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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.

A personal note from Vivien Halas

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