Films : Dad’s Dead : all

animate! synopsis

Fights, camera, live action. It’s dark days in sink town. Teenage kicks all through the night, for sure (peer pressure you see: balancing fear and admiration). Friends for life? Well, maybe not.

short synopsis

A compelling story of friendship and denial, told through a series of ghostly reminiscences and visual flashbacks of a young man’s fragmented memories from the past.

long synopsis

A compelling story of friendship and denial, told through a series of ghostly reminiscences and visual flashbacks of a young man’s fragmented memories from the past.

His memories are triggered by admiration for his best friend Johnno. As the story unfolds, hero worship turns to revulsion, as the web of deception and violence that Johnno creates is revealed, pulling narrator and audience in its destructive wake.

Manipulated live-action mutates and combines with ghostly digital animation, creating intense and original visuals. This emotionally dark, thought-provoking journey is narrated by Ian Hart.

key credits

director
Chris Shepherd
narrated by
Ian Hart
Johnno
Chris Freeney
director of photography
Peter Ellmore
editor
Seb Dutchy
music
John Moore
sound designer
Andy Humphreys
producer
Maria Manton

Chris Shepherd

biography

Chris Shepherd was born in Liverpool in 1966. In 1985 he studied Foundation Art at Liverpool Polytechnic, after which he became an editor at a production company called NGP Ltd. From 1989 to 1992 he studied animation at West Surrey College of Art and Design. After graduating he became studio manager at Speedy Films and coordinated adverts and short films for TV.

In 1995 he set up a production company called Polkadot Productions Ltd. He directed and produced the multi-award-winning The Broken Jaw for Channel 4 and produced BAFTA nominated The World Of Interiors. Chris’s other Polkadot credits include adverts, title sequences and the award winning Stareout sketches on BBC/Talkback’s Big Train.

In 2000 he became the co-founder of production company Slinky Pictures, with producer Maria Manton. Director/writing credits include a ten part series for Channel Four called People’s Britain and his acclaimed animate! short Dad’s Dead , winner of 20 international awards including Best Short at the British Independent Film Awards.

Chris was also the consultant producer for Channel 4/BFI’s Animator In Residence scheme between 1997 and 2004. During this time he helped to develop over twenty-four short films for Channel Four.

Since completing his animate! collaboration with artist David Shrigley Who I Am and What I Want , he is also finishing another short film project Silence is Golden.

25 October 2005

short biography

Chris completed an Animation BA at West Surrey College of Art and Design in 1992. He is co-founder of London animation company Slinky Pictures with producer Maria Manton, and has directed short films, commercials and comedy series. He made the prize-winning The Broken Jaw in 1997.

His first animate! commission was the hybrid film Dad’s Dead 2002, Best Short Film at the British Independent Film Awards 2003 and winner of a huge number of other prizes.

July 2004

filmography

2005 Who I Am and What A Want Co-Director/writer. Short film commissioned by animate! funded by Arts Council England and Channel 4 (collaboration with David Shrigley). Nathan Barley Animator. Talkback/Zeppotron series for Channel 4 by Chris Morris and Charlie Brooker. Bollocks To Cancer Animator. Yipp films documentary for Channel 4 by Patrick Collerton.
2004 Strange Times Script Consultant on TV Pilot. Slinky Pictures for BBC3.
2003 Dad’s Dead Director and Writer. Slinky Pictures commissioned by animate!, Arts Council England and Channel 4.
Winner of 25 international film awards including Best Short Film at British Independent Film Awards, 2 British Animation Awards and Film BAFTA nomination. The Girl and the Horse Producer. Short film for Channel 4 directed by Rebecca Manley.
2001 People’s Britain Director and Co-writer (with Peter Holmes). Slinky Pictures for E4/Channel 4.
Winner of Best Comedy Series at British Animation Awards Deckstar Director. TV pilot for Zeppotron.com The World of Interiors Producer. Short film. Polkadot for Channel 4 directed by Bunny Schendler.
Winner of Animated Eye Award, Aspen Shorts Festival USA, and nominated for a film BAFTA
2000 Angry Kid ‘Backwards Writing’ Co-writer (with Darren Walsh) on an episode of a series by Aardman for BBC. Pop Skool Director. Internet series by Zeppotron and Slinky Pictures.
1999 School Disco Producer. Short Film. Polkadot for Channel 4 directed by Brian Wood.
Winner of 1 film award. The Big End Producer. ‘Farmergeddon’ animated sketches. Polkadot for BBC.
1998 Big Train (Series 1) Animation on ‘Stareout Sketches’ for TV series by Talkback for BBC.
Winner of Bronze award at Montreux Comedy Festival and Best-Broken Comedy Show, British Comedy Awards 1998.
1997 The Broken Jaw Director and Writer. Short film. Polkadot for Channel 4.
Winner of 6 interantional film awards. Strongman Director and Writer. Idents for Polakdot and the British Council Big Train Animation on TV pliot ‘Stareout Sketches‘.
Winner of Best Animation for a TV comedy series, Everyman Animation Festival.
1992 A Load of Balls Director and Writer. Short Film at WSCAD.
1989 Safari Director and Writer. Short film for NGP Productions.

Commercials

Chris has directed many advertising campaigns including: Learn Direct (DFGW), Christian Aid (Partners BDDH), Eagle Star (Ogilvy and Mather), Shakey Jake (Ogilvy and Mather), Western Union (D&BB), Milky Bar (Amarti Puris Lintas), Vibrant (Greys), BMI Baby (Partners BDDH) and the very popular Staying Alive’ Hedgehogs road safety adverts (D‘Arcys).

25 October 2005

artist’s photo

February 2005

animate! films by this artist

Dad’s Dead

Who I Am and What I Want

artist’s website

Slinky Pictures

Chris is co-founder of Slinky Pictures with producer Maria Manton

a film by Chris Shepherd

direction

director
Chris Shepherd

script

writer
Chris Shepherd

cast in picture

hand artist
Thomas Sturges-Allard
narrator’s mother
Kay D’Arcy
old man
Dave Kent
children's book dog
Goldie
Johnno's dad
John Murphy
Johnno's mum
Dallas Messias
children's book boy
Joe Robson Rutherford
children's book lady
Charlotte McDougall
Johnno
Chris Freeney
newsreader
Julie Maisey

voice-over

narrated by
Ian Hart

live-action personnel

director of photography
Peter Ellmore
camera operator
Neil Riley
Mark Swaffield
James Lewis
additional photography
David Clapham
gaffer
Dean Ford
prop maker
Andy Gent
Maria Manton
runner
Katrina Mernagh
live-action effects
Denis Russo
production assistant
Emma Hutchkison
Anja Nicolas
casting director
Lin Cordoroy

image personnel

animation and compositing
Suzanne Deakin
Kirsten Kelly
James Newport
Alan Andrews
Leigh Hodgkinson
Chris Shepherd
film grade and transfer
Gary Brown
editor
Seb Dutchy
Inferno editor
Giles Cheetham

incorporated image material

Kajagoogoo and Osmonds stills appear courtesy of Redferns Photo Library
Doctor Who cards appear courtesy of BBC Worldwide

sound personnel

music
John Moore
sound designer
Andy Humphreys

production personnel

video post co-ordination
Matt Adams, Soho 601
producer
Maria Manton, Slinky Pictures
production company
Slinky Pictures

support

special thanks

Moving Image Development Agency, North West Arts Board, Liverpool Housing Action Trust, Liverpool City Council, Ealing Film Office, Sanctuary Sound, Video Europe, Cutting Edge, Sandra Harris, Babs Warmingham

Dave Groundsel, Roger Hagon, Xpression, Denis Russo, Suzanne Deakin, Michelle Yu, Sarah Peacock, Jeff Goldner, Jake Shepherd, pupils from Mission Grove Primary School London, Debra Harding, Jane Hicks, Simon Wilson & Les @ Corinth Tower, Soho 601, Digital Film Lab, 750 mph

very special thanks

Yvette Burrows & Chris Manton

primary funding

an animate! production for the Arts Council of England and Channel 4

© Chris Shepherd 2003

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technical

process summary

Manipulated live-action mutates and combines with ghostly digital animation.

master copy format

colour or black & white
colour

video distribution format

video format
DigiBeta
screen aspect ratio
16:9
video standard
PAL
sound type
stereo

film distribution format

film format
35mm
screen aspect ratio
1:1.85
sound type
Dolby Digital

distributor

LUX
info@lux.org.uk
+44 (0)20 7503 3980
www.lux.org.uk

onedotzero
www.onedotzero.com

pre-history

initial synopsis

Through a series of ghostly reminisces a young man tries to piece together fragmented moments from his past. These memories are triggered by his admiration for his best friend Johnno. However, as the story unfolds, this hero worship is turned to revulsion as we pay witness to the web of deception and violence that Johnno creates, dragging both the narrator and audience in its destructive wake.

initial artist statement

Dad’s Dead will be a film that both repels and fascinates.

Essentially, this is a timeless story exploring the power relationship between the two boys.

Although Johnno is bullying and brutish the narrator is blindly compelled to follow. The audience shares the Narrator’s captivation and discomfort through the use of subjective camera.

Research has shown that our trust in people can be influenced by the degree of symmetry about their faces. Deformed photographic images of Johnno are used to give us an insight into his true psyche.

Powerful visual imagery combined with Narration by Ian Hart, whose gritty and powerful delivery binds the film together.

The film is aimed at an adult audience, provoking reflection on the current media obsession with teenage violence. Recent events, such as the murders of Damilola Taylor and Jamie Bulger have stirred emotions of collective guilt in the general public. People become fascinated voyeurs, powerless to intervene.

TECHNIQUE & ART DIRECTION
Manipulated live action mutates and combines with ghostly animation, the more distorted and neurotic the Narrator’s memories become. This creates a juxtaposition of normality and abstraction, by pulling the live footage away from reality.

Past photographic imagery will be mixed with the present; visions of inner city estate dereliction will flash against animated reconstructions of the same location in its heyday.

This will be achieved via photography and digital treatment. All the footage will be shot on Betacam SP / DV then treated using After Effects & Aura on the PC.

NARRATION
Ian Hart will deliver the script in authentic style, with a Liverpool accent. Hart’s screen appearances include Backbeat and Ken Loach’s Land and Freedom.

MUSIC & SOUND
Specific attention will be paid to making the music fit into the period, to strengthen the power of the flashbacks. Barry Adamson will compose the music. The sound will be manipulated to meld with the visuals by Tim Barker to create a claustrophobic soundscape.

LOCATIONS
The locations will be real – abandoned council flats, derelict schools, and ‘sink’ estates in the centre of Liverpool.

related websites

Dad's Dead website

the official film website

production material

production notes

Filmed in various locations in Liverpool: Cornith Tower, Everton (old man’s flat), Letterstone Close, Everton (Johnno’s estate), Stanley Park, Anfield (The Park).

reference images

pre-production concept still
Early experiment with image layering and treatments, included in submission to animate!
Early experiment with image layering and treatments, included in submission to animate!

script

post-production voice script
animate_dadsdead_voice_script01.rtf
All character voices and some screenplay extracts, without timecode, in RTF format

reviews

A collection of press reviews dated August 2003, plus Televisual magazine ‘Storyboard’ feature in January 2003, all in one PDF file
animate_dadsdead_press_reviews01.pdf

screening history

award

Best Short Film, British Animation Awards, London 2004
Best Film at the Cutting Edge, British Animation Awards, London 2004
Best Short Film, British Independent Film Awards, London 2003
Nominated for Best Animation Short, BAFTA Film Awards, London 2004
Quantel Animation Award, Rushes Soho Shorts Festival, London 2003
Metropolis Prize, L’Isola Del Cinema Festival, Rome 2003
Grand Prize, Cabbagetown Annual Film & Video Festival, Toronto 2003
Encouragement Award, Fantoche International Animation Festival, Switzerland 2003
Special Video Award, Split International Festival of New Film, Croatia 2003
Best Independent Animation Award, FAN International Animation Festival, Norwich 2003
Best Animation Award, Kino International Film Festival, Manchester 2003
Best Professional Film Award, Bradford International Animation Festival, 2003
Special Prize, DaKino Film Festival, Romania 2003
3rd Prize, Animadrid, International Animation Festival, Spain 2003
Honourable Mention (Editing), Carolina Film and Video Festival, USA 2004
Best Film of March, Pitcher and Piano Awards, London 2004
Honourable Mention, Ann Arbor Film Festival, USA 2004
Honourable Mention, Bermuda International Film Festival, USA 2004
Silver Remi Award, Worldfest Houston International Film Festival, USA 2004
Honourable Mention For Visual Style, Los Angeles International Film Festival, USA 2004
Diploma for Best Experimental Film, Balkaname 2004

first public screening

Channel 4 Television
19 December 2002