The Regent Street Cinema hosted a retrospective animation programme on Thursday 10 September bringing together highlights from Neville Astley and Mark Baker’s BAFTA-winning and Oscar®-nominated artistic careers.
The evening kicked off with two short films the directors made separately: The Hill Farm directed by Baker and the joyously upbeat Mobile Home directed by Astley.
The evening continued with joint productions such as Jolly Roger, and The Village, a 1993’s short film about a village ruled by the church but filled with hypocritical sinners who constantly spy on each other.
The screening moved on to the little known but hilarious TV series The Big Knights, and concluded with more recent successes such as Peppa Pig and Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom.
Although produced for children, their later work is notable for its lightness of touch, humour, social satire, observation and an incredible ability to cut across social divides, while their earlier work demonstrates considerable sophistication as well as being informed by a deep craft and love for the art of animation.
During the Q&A session that followed the screening, Mark Baker confirmed that “[their] feeling was [that] if you are going to have a children’s programme it should not be a reason for it not to be enjoyable on more than one level”.
The evening was a success and inspired discussions about the works that continued in the bar of the cinema after the screening.