Monday, 15 February 2016

At the BAFTAs with the Animation Nominees

Richard Williams (left) and Pete Docter (right)
Saturday night was the BAFTA before-party, held at Kensington Palace this year and a great way to entice all the American nominees to make the trip to rainy London in February. Who wouldn't want to turn up for a party at a royal palace? Above is a photo of two of the nominees: on the left is Richard Williams, whose short film Prologue was nominated for both a BAFTA and an Oscar this year, and on the right is Pixar's Pete Docter, whose feature film Inside Out won the coveted golden statue for Best Animated Film at the BAFTA awards on sunday night.

Still image from Prologue
Listening to the two directors talk was like hearing a detailed history of Disney animation, and the animators who worked there.

Both Williams and Docter grew up in the shadow of Walt Disney, both eager to learn the craft of animation and understand what made the Disney studio lead the field for so long.

Pete Docter was one of the famed CalArts class in the 1970s, the so-called "class that roared", which produced some of the leading figures in the animation industry who helped to create the new "Golden Age".

We're disappointed that Prologue didn't win on Sunday night, but it is still in the running for the Oscars in two weeks time.

Below is what Tom Sito, former president of the Animation Guild and now a professor of animation at USC, had to say about Richard Williams' work:

"Regardless of who wins the Oscar, you have to hand it to Richard Williams, that at age 82, he drew all by himself a film worthy of an Oscar and Bafta. He once told me "in the end, the best way to do something is the hard way. People waste too much time thinking of short cuts. Just draw!"

Another time, I recall seeing him after Roger Rabbit, and after Warner Bros took the Thief away from him. I asked him what did he do when Hollywood stripped him of his epic project? He said he took a year off to do life drawing.

That blew me away. Here was one of the finest animators on Earth, with three Oscars already, and he is not above squatting in front of the model with a newsprint pad. Dick has always led by example. Its an example for us all."

The winner of Best Animated Short was the stop-motion film Edmond, made at the NFTS.  Winner of Best Visual Effects was Star Wars.

Here at Escape Studios we're keeping our fingers crossed for Prologue at the Oscars in two weeks time.


The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To apply for our new BA/MA starting in September 2016, follow this link

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