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Animation Studio Red Star Co-Founder Jan Rogowski Dies at 41

The co-producer on ‘StarDog and TurboCat’ passes suddenly during production on Sky’s ‘The Amazing Maurice;’ the life-long Sir Terry Pratchett fan worked tirelessly to ensure the ‘Discworld’ novel adaptation lived up to the author’s vision and his own affection for the source material.

UK animation studio, Red Star, has announced the tragic death at age 41 of its co-founder, Jan Rogowski, who passed away suddenly on April 6.

Rogowski co-founded the studio in 2004, growing the company into a leading producer of animation content for visitor attractions such as theme parks and museums. Red Star’s library of “4D” films such as The Lost World and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea have been shown in hundreds of venues around the world and won dozens of awards at international film festivals.

In 2019 he co-produced Red Star’s first feature film Stardog and Turbocat with the voices of Luke Evans, Nick Frost, Gemma Arterton, and Bill Nighy. The film was released in 16 international territories and led to Red Star being selected as UK studio for The Amazing Maurice, a Sky Original film based on the novel by Sir Terry Pratchett.

As a life-long fan of Pratchett’s books, Rogowski strove to bring part of the production to the UK and worked tirelessly to ensure this animated depiction of the “Discworld” novel lived up both to author’s vision and his own deep affection for the source material. The film will be released on Sky Cinema later in 2022 and will be dedicated to his memory.

Andrew Baker and Robert Chandler, UK producers of The Amazing Maurice, said, “We’d both known and worked with Jan for many years so when we were looking for a UK studio it felt like Red Star were the perfect choice. We knew Jan would make sure the studio delivered a fantastic film, but he showed us time and again that his passion and technical knowledge were unsurpassed. Jan’s unflagging dedication and enthusiasm where a huge part of what has made this film very special, and he was rightly proud of the final result.”

“20 years ago, I hired Jan straight from university, beginning a partnership and friendship that has defined both our lives,” shared Redstar co-founder Ben Smith. “He leaves a massive gap in our lives, but the notes of condolence, and the offers of support that have flooded in are overwhelming testament to the respect and admiration he was held in by everyone who worked with him.”

Red Star has temporarily named CG supervisor Haris Ahmed head of production, with Smith assuming the role of company director.

Ben added, “Jan worked his whole career to build Red Star into a feature animation studio capable of delivering first class film projects and the best tribute we can pay is to continue his hard work into the future.”

Dan Sarto's picture

Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.