DreamWorks SKG, the company behind "The Prince Of Egypt," and distributorof PDI's "Antz," has expressed their pleasure with England-based AardmanAnimations' forthcoming feature "Chicken Run," by signing the PeterLord/David Sproxton/Nick Park company to a four feature deal. Set to bereleased June 23, 2000 in the US, "Chicken Run" is a stop-motion animatedcomedy feature about two chickens, Rocky and Ginger, and their attempt at a"prisoner of war"-type escape from a farm in the 1950s. The film iscurrently in production in Bristol, England, under the direction of Aardmanco-founder Peter Lord ("Adam," "What's Pig") and three time Oscar winningdirector Nick Park ("Creature Comforts," "The Wrong Trousers"). DreamWorksSKG signed on to co-finance, and distribute "Chicken Run" in the U.S. andmost international territories outside of Europe. In addition, DreamWorkswill be the exclusive worldwide licensing and merchandising rights holderfor the film. The other co-financier, French company Pathe, which has beeninvolved in the production since it went into development at Aardman overtwo years ago, will distribute the film in Europe.
Aardman's four feature deal, while groundbreaking, is no surprise. It is the result of careful business development and continuous success. Inaddition to the tireless persistence of DreamWorks' Katzenberg, Aardman waswooed by the likes of Warner Bros., Disney and Fox for distribution rightsto the debut feature film, but they have been very cautious in finding theright U.S. partner. A model company, Aardman has amassed an impressiveseries of nominations and awards for its amazing collection of clayanimation shorts, including three Oscars for Nick Park, as well as an EmmyAward, and the Judge's Award for the studio's "eclectic and original" workat the Royal Television Society Craft & Design Awards in London. Legendarycharacters like Wallace and Gromit have made so many novices realize thatanimation is more than 'cartoons' that we should give them an award for"best contribution to the discovery of animation as a multi-faceted art!"
Read Wendy Jackson's interview with Aardman's Peter Lord in the May 1997 issue of Animation World Magazine.
Jerry Beck reviewed "Creating 3-D Animation: The Aardman Book OfFilmmaking" in the February 1999 issue of Animation World Magazine.
Andrew Osmond wrote about animation companies in Bristol for the February 1999 issue of Animation World Magazine.
The video "Creature Comforts, An Aardman Collection," is available for sale in the AWN Store for $US 14.98. Available for sale in US only.