The Genuine Aardicle
(continued from page 1)

With a four picture deal already signed,Chicken Run is only the beginning of the Aardman/DreamWorks relationship. TM & © 1998 DreamWorks LLC.

The next feature in the Aardman pipeline is an adaptation of the Aesop fable, The Tortoise and the Hare, to be directed by Richard Golezsowski, creator of Rex the Runt. Other projects in development include a Wallace and Gromit feature, but the characters may make it to TV or into another short first, says Michael Rose, executive producer of the features and head of film and TV production at Aardman, who says the goal is to release a feature every two years or so.

With all of this feature film activity, one might assume that the whole company has shifted its focus in that direction. But Aardman is not only continuing to work in other areas, it is expanding.

Aardman has plenty going on in television, the area where the company first started in the 1970s with The Amazing Adventures of Morph for BBC. The studio is currently in pre-production on new episodes of the continuing series Rex the Runt, which will be delivered to BBC in early 2001 and is being available to international broadcasters through Aardman. Also in production is Angry Kid, a 26-episode batch of one-minute shorts directed by Darren Walsh, using a technique (pixilation of actors wearing animated masks) he developed for the 1997 short film Owzat. There are several more projects on the development slate at Aardman, including Rabbits, a kids show directed by Sam Fell, and based on a pilot presented at the Cartoon Forum. It will be available for worldwide broadcast in fall 2001.

Fans can discover all the information they need about Aardman on their new Web site, The Aardman Observer. © AtomFilms.

Over the years, Aardman has produced over two dozen short films, a practice which has spawned many properties that have gone on to other areas. "Shorts are terribly important for us for developing new ideas, new talent and new techniques," says Rose. To fully exploit this library of shorts, Aardman has joined forces with AtomFilms, which is distributing the entire catalog of Aardman shorts on-line and through traditional media sales such as TV and airlines. In January, AtomFilms launched The Aardman Observer, a unique "3D newspaper" Web environment that showcases Aardman's classics such as Creature Comforts, Adam and Rex the Runt as well as more recent films like Humdrum. Liz Keynes, Head of Rights and Licensing at Aardman says, "The work we are doing with AtomFilms is as much a chronicle of our output over the last 20 years as it is a marketing tool. The Internet is the only medium which allows audiences the flexibility to trace the development of our film-making techniques in this way, as well as providing the most personal and interactive viewing experience for our films."

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