Animation interns celebrate Children's BAFTA film nomination for Disney film with Arthur Cox

Issue date: 26 November 2014

Animation graduates from UWE Bristol are delighted that 'Nina needs to Go' a film they worked on with a team from BAFTA winning animation studio Arthur Cox in Bristol, was recently nominated for a British Academy Children's Award.

The graduate interns worked on a film called 'Nina Needs to Go' directed by Sarah Cox, creative director of Arthur Cox. The film is about four year old Nina, who often needs to go to the toilet at the most awkward moments, and must use her initiative to overcome the obstacles between her and the nearest toilet with the help of her Mum, Dad, brother and ex-secret agent Nana. The film is part of a preschool series for Disney Junior and since it started in February has been broadcast in more than 150 countries.

The production started last June, just as the class of 2013 were graduating, and Arthur Cox scooped up Oliver Hamilton and Jack Watkins as design interns, Harry Slinger-Thompson and Mara Fradella as animation interns and Rob Turner as a compositing intern.

Along with the group of recent graduate interns, the crew was teeming with past UWE Bristol graduates in various departments: design, animation, compositing and editing, proving that small animation companies in Bristol greatly benefit from the talent pool created by UWE's graduating classes over the years.

Director Sarah Cox said, “This year's Children's BAFTA nomination for our Disney preschool show 'Nina Needs to Go' owes much to our local Bristol based crew. We are working with both recent and veteran UWE Animation and Media graduates as we have found them to be talented, enthusiastic and quick to adapt to a commercial environment. We are currently on our second series of Nina and have again recruited interns from UWE Bristol as several from the first series have now progressed from trainees to full employees on the team. In our experience UWE Animation graduates combine great design skills with a real sense of character animation and are a joy to work with.”

Mara Fradella, was one of the UWE Bristol interns to have been snapped up, now employed as a freelancer at Arthur Cox. After graduating as a Graphic Designer in Milan, Mara found out she was a lot more interested in animation than graphic design and moved to Bristol to take an MA in Animation at the University where she specialized in Character Animation and Design. Now Mara animates with both 2D and CGI techniques working on projects including 'Nina needs to Go'.

Mara said, “The internship at Arthur Cox was my first work experience after graduating. It was a great start and I learned a lot from it.

“On the first series I was animating background characters, this was extremely useful to strengthen my animation skills, for instance I had to make different walk cycles for kids, teenagers, old people, etc. Doing the same action on such different characters is a good way to force you to try different options and give it more personality. Also it was very interesting to observe how a complex production pipeline works in practice.

“The course at UWE Bristol surely provided me with the technical knowledge to do it. Beside realizing a short student film I experienced all the aspects of production that are in the industry, just on a smaller scale. I feel that it prepared me well to work professionally.

“The nomination for a Bafta is very exciting. I think it is a really good show, it should be for preschool kids but it makes me laugh all the time. It probably looks so nice because people genuinely enjoy working on it.”

Graduates on the crew include Spencer Cross, Ray Readdy, Daisy Hynes, Charlie Miller, Dominic Pitt, Dan Binns, Jo Hepworth, George Sander-Jackson and Jack Dubben.

Dominic Pitt has worked at Arthur Cox as a freelancer since graduating with the first cohort from the UWE Bristol Animation course in 2009. He worked on the 'Nina' films as Assistant Editor and Assistant Story boarder. He said, “My part in this series of films was to make sure that all the departments had all the assets and animatics they needed to prepare for the edit. It was quite a fun project to work on. My initial contact with Arthur Cox was through a placement while I was at University.

“I have freelanced with the company since then working on projects like 'Time traveller's guide to Bristol', 'Time to Shine' and various corporate films. I've also worked with Calling the Shots at Spike Island, BBC and Aardman. I've learned to become something of a 'Jack of all trades' and although the course prepared me well we were the guinea pigs and it's evident from the quality of work coming from recent graduate interns that the course has really bedded in now.”

Rachel Mills, Associate Head of Design at UWE Bristol, said, “It is always a pleasure working with Arthur Cox, over many years they have offered students valuable industry experience through work experience opportunities, internships and employment. They are well connected to the UK Animation and Media Industry. They continue to bring this real world expertise and understanding of the Creative Industries to our students in class through guest speakers/master classes and professional practice portfolio reviews. We hope to continue to enjoy a long standing relationship with the company.”

The British Academy Children's Awards were held on Sunday 23 November in London. 'Nina Needs To Go' was nominated in the Short Form in 2014 category, won by CITV Share a Story 2013.

Find out more about studying at UWE Bristol: Animation

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