BFI Gruffalo/Stick Man screening + Q&A

As part of The Gruffalo’s birthday (The book’s 20 and the film 10!), BFI Southbank is organising a Family Funday on Sunday 30th June. They’ll be screening The Gruffalo and Stick Man in NFT 1 at 12:30, preceded by a fun arts&craft workshop in the foyer. I’ll be joining producers Michael Rose and Martin Pope for a Q&A afterwards, where we’ll happily discuss working with Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, and our desire to combine good story telling with high quality animation. I’m biased of course, but I feel these TV Specials always look good on a cinema screen... so if you have little ones, make it a day out! Booking information here.

Räuber Ratte wins award!

What an unexpected treat. Almost two years after the film was completed, The Highway Rat has won ‘Best Short Film’ at the largest Children Film festival in Germany, the ‘Goldener Spatz’. What is a first is that it’s not the original but the German dubbed version, Räuber Ratte, that got this accolade. So a big thank you to German TV channel ZDF and its editor Nicole Keeb, not only for co-producing the film, but also spending a lot of time and care on a translated version of the highest standard. I’ll have to brush up on my German now before having a look... 'Stehen und liefern!', oder 'Halt und abgeben!'?

The Highway Rat nominated for an Annie Award

That cheeky rat has clawed his way into 2019; we are nominated for a prestigious Annie Award! On the 2nd February, The Highway Rat will be competing for the ‘Best Animated Special Production’, up against some formidable other nominees, including Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns and Google’s Back to the Moon. It’s an incredible honour to be mentioned amongst those productions, and I’m already looking forward to next year now. The Annie Awards are held in Los Angeles, with an aim to recognise excellence in animation. Having one of the prettiest awards in the industry (a golden Zoetrope), one can only dream….. but come what may, this nomination will be an opportunity to visit Disneyland again!

4 nominations at the European Animation Awards

It’s with great joy I can announce The Highway Rat has been nominated for 4 European Animation Awards. We will be competing for Best Writing, Storyboard, Character Animation and Soundtrack in the TV/Broadcast category. The European Animation Awards are fairly new. It was created to recognise and honour the diverse talent in Europe. Therefore, its aim is not just to award a director or production company, but those individuals and teams who have been pivotal throughout an animation production. I think it’s very fitting for an industry that relies on so many skills, and for me personally it’s a true honour to be namechecked alongside those who have worked so hard on the film last year. A good opportunity to celebrate together. The awards will be held on Saturday 8th December in Lille. Looking forward to celebrate. To see all the nominees, click here.

Manchester Animation Festival talk

I'll be heading up North on 15th November, to give a masterclass at the Manchester Animation Festival. I'm looking forward to taking the audience behind the scenes of The Highway Rat and talk about the various production stages that took this story from picture book to half hour TV special. It's a nice opportunity to show 'never-seen-before' concept art, character designs etc... all the drawings and paintings that established the look of the film and informed the CG production. So if you're a fan of Magic Light Pictures, I hope to see you in Manchester next month! For those interested, click here for more info about the event

London Philharmonic Orchestra performs The Highway Rat

What a hoot, seeing The Highway Rat performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra at The Royal Festival Hall. The event was part of FUNharmonics, aimed at introducing the joy of music and instruments to young ones. No surprise, the venue was filled with young families, some children dressed as the Highway Rat themselves. The Royal Festival Hall has a capacity of 2500, and to my delight every seat was taken. It's the largest screening of the film I've ever witnessed. And what an experience it was, seeing the music performed live, conducted by Terry Davies who had also orchestrated the original score. It brought back wonderful memories of working on these compositions with Rene Aubry more than a year ago, giving the film it's adventurous tone. The event was masterfully presented by Lucy Griffiths, who explained the various sections of the orchestra and then coaxed us all in a massive singsong before the screening started. A treat from start to end.

The Highway Rat at the Ottawa International Animation Festival

I just returned from the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF), which was a great experience; 4 days filled with varied and interesting films, populated by an audience that was extremely keen to see what has been produced internationally. The festival has been one I've been aching to visit for years, since my student films were nominated many moons ago. OIAF is regarded as one of the biggest animation festivals in North America, so I am delighted to have won a Special Mention at the award ceremony for The Highway Rat. The jury consisted out of children between the age of 8 and 12 years old, and I have never seen more diligent jury duties on display. Jet lag aside, good memories of the festival, Ottawa and Canada as a whole!

The Highway Rat wins Rose d’Or

It was a huge honour to be awarded the Rose d’Or 2018 award for ‘Best TV Children and Youth’ for The Highway Rat. I already felt privileged to be nominated amongst the best of European programming, especially as we were the only animated show. But winning the actual award topped it all. As the Rose d’Or define the gold standard of excellence and achievement in Entertainment programming, I’d really like to thank everyone who has helped pushing the quality of The Highway Rat over the course of 1,5 years; from its small story & concept department in London to the Juggernaut production at Triggerfish Animation and the final care at Goldcrest (and many many others inbetween). The Berlin based event was prestigious and relaxed. It was great to have the opportunity to rub shoulders with the makers of some of my favourite shows, and get a sneaky selfie with Lifetime Achievement winner, Joanna Lumley. And always a nice excuse to wear a suit for the day!

The Highway Rat wins at CURTAS International Film Festival

A lovely summer treat; The Highway Rat was chosen as the winner of CURTHINAS (Best Children Film) at the CURTAS International Film Festival. The event is held in Vila do Conde, close to Porto, and it's a marvelous place. If you like me, enjoy celebrating film making with the odd trip to the beach, this festival is the place to be! I'd love to express my thanks to the wonderful festival team to invite me over and join the closing ceremony and celebrations. I'm particularly happy that the jury in my category was made out of a group of children, 8-12 yr old. It's lovely to hear the film appeals to children outside the UK and that its Christmas themed ending can be enjoyed on the hottest week of the year as well.

The Highway Rat nominated for a Rose d'Or

An unexpected treat, The Highway Rat is nominated for a Rose d'Or! The prestigious Rose d'Or Awards are a bit of a European institution; they define the gold standard of excellence and achievement in Entertainment programming. We are nominated in the 'Children and Youth' category, where we'll compete as the only animated program. Very exciting news. But before it's so far, we still have a few other festivals to attend; The Highway Rat is also nominated at the Curtas Vila do Conde shortfilm festival in Portugal and the Ottawa International Animation Festival in Canada. The Rat is not ready to return to his cave just yet! For more information about the Rose d'Or nominations, click here.

Stick Man part of Luna Kids Cinema

Fans of The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom and Stick Man are in for a treat; this trilogy of films will be screened over the summer, as part of Luna Kids Cinema. This open-air cinema event is launching screenings for children for the first time, so I'm chuffed to hear Stick Man is part of its repertoire. Don't let Santa's appearance fool you; Stick Man travels through the seasons and there will be moments of fun 'beach escapades', perfect for summer and fitting with our current weather. Luna Kids Cinema is being held at several venues across Britain, including London, Hertfordshire, Surrey, Manchester and Cheshire. For more information, click here.

London Philharmonic Orchestra live performance of The Highway Rat

'Then they shared out the food from the saddle bags and feasted all night long - Bright were the flames of the bonfire, loud was the music and song.' Fans of Rene Aubry's music (Stick Man, The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom) are in for a treat; The Highway Rat will be screened at the Royal Festival Hall with a live soundtrack performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Hearing Rene's adventurous and rogue-ish score live is bound to elevate this film and will hopefully be a wonderful first concert experience for many children. The event will be held on the 14th October and tickets are released now on the Southbank Centre's website. For more details, click here.

The art of The Highway Rat.

I've been privileged to work with two concept artists at the top of their game on The Highway Rat; Aurelien Predal and Caroline Vos. Aurelien has been a longtime collaborator on Magic Light productions, since The Gruffalo in 2009. He helped out in the early stages of production with colour mood boards and initial set design, whilst I was still adapting the story. Aurelien's sense of colour is captivating. He has the ability to create an atmosphere with colour, something we tend to hang on to during the latter stages of production, like lighting and compositing. Caroline was the production designer at Triggerfish Animation, her work is sumptuous and detailed... and boy is she fast! She created many varied set designs and in her last few days on the job, managed to paint them all (see photo). Her work has been invaluable to the texture and modeling team, raising the production value of this film significantly. Please check out their work, it will be a treat. Aurelien Predal & Caroline Vos.

NUA conference

I was a guest speaker at Norwich University of the Arts, for their first animation conference. The day was filled with talks from people in the animation industry, ranging from recent graduates to established studios. I talked about the stages in my career and went into depth how The Highway Rat found its way from page to screen. It was very enjoyable to browse through all the concept art and many stages of production again: a good reminder how much love and passion was given to this project, and the amount of work that gets put into a single frame before it reaches an audience. Much kudos to John Dunleavy and Helen Piercy who organised the seemed very popular. The jump from studying animation to turning it into a career is filled with certain obstacles, so trying to bridge that gap at university level is very commendable.

The Highway Rat nominated at Annecy

The festival season has begun and I am delighted to announce The Highway Rat is nominated at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, in the TV Film category. Annecy is one of my favourite festivals, as it brings back many happy memories (I've been going there on and off for the last 20 years). After visiting I always feel proud to be part of the animation industry. It's the third time I've been nominated in the TV Film category, with Bing in 2015 and winning the Crystal for Best TV Production with Stick Man in 2016. After last year's hiatus, being ankle deep in animating The Highway Rat, I look forward to return to Annecy this June, seeing old friends and hopefully making a few new ones. Here is the list of other nominees in the TV Film category.

First award for The Highway Rat

Exciting news from across the Atlantic; The Highway Rat has won the Audience Award (age 3-6) at the New York International Children Film Festival. Our first recognition! It's a huge honour to be chosen out of a mix of strong international film content. This festival is quite an ambitious one; it runs for 4 weeks and welcomes over 25,000 visitors through the doors of various New York venues. The aim is to present them with a mix of the best new animation, live action and documentary from all over the world. It's very rewarding to receive an Audience Award, as it means the film is enjoyed by those who it was aimed for. It's still a mystery to figure out how to hold a child's attention, so it's nice to know that our naughty Rat has managed it! Here are the other winners.

The Highway Rat TV advert from Jeroen Jaspaert on Vimeo.

The Highway Rat DVD sale went off with a bang this month; we entered the UK DVD chart at number 6, the highest ranking animation that week. Here is a TV advert that coincided with the release. Nice to see some clips that didn't feature in the BBC trailers. It saves me from doing a little edit myself.

Kilkenny Animated 2018

I'll be at the Kilkenny Animated Festival, to screen The Highway Rat and talk about the making of the film. The festival runs from 23 to 25 February, and promises to be a fun event with emphasis, not just on animation, but on visual storytelling. I'm looking forward to show a lot of the artwork that has been part of the visual development of The Highway Rat. Pre production is always an exciting phase of the animation process. I love how the many paintings, sketches and sculpts create the tone and the look of a film early on, and aid the storytelling. The craft and the artistry at this stage is always of high quality, but as their task is to inspire the CG production, they don't often see the light of day. So it will be nice to redress that balance. For more info about the festival and my talk, click here.

The Highway Rat on DVD

It's amazing how fast 6 weeks can go by, but The Highway Rat is out on DVD already! So for those and their kids who'd love a bit of repeat viewing, the time is now. Apart from the film there are some nice extras to enjoy. If you're interested in the artistry behind an animation production, there is a 20 minute 'making-of' documentary navigating through the many stages of the creative process, and an artwork gallery with colour keys and mood boards from the film. For the little ones there is a school stage play of The Highway Rat, performed by Julia Donaldson, Axel Scheffler and Julia's husband Malcolm, the original Scottish Rat! And if you happen to think that DVDs are a thing of the past, no worries, you can access the same film and extras on Amazon Prime...everybody happy! I hope our naughty Rat Thief can steal your heart again, a second time round.

The Highway Rat viewing figures

Happy New year everyone! The ratings are in; The Highway Rat attracted a total of 7.7 million viewers for its TV launch! With today's TV viewing habits in mind, that's more than a respectable figure. On Christmas Day we were the 8th most watched program, with a 31% share of the TV viewing nation at that time. It's enormously gratifying that these TV specials seem to be synonymous with a contemporary family's Christmas experience now. This news has been the perfect antidote to beat January's dreaded Blue Monday...and will keep me chuffed till February, when the DVDs get released.

The Highway Rat air date revealed

It has been a fun month promoting The Highway Rat; we had a sucesful cast and crew premiere and a surprise cinema screening at the Barbican, with a very excitable young crowd. The film has also traveled the North of England to accompany the Doctor Who Christmas Special at cinema events organised by the BBC. But now it's time for its big terrestrial TV premiere. We have been awarded an incredible TV slot; The Highway Rat will be shown on Christmas Day, BBC One, 16.45 PM. That's after Cinderella and before Doctor Who, perfect for some eventful family viewing. I hope you'll all tune in, and enjoy this animated adventure, a tale of biscuits and bandits, with hopefully a warm Christmassy glow at the end. Less than a week from now, very exciting. But for those who can't wait till then, here is a teaser with some finished animation. Merry Christmas!

The Highway Rat press screening

We held the press screening for The Highway Rat at Soho House yesterday. It was an exciting moment, not only seeing all that detail on a large cinema screen, but also sharing the film for the first time with a crowd that hasn't been involved in any way or form... little bit scary. To my relief the reception was great; the audience laughed at the moments I hoped for, and I got a lot of compliments afterwards. Fingers crossed to good press reviews come Christmas. Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler were also at the event and were very pleased with the film, the ultimate seal of approval. Of course, I can't share much yet, but here's at least another still to whet the appetite.

It's a wrap!

Film making never ends with a bang, but with 'that last little shot that needs that last little tweak'. Having just approved that last little shot at Goldcrest post production services, I can officially say IT'S A WRAP! How exciting it was, on my way back to the office, to spot this in Waterstone's Picadilly. The whole window has been decorated with The Highway Rat, combined with the invite that next Saturday Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler will be there to sign books and show original artwork. A life size Highway Rat mascot will be there as well to meet and greet. It's a fun reminder of the order of events; film finished, now to wet the appetite for it.

The Highway Rat Cast revealed

It's been a challenge to keep this cast a secret for almost a year. But finally I can reveal my dream team; David Tennant, Tom Hollander, Nina Sosanya, Frances de la Tour and Rob Brydon will be the key players in this year's BBC One TV Christmas special 'The Highway Rat'. It's been a delight to be in the recording studio with such talent. They have really helped to bring Julia Donaldson's and Axel Scheffler's woodland animals to life, each with their own unique personalities. We spent the last 7 months animating them at Triggerfish Animation Studios, and didn't get bored listening to the same lines over again... definitely a good sign. The combination of Tennant as a greedy Rat and Brydon as an entertaining narrator feels like a perfect match to me. At Magic Light Pictures, we are looking forward to Christmas already!

The Highway Rat near completion

This blog has been quiet for far too long. That's because 2017 has been a non-stop rollercoaster ride, getting my next film 'The Highway Rat' in shape for its Christmas release. All other commitments (in true animation production fashion) have been put on the back burner. But what's this???? The Triggerfish crew T-shirts have arrived! That means end of production should be nigh...very exciting (and a little bit daunting). Keep your eyes on this page for the first snippets of Highway Rat news to be revealed very soon.

Stick Man wins four gongs at the Kidscreen Awards

Just when I thought Stick Man's run of the festivals was finally over, we managed to become the star of the Kidscreen Awards in Miami. We won four awards; 'Best TV movie', 'Best Direction', 'Best Music' and 'Best Design'. What a lovely surprise. It's great to be singled out for best direction, but I'm even more chuffed that the amount of extra thought and detail we put into design and music have not gone unnoticed. Now everyone at Magic Light Pictures and Triggerfish are moving on with exciting new projects, it's a nice reminder we achieved something pretty together. Kidscreen prides itself in singling out the year's best work in international children TV, so it's a huge honour to be considered one of the top performers. To see the full list of award winners, click here

ANIMA 2017

This year I'll be going to ANIMA, the Brussels Animation Film Festival, which starts in early March. I've been invited as a member of the jury, deliberating the national competition. As Stick Man's run of the festivals is over now, I'm looking forward to position myself on the other side of the fence for once. It will be exciting to see what kind of animation films have come out of Belgium in the last year. I'm looking forward to experience the festival as a whole. Last time I've been to ANIMA, I was still a student, and it was the turn of the century. I'm sure a lot has changed since then. To see the full line-up of juries, click here.

Stick Man back on TV for Christmas.

BBC one will be screening Stick Man again as part of its festive TV schedule. We're on, sandwiched between Kung Fu Panda and Wreck-it-Ralph, on Friday 30th December 4.30 pm. As Santa (spoiler alert) flies off in the distance, waving goodbye to Stick Man, we ourselves can wave goodbye to 2016. Christmas 2016 looks like it's a good year for British animation, with Revolting Rhymes, We're going on a Bear Hunt and Ethel and Ernest being shown on various channels. I'm glad that amongst this output of new animated shows, Stick Man still managed to get himself a little slot. I hope a lot of people are up for a spot of 'repeat viewing'!

Stick Man podcast

On an extremely windy evening in Cape Town, Daniel Snaddon and I sat together to reminisce about Stick Man's first steps and our journey from there. This conversation has been recorded by Dan's wife Julia, who works for Animation SA, and turned into a podcast. It was nice to think back about how we were all thrown together at the start, and how despite many obstacles, we managed to create something we're very proud of. I listened to the podcast and, surprisingly, am not too annoyed with the sound of my own I guess it's worth a share. If you've got 40 minutes spare, here it is.

Stick Man nominated for Children's BAFTA

Stick Man has been nominated for a Children's BAFTA. Such wonderful news. We are in the 'Best Animation' category. Joining that list are some previous BAFTA winners, such as Shaun the Sheep and The amazing world of Gumball. So we definitely are in good company, gearing up towards an exciting evening. The awards will be held on Sunday the 20th of November, luckily not too long to wait. For full list of nominees, click here.

The Highway Rat

Stand and deliver! Together with Magic Light Pictures and Triggerfish Animation I started production on another adaptation of a popular Julia Donaldson/Axel Scheffler book; The Highway Rat. It's the story of a greedy rat who robs the dwellers of the highway, in the hope they might carry cakes and sweets. But he doesn't realise he is about to get his comeuppance from the least likely source...... I've enjoyed turning this picture book into a half hour script and look forward to start our CG production. It will be a swashbuckling adventure with bandits and biscuits! But all in due time; The Highway Rat will hit our screens Christmas 2017. For the official press release, click here.

More awards for Stick Man

Keeping my eyes focussed on the award ceremony in Annecy, I completely overlooked that Stick Man was winning awards in other parts of the world. Returning home from France, I discovered we won prizes in Bangalore and Singapore. It's such a privilege, 6 months after premiering the film to a UK audience, people can enjoy it in various parts of the world. Stick Man won 'Best Animation' at the Bangalore Shorts Film festival and scooped two prizes at the Singapore International Children's Film Festival; 'Best Animated Film' and 'Audience Choice'. I'm particularly chuffed about 'Audience Choice', as I feel the film's message and mix of humour and heart is coming across. I gave an interview to the Singapore Straits Times ahead of the festival. Here's the full article.

Stick Man wins Cristal at Annecy

It's been a remarkable week with Stick Man winning awards at festivals all over the world (Shanghai, Canada, Bangalore), but the cherry on the cake has definitely been our win at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival! We won the Cristal for best TV Production. This feels like an incredible moment; Annecy is the festival where I discovered the animation world outside Belgium for the time, and where my love for the medium truly intensified. My first visit was in 1997, a real eye opener.....and after several visits and being in competition with my films 'White love Potion', 'The masque of the Red Death', and TV series 'Bing', I am incredibly proud to be part of Annecy's 2016 palmares. It only took me 20 years, just like the first rule in studying animation; it's all about patience. Many thanks to Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler for the original story of Stick Man, Magic light Pictures for offering me this huge opportunity and Daniel Snaddon & Triggerfish Animation for an enjoyable 1,5 year of production. This Cristal is to all of us.

CURE by Benjamin Scheuer

Benjamin Scheuer - CURE (Official Music Video) from Radish Pictures on Vimeo.

After finishing Stick Man around Christmas, I was craving to do some animation that was short, fun and stress-free....what better project than animating cracks on a naked body! CURE is a thoughtful song by Benjamin Scheuer, depicting his battle with cancer as a 20something. This thoughtful and poignant song was turned into a beautiful music video under the direction of Peter Baynton from Radish Pictures; a motion controlled camera took individual pictures of Benjamin's body, slowly altering depth of field, whilst Peter and I painted growing cracks, centimeter by centimeter. We also had to cut up a suit in order to make it grow in a stop-motion style. I enjoyed the project as it was very fast moving and hands-on. The 'straight ahead' painting approach was in sharp constrast with how I usually plan my character animation, it gave me a nice sense of being outside my comfort zone. We were all very proud of the end result. So far the music video gets very nice write-ups online, culminating in being chosen as a Vimeo Staff Pick. This music video was the 4th collaboration between Benjamin Scheuer and Pater Baynton, all animated. Let's hope there are many more to come.

Stick Man wins 'Best Animation' at BANFF World Media Festival

Whilst mingling with other directors at Annecy, I heard from a competitor that Stick Man won another award! We had just received the Rockie Award for 'Best Animation' at the BANFF World Media Festival in Canada. BANFF celebrates excellence in TV and digital content from all over the world. I had the privilege to watch some of the other BANFF nominated TV shows in Annecy; a very versatile selection with high standard in animation quality. BBC performed the best at BANFF with 4 awards. I'm extremely pleased to have been part of that output. The see the full list of winners, click here.

Stick Man wins 'Best Animation' at Shanghai International Film Festival

The week where Stick Man found itself selected in various film festivals started off on the right foot. We won 'Best Animation' at the Shanghai International Film Festival. It's a very prestigious event, which prides itself in being the biggest in South East Asia. It was a huge honour to be up for not one, but two awards: Best Animation and Best Story. Amongst the other winners was Games of Thrones for 'Best TV series', so I count myself in very good company. Sadly enough I couldn't make it to Shanghai as the event coincided with the nearer to home Annecy International Animation Film Festival. So Stick Man himself went to pick up the award. The event was broadcast live on Chinese State television, so I hope he had his speech prepared. It's great to hear Stick Man is popular amongst different cultures. A stick seems to unlock a child's imagination all over the world.

Bing wins Emmy® award

Bing has won an Emmy in the Pre-school category at The International Emmy® Kids Awards. Such fantastic news. It meant a lot to be nominated alongside some of the best international children’s television programmes, but to win makes this moment even sweeter. A big thank you and massive thumbs up to everyone involved in the creation of's been a labour of love from Ted Dewan and everyone at Acamar, Tandem and Brown Bag Films. It's a real honour to hear that Bing has so many fans, in and out of the UK. Winning an Emmy®… it’s a Bing thing!

Bing on Belgian TV

Since last year, Bing has been expanding its horizons and has been screened internationally. I'm proud to announce that our favourite bunny has found a new home in Belgium as well. The series has been translated and re-recorded in Flemish and started its run on Belgian children channel, Ketnet. It's got a slot at 5.25 PM. I'm curious to find out if the Belgian audience will relate to the stories with as much fondness as they did in the UK. For more info about the Flemish version of Bing, click here.

Stick Man selected at Annecy

Only just recovered from the British Animation Awards, I found out Stick Man has been selected at the prestigious Annecy Film Festival. It's by far the biggest animation event in Europe, and attracts every year a large crowd of animation fans and many personal heroes of mine. Stick Man will be competing in the 'TV Film' category, which at first glance looks very varied. I'm delighted to be part of the official competition, especially as it gives a reason to celebrate the success of the film so far with my South-African friends from Triggerfish. Annecy at the start of Summer...I'll make sure to set some time aside to visit 'La Plage' (I might even build a sand castle). For the official selection, click here.

Stick Man wins two British Animation Awards

Stick Man looks a bit shocked....he just won two British Animation Awards! What a great night. We picked up an award for 'best sound design and music', and 'best voice performance' for Martin Freeman. That made Stick Man one of only two double winners. The jury recommended our film for 'achieving a rare depth of emotion....who have thought we could feel so much for a stick man!', which was very nice to hear. For full list of winners, click here. Let's hope the British Animation Awards mark the start of many more fun award festivals to attend.

Stick Man nominated for British Animation Awards

Now the memory of Stick Man's Christmas TV premiere is starting to fade, I look forward to see how the film will be received on the festival circuit. The first one is the British Animation Awards (BAAs), and I am delighted to hear we are nominated in three different categories: Best long form animation - Best sound - Best voice (for Martin Freeman). It's a nice representation of all the hard work we've put in every step of the production. The BAAs are held every two years, and so far I've been lucky enough to get an invite each time. It's as much an evening of catching up with old friends and celebrating animation in the UK, as it is an award ceremony. The awards are hand made by local animation talent, which gives them that little bit extra. I've never been personally nominated before, so hopefully come March the 10th, I will be able to hang a hand crafted sheep on my wall. See the full list of nominees here.

Stick Man DVD release

Since the start of February the Stick Man DVD is for sale. HMV and ASDA have them stocked on some nice tailor made shelves, and Sainsbury's sells a special edition version....very nice to see during my weekly shop. For those who loved the film over Christmas, it's definitely worth to get; there is an insightful 'making off' documentary and a gallery of concept art (colour treatments) by art director Daniel Clark. For the little ones there's a live performance by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler and either a poster or sticker sheet with the characters. My involvement was to oversee the design of the DVD cover. We tried to mimic the book cover, with its winter theme and a 'happy-go-lucky' Stick Man having a morning jog. The back and front cover connect as one big panorama, which includes the whole Stick family, and various hidden woodland creatures. After one week on sale, Stick Man has jumped to number 4 in the UK DVD chart, which is the highest scoring TV programme. It's lovely to know that there is still a lot of love for our wooden friend out there. DVD can be bought online via the Gruffalo Shop or Amazon.

Stick Man 4th most watched program on Christmas Day

Christmas 2015 has been an amazing time. Not only could I finally share Stick Man with the viewing public, but also witness how well it went down. Whilst being aired, Stick Man managed to be trending on Twitter in 2nd place, just after the Queen......the tweets were amazing, especially when they were combined with photo's of whole families glued to their TV screen. The online paper reviews were extremely complimentary, but what really pleased me were the overnight viewing figures; we managed to be the 4th most watched program on Christmas Day with 9.27 million viewers! So after the Queen's Speech, Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife, the adventures of our wooden friend managed to captivate the nation the most. This has been an amazing Christmas present that will keep me grinning well into the New Year.

Stick Man Trailer released on BBC One

For those who can't wait till Christmas, BBC One has released a trailer for Stick Man. It hints at the trials and tribulations we're putting him through, but luckily it's not giving the story away yet. There will still be quite a few surprises come Christmas Day!

Stick Man to premiere on Christmas Day

We finally have a release date for Stick Man on BBC 1. The film will premiere on Christmas Day at 4.45 PM...a perfect slot for optimal family viewing. We're on right before Doctor Who, so I count myself in marvellous company. In the meantime you can find a few snippets of the film tucked inside BBC's Christmas trailer, here

Stick Man cast + first image revealed

If I had to keep it to myself any longer, I would have exploded. But finally I can reveal my cast for upcoming Stick Man film. I just love writing this down; Martin Freeman = Stick Man, Hugh Bonneville = Santa, Jennifer Saunders = Narrator, Sally Hawkins = Sticklady and other characters, Russell Tovey = Big Dog, Rob Brydon = a mix of funny characters. It has been an honour to work with with such varied talent. They have really helped turning these 2D book illustrations into charming 3dimensional characters. Their voices were a real inspiration during the animation process. On top of that, here is our first still from the film (spoiler alert). Other updates will follow soon. More cast info, read here

Bing nominated for an EMMY Award

Bing seems to happily hop along his path to world domination. The TV series is nominated for a Children Emmy Award, such fantastic news. It's lovely to hear our hard work gets recognition outside Britain as well. We're up against 3 other shows in the pre-school category. The awards will be in April 2016, so it's a game of patience for now. I'll keep my bunny ears crossed in the meantime. More EMMY news, read here.

Interview with 'Kunstenloket'

I was recently interviewed by 'Kunstenloket', an online magazine that provides information to artists in the cultural and creative sector. I talked about how I chose the path to become an animator and director, my recent projects, and how easy (or hard) it is to maintain a happy medium between being creative, but still considering it as a profession. It was nice to reminisce about the studies I chose and how I ended up doing the work I love doing. Full interview (For Dutch/Flemish readers only) click here

Stick Man online

Now autumn is around the corner, Christmas suddenly doesn't feel that far away anymore. Better get on with finishing this movie, Jeroen. In anticipation of Stick Man reaching our screens over Christmas, a Facebook fan page has been set up. There will be lots of juicy news being revealed soon, so keep an eye on it! Click here to visit.

Bing nominated in Annecy

I was delighted to hear that Bing got nominated in Annecy, one of the most prestigious animation festivals in the world. Episode 'Bye Bye' was in competition in the 'TV film' category. Annecy has always been a bit of an animation 'home from home' to me, so I didn't need a lot of convincing to visit this beautiful town again for the award ceremony. Sadly we didn't win first prize, but the fact that this show has been considered amongst the cream of the crop, and allowed me to see a Bing episode on a cinema screen for the first time, has been absolutely amazing. Hopefully there will be many returns to Annecy!

'Best Director' at the Irish Animation Awards

Some exciting news: Nicky Phelan and I won 'Best Director of Animated TV Series' at the Irish Animation Awards for our work on Bing. This is an incredible proud moment, as I feel all the extra love and care given to this project is being noticed by its audience. Bing also won 'Best Design/Art Direction'. Pictured is producer Lorraine Morgan accepting the award on our behalf. Click here for the offical website

Bing nominated for a BAFTA

To our big surprise (it was officially still in production) BING got nominated for a BAFTA, in the 'Best Pre-School Animation' category. This was the perfect antidote to the long hours that were spent trying to raise the bar for this show. The award went to the very worthy 'Sarah and Duck', but that didn't dampen our spirits. The realisation that BING has gathered quite a fan base in such a short time, and the delight of being at the BAFTAs, made for a memorable and incredibly fun night. Here's a link to the official BAFTA page.

Bing Bunny on CBeebies

Bing Bunny has been having a long run on CBeebies. I've been told it's doing really well, both on TV as on Iplayer, which is great to hear. I'm especially chuffed that parents seem to like it as much as their toddlers. That's what I set out for from the start, trying to create nice family viewing. I hope the success will continue. And of course, I can't wait for the first toys to come out!