection lives in the BFI, where it is magnificently housed and cared for. However, Halas & Batchelor retain the intellectual copyright to most of the films, with the exception of the early films made for the government and some of the films made for sponsors.
In 2017, the Halas & Batchelor Collection bought the world rights to Animal Farm (1954) from De Rochemont Films Inc. So although we have been the main distributor world wide since before my time, it is good to be certain that the film is entirely ours, still fully in copyright and not in the public domain.
Looking ahead to 2020
Halas & Batchelor will celebrate 80 years since it was formed.
Sky Arts will be broadcasting a new documentary about the studio by Unity House.
In France Malavida will be re-mastering a new celebratory BluRay and DVD of Animal Farm with all kinds of extra bonus material.
We plan to take part in a major new arts festival Insiders/ Outsiders celebrating the contribution to British culture of refugees from Nazi dominated Europe. More information to come.
British Animation Women Breaking the Mold
Vivien Halas was delighted to be interviewed for this upcoming documentary about the role of women in the animation industry - a celebration of female talent as well as a look at employment trends. You can view the trailer here.
Secrets of British Animation
This major documentary, featuring Halas & Batchelor, is available to view on iPlayer until 24 December, click here.
Christies Auction of Halas & Batchelor items
Rare artwork associated with the production of Animal Farm will be offered in an online auction on 11 December. Full details can be found here.