Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Aardman Awarded

The Brit studio's founders win a prize.

... Aardman is the indisputable leader of the pack when it comes to British animation, the chief, the king, the tip-top company. Morph, Wallace and Gromit, Flushed Away and Chicken Run are as close as the Brits have ever come to producing cartoons - both shorts and features - that have competed on equal terms with the work of Disney and Pixar.

Their movies have been backed by Dreamworks and Sony and have made hundreds of millions of dollars at the British box office. Nonetheless, Sproxton and Lord still speak about their company as if it is a small British family business, a bit like Morgan Motor Cars.

Work is now well underway on Nick Park’s next animated feature, the prehistoric comedy Early Man (which will be released in 2018). According to Aardman bosses [Peter Lord and David Sproxton], it was an almighty struggle to get the film financed, even with Eddie Redmayne leading the voice cast and a budget less than half of that of the average Pixar or Disney blockbuster.

“I have no complaints about the business at all. I love it,” Lord says but adds that the perception the Aardman founders are “rolling around in great pots of gold” is not true at all. They still have to hustle to put together their movies. “We can’t just say we want X million.”

It's a good thing that Sproxton and Lord are receiving the Annecy "Personality of the Year" award. Their imprint on British animation has been (and is) profound. Why many of their movies haven't been larger global hits is a myster somebody else can unravel, because I've got no idea.

Perhaps British comedy doesn't travel as well as it once did. I mean, Charlie Chaplin was a worldwide smash, so some things must have changed.


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