ArthurCox often works collaboratively with Aardman on a range of projects, and with other Bristol companies including Wounded Buffalo on sound and Echoic Creative Audio on music.
The studio is most known for short films, but also work on commercials, idents and online content, including Mark Simon Hewis’ first feature Eight Minutes Idle (2012), developed through Creative England’s iFeatures and the website and app A Time Traveller’s Guide to Bristol. They were one of the 14 studios involved in the animated feature A Liar’s Autobiography. Sarah directed the Children’s BAFTA winning Tate Movie Project through Aardman.
Commercially they are represented by Aardman and other agencies, working mostly in the UK, but have worked in Canada, US and Europe.
Their films are shown all over the world at film and animation festivals and a distribution deal with Shorts International brings in some modest income.
Awards include a BAFTA, a Children’s BAFTA, a Cartoon D’Or nomination, British Animation Award, Broadcast Award, Royal Television Society Award and a BIMA Award plus awards at numerous festivals including Animated Exeter, Encounters, Bradford Animation Festival, Hiroshima Animation Festival, Klick! Amsterdam, Clermont-Ferrand, Ottowa, Melbourne and Tampere.
STATE OF PLAY
They make fewer shorts than they used to, because funding is no longer available. Previous support came from Digital Shorts, Channel 4, South West Screen and UK Film Council.
Emma Lazenby – BAFTA winner for Mother of Many – made the three-minute The History of an Orange for Channel 4’s Random Acts through Lupus Productions, but that has been the only funded short film opportunity in the past couple years.
They’d really like to see some new development funding out there for animation, to support early gestation of ideas – it is really difficult to pull away from the demands of commercial work to generate new ideas.
Changes in technology, make animation an exciting place to be right now. There are other exciting developments in crowdfunding and digital distribution. It’s no longer all about just getting a TV series at Channel 4 and you can get your work straight to an audience. The online space is really exciting. It’s a great space to share work, and it’s going to get more interesting as things develop and more people use it more fully.
Animation is a great place to hone a range of post-production skills, as it tends to happen in one room. You become really good at workflows and processes and signing things off, in ways which don’t happen in live action in the same way.
It’s so important in animation to get everything tied down before the animation actually starts. That’s something that clients or agencies can struggle to understand. The need to get storyboards and animatics locked off early on can be difficult to get across. There’s some room for creative input and tweaks further down the line, but many of the decisions have to happen upfront.
Images: Arthur Cox – A Liar’s Autobiography, Bloo Bursts of Happiness – Paul O’Grady, Nina Needs To Go – Beach