Aardman’s hit: the perfect blend of absurdity and British silliness – VPRO Cinema

In 1982, Nick Park, an introverted student at a British film school, decided to make an animated claymation film as his final project: A great day out with Wallace and Gromit. The story was about a goofy inventor (loosely inspired by Park’s father, a compulsive fixer) and his intelligent dog, who travel to the moon together. Based on the completed script, Park calculated that the film would be approximately forty minutes long. It was only when recordings began, and on good days, that he was producing no more than two seconds of moving images, that he began to wonder: This project might take ten years to complete.

Park learned animation technique as a teenager from his photographer father. He made his first movie characters from pieces of felt left over from his mother’s work as a seamstress. As a fan of slapstick pairings like Laurel and Hardy and Tom and Jerry, young Nick had already created stories about the comedy duo.

After three years of hard work, Park completed less than a quarter of his film, so he was unable to graduate. That’s why I keep taking lessons. For example, one day there was a guest lecture from two young filmmakers from Bristol, Peter Lord and David Sproxton, who together founded the small-scale studio Aardman Animations. (The company’s name was named after a character from their first film: a goofy cross between Superman and an aardvark.) Aardman had been around for about ten years by then and mainly produced commercials and children’s films for the BBC. When Park sheepishly asked Lord and Sproxton to take a look at his project, they were so impressed that they offered him a job on the spot.

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At Aardman, Park began working on several stop-motion projects, e.g Video clip For the song Peter Gabriel Heavy hammer And comedy video means of comfort. Among the companies he knew him Wallace and GromitThe film has to be completed – greatly shortened, that is. Great day out It finally appeared in 1989 and was immediately nominated for an Academy Award. A nice twist of fate: The Oscar was not redeemed, but Park did win an award that year, for the nominee as well means of comfort.

Sophie Baker

"Award-winning music trailblazer. Gamer. Lifelong alcohol enthusiast. Thinker. Passionate analyst."

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