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Lisa Wood – Thought Bubble Festival p1

Readersvoice.com aims to collect a few interesting reading tips. Lisa Wood describes comics as an undervalued art form. Some of the best examples of this art form will be on show at Thought Bubble: The Leeds Sequential Art Festival 14-20 November 2011. Lisa Wood is director of the festival, and she is also an accomplished comics creator. Ms Wood's comics reading is wide ranging, and in this interview she recommends many good comics and mini comics artists, along with some interesting novels.

READERSVOICE.COM: The Thought Bubble festival is run in association with a film festival in Leeds. I was wondering if you found many people from the movie world are crossing over into comics. The expense of production would be much less for starters.

LISA WOOD: There seems to be major cross-over appeal.
I think it really helps that so many great stories in comics are being translated to the big screen. We have, of course, all the superhero films at the moment, but beside this we also have great films like The Tracey Fragments, Road to Perdition, History of Violence and Ghost World. These films and the wide ranging graphics from new and old publishers have managed to open the medium of comics up to a much larger audience.

RV: What festivals did you admire when you were starting the Thought Bubble festival?

LW: I’ve always liked the feel and marketing behind events such as TCAF and Angouleme. I like the idea of a festival spread across a city, with many different events, strands and organisations involved, which can bring all cross-sections of the community together — a festival that promotes an undervalued art form and discusses the benefits it can bring to education, literacy and creativity.

RV: What steps did you take when organising the first festival from scratch?

LW: I was lucky. The original idea I had attracted attention from the Leeds International Film Festival and Travelling Man (a chain of comic stores), so that gave me momentum to make it happen. The event started very small, and so was easily manageable, and with the marketing of the film festival behind it, it gained an audience almost immediately. With the help from major partners and sponsors along the way, it has gone from strength to strength every year.

RV: How has the festival changed?

LW: I would say the philosophy of the festival hasn’t changed at all. We are still non-profit, and dedicated to promoting education through sequential art. The majority of our workshops are free for everyone, and all events are free for children. The thing that has changed is the scale. With the support of Arts Council England and Travelling Man, the event has now become the biggest comics event in the UK. We have developed the event from our initial one day convention to become a week long festival taking place across two cities.

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-copyright Simon Sandall.