NFTS team sails into Oscars

February 26, 1999

A team of National Film and Television School graduates is hoping for a bit of luck after receiving its third Oscar nomination for best animated film, with Jolly Roger, having lost out on the award on two previous occasions.

Britain's other Oscar-nominated animated film, The Canterbury Tales, also featured the involvement of academics.

Mark Baker, director of Jolly Roger, said the team won its first nomination for The Hill Farm in 1988. This was followed by The Village in 1993. "We are hoping it is going to be third time lucky."

Picture editor Annie Kocur, composer Julian Nott and sound recordist Danny Hambrook are the other NFTS graduates credited on Jolly Roger.

Mr Baker studied animation at West Surrey School of Art and Design in the early 1980s: "It was about the only art college offering an animation course at the time." After graduating he spent a year in industry before entering the NFTS in 1984. "What it offered, which at that time art colleges were not able to, was the technical and theoretical side of making film."

The Jolly Roger team is hoping to emulate the Oscar success of Britain's best-known animator, Nick Park, who studied with them at the NFTS. Another NFTS graduate nominated is Richard Greatrex for best cinematography on Shakespeare In Love.

Cambridge dons worked as advisers on The Canterbury Tales, two 30-minute films based on Chaucer's classic. Derek Brewer and Jill Mann helped produce the script, and Chris Page helped to create a Middle English version. Joanna Quinn, a lecturer in animation at University of Wales College, Newport, produced one of the tales.

The Oscars ceremony will be on March 21.

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