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Aard Man

1972

Aardman's adeptness of engaging audiences with compelling stories told through animation, has earned the company a deserved worldwide reputation. Their award-winning work produces a unique brand of independent film alongside work for broadcast and advertising spots. The studio has had ten Oscar® nominations, and has won four. Peter Lord and David Sproxton began their animating partnership at school. In 1972 they registered the name Aardman Animations. After graduating, they moved to Bristol in 1976 where they created Morph for the children’s programme 'Take Hart'.

Morph From the start Peter and David were interested in developing an adult audience for model animation. Conversation Pieces commissioned by Channel Four Television in 1982 enabled the pair to develop its innovative technique of animating puppet characters to real-life conversations. With films like Early Bird (set in a local radio station) Aardman demonstrated that real people could be characterised with insight, humour and sensitivity.

Thumb Heads Peter and David met Nick Park at the National Film and Television School when he was working on his student film A Grand Day Out. He joined Aardman full time in 1985.

1986

In 1986, Peter Gabriel suggested that they collaborate with director Stephen Johnson and the Brothers Quay to create a new rock video. Sledgehammer went on to collect almost every award that year. That original combination of rhythm, energy, style and visual flair was also harnessed to provide the visual accompaniment to the late Nina Simone's My Baby Just Cares For Me and Robert Parker's Barefootin'.

In 1989 the studio was again commissioned by Channel Four Television to create a series of five 5-minute films, Lip Synch. This ground-breaking series further explored the world of animation based on true characters and real voices and included Peter Lord's War Story and Going Equipped, Barry Purves' Next, Richard Goleszowski's Ident and Nick Park's Creature Comforts, which went on to win the 1990 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

1993

In 1993 Aardman passed another milestone with the completion of Nick Park's Oscar winning The Wrong Trousers, Aardman's first 30 minute film. Acclaimed world-wide and winner of over thirty awards, The Wrong Trousers has become one of the most successful animated films ever made.

1995

In 1995 Aardman produced Nick Park's third Oscar winning film A Close Shave. An immediate success, it confirmed the studio’s reputation as well as establishing Wallace and Gromit as household names. In 1996 the studio produced Peter Lord's Oscar nominated 11' short film, Wat's Pig (for Channel Four) as well as a children's series based on Morph, The Morph Files.

Mouths

1998

In 1998, Aardman won a BAFTA for Stage Fright, an 11minute short film commissioned by Channel Four Television. Steve Box, Nick Park's key animator on both The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave, directed Stage Fright.

The studio’s first animated television series for youth and adults, Rex The Runt, created and directed by long time Aardman associate Richard Goleszowski, was first shown on BBC2 in 1998 and garnered many top international awards. A second series was commissioned and shown on BBC2 in 2001. Angry Kid, directed by Darren Walsh, was Aardman’s first series released exclusively on the internet via Atomfilms.com. BBC Three commissioned a second series which played a major part in the channel’s launch.

2000

Chicken Run was Aardman’s first full-length theatrical feature film to be funded by DreamWorks. Directed by both Peter Lord and Nick Park it was released in June 2000 in the US and UK to excellent reviews and outstanding box office receipts. Chicken Run has grossed over $220M at the worldwide box office.

Trolley In autumn 2002 Aardman released Cracking Contraptions, a series of 10 x 1 minute Wallace and Gromit films. The films debuted on the Internet and were viewed by hundreds of thousands of people world-wide. All 10 films were then shown on BBC1 over the 2002 autumn and Christmas schedule. The films were also released online in the US via AtomFilms who went on to offer a subscription package for all ten. Collage

2005

To mass critical acclaim and outstanding box office results, Wallace and Gromit's first feature film The Curse of the Were-Rabbit was released by DreamWorks in October 2005. The film topped the box office charts in both the US and UK and garnered many prestigious international awards including the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film and a BAFTA for Best British Film.

As the success of Curse of the Were-Rabbit reverberated around the world a fire swept through a storage warehouse containing models, props and many other treasures created by the animators and designers at Aardman.

2007

Flushed Away Flushed Away, the studio's first CG film was released worldwide by Dream-Works in November 2006, it was nominated for a BAFTA in 2007.

Aardman's television series, Shaun the Sheep debuted on BBC1 and CBBC in March 2007. Inspired by Nick Park’s 1995 Academy Award winning short film A Close Shave, the series has been sold worldwide. Also in 2007 Aardman produced a US version of Creature Comforts. The studio began to expand with the founding of a brand new Digital department, a division dedicated to producing digital content and creating engaging online communities, teleporting Aardmans entertainment expertise into the virtual world.

Shaun The two latest feature films to be produced via Aardman's deal with SONY Pictures are Arthur Christmas - an action-adventure comedy set on Christmas eve, which was released in November 2011 and Pirates! - In An Adventure With Scientists - a delicious confection of piracy on the high seas, which was released in March 2012. A number of other feature films are in development.

2008

Bakery Wallace and Gromit’s A Matter of Loaf and Death was broadcast on BBC One on Christmas day 2008 and enthralled a record audience of 16.15 million. It was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Short Animated Film category and went on to win the BAFTA for Best Animated Short Film. Every Wallace and Gromit adventure has now won a BAFTA and they have all been nominated for an Oscar.

In 2009 Wallace and Gromit featured in ‘The World of Cracking Ideas’ a major exhibition held at the Science Museum in London that attracted over half a million UK visitors to date. Timmy Time, Aardman’s first pre-school television production debuted on CBeebies and the much anticipated second series of Shaun the Sheep began broadcasting on BBC One.

Later that year the studio partnered with Tate Museums and Legacy Trust UK on a major filmmaking project, a challenge to get children across the UK to come together and contribute ideas for an animated movie via a successful online community.

The Tate Movie was the first of its kind, and on the film’s release in 2011 set a new Guinness World Record for the ‘Largest Number of Contributors to a Film Production’. The project won a number of innovation and interactive awards including BAFTA for Best Interactive. The company now holds three unbeaten world records.

2010

World Of Invention In 2010 a new six part TV series - Wallace and Gromit’s World of Invention was produced and broadcast on BBC One – an accompanying website and game were developed, extending the viewer’s experience across multiple platforms and went on to win the company its first BAFTA for New Media.

2010 also saw the launch of Shaun the Sheep spin off game Home Sheep Home, which proved a huge success and reached nearly 70 million plays within its first year and won numerous industry awards.

2011

Pirates As part of the studios feature film deal with Sony Pictures Animation (SPE), Arthur Christmas – an action-adventure comedy set on Christmas eve was released in November 2011 and Pirates! - In An Adventure With Scientists — a delicious confection of piracy on the high seas, was released in March 2012 and received an Academy Award nomination the following year. Arthur Christmas

2012

In July 2012 Wallace and Gromit’s Musical Marvels, a live orchestral event featuring bespoke animation and screening of A Matter of Loaf and Death launched at The Royal Albert Hall as flagship family Proms event.

The following year, in another first for the company, the Thrill-o-Matic, an original Wallace and Gromit theme park ride opened at Blackpool Pleasure Beach as the company continued to develop and realise the commercial potential of their properties through promotions, exhibitions and live events.

Gromit Unleashed 2013 saw over 80 giant Gromit sculptures decorating the streets of Bristol for 10 weeks in the Gromit Unleashed trail. This was on one of the highest-profile charity arts-trails the country has ever seen. The phenomenon boasted an eclectic line-up of artists, celebrities and fashion designers who created designs for the 5ft Gromits, attracting over 1.2 million visitors and reportedly contributing a massive £120 million to the Bristol economy. The trail culminated in an exhibition in September, and a thrilling auction, led by TV celebrity auctioneer Tim Wonnacott, which raised a huge £2,357,000.00 for Wallace & Gromit's Grand Appeal and Bristol's Children's Hospital.

Production continues at the studio, with a further two series of Shaun the Sheep being released during 2013 and a number of feature films projects in development. In April 2013 Aardman announced an exciting new independent filmmaking partnership with Studio Canal to create the first feature length Shaun the Sheep Movie which is scheduled for theatrical release in March 2015.

2013

Shaun The Sheep Movie As the studio’s reputation has grown both in the UK and overseas, so has the demand for its commercials, branded content and digital work. Agencies appreciate the contribution that Aardman’s directors and creatives can make to an original idea and the company has built up an impressive client list including Chevron, BBC, Serta, Department of Health, Nike, McVities, Kelloggs, Macmillan and Cartoon Network to name a few.

From Peter and David's tabletop beginnings, Aardman has grown into a major, world class studio.

Their work continues to be both innovative, entertaining, brilliantly characterised and full of charm, reflecting the talent, energy and personal commitment of all the people who comprise the Aardman team.

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