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.

The Palm Court Orchestra at the 

Palm Court Team Room

23 May, 6.30pm for 7.00pm 

at the JPK Project, 39 - 41 Church St, Eastbourne, BN21 1HP

Due to the Covid19 outbreak, this event will be rescheduled later in the year.

An evening of light-hearted musical cartoons from Halas & Batchelor. Cash bar and tea, coffee, biscuits and cake will be available during the interval. 

All tickets £5 in advance, available from the JPK project.


Click here for Nancy Denney-Phelp's fascinating article about the Unsung Women of Animation.

You can read the article by Vivien Halas from April 2020 Jewish Renaissance Magazine by clicking here

There's a fascinating article by Dr Emily Munro, from the National Library of Scotland including Joy Batchelor's films about potatoes. You can read the full blog here or watch the YouTube video here

Animal Farm in Ukraine

From 18 May

at the Holodomor-Genocide Museum

As part of International Museum Day, the Holodomor Museum will be displaying images from 'Animal Farm' as part of their digital exhibition, 'Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion'. The exhibition will highlight historical publications that expose the inequality, crimes and bureaucracy among the top USSR authorities - something Orwell prophetically wrote about. The aim of the project is to prevent society from repeating history, to build sustainability and peace through art.

The museum is also preparing a set of publications to accompany this, and will be using images of the character from Animal Farm in the publicity campaign on social media.

Automania 2000 in MoMA show

28 June - 7 September

MoMA, New York

This event has been postponed until summer 2021. Details will follow soon.

The Halas & Batchelor short film will be screened at MoMA as part of an exhibition of the same name. For full information, see the MoMA website.

Other news for 2020


On 18 May, we marked 80 years since the founding of the Halas & Batchelor studio with a special live event on Facebook hosted by the London Animation Club - you can find out more information from their Facebook page. This was followed by the premiere of Richard Shaw's documentary 'The Animated World of Halas and Batchelor' on SkyArts.


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.  

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.

  • White Instagram Icon
  • w-facebook
  • Twitter Clean

Recent articles

 All texts, unless otherwise credited are © Vivien Halas, 2020

Animal Farm (1954)