The Tie at Berlinale Generation
I went to Berlin last week where my new animated short The Tie premiered in the Generation competition of the Berlinale. Here is the trailer for The Tie:
The Tie was screened five times during the Berlinale. I only managed to attend the first screening at the ‘Haus der Kulturen der Welt’ in front of an audience of almost a thousand children. There were several other animated films in the programme including my friend Isabelle Favez’s ‘Messages dans l’air’, Leila Khalilzadeh’s ‘The Fried Fish’, Martin Smatana’s ‘Rosso Papavero’ and Lena Van Doehren’s ‘The Little Bird and the Squirrel’.
The screening itself was enough enough excitement, so imagine my delight when the Children’s Jury gave a special mention to The Tie! The Crystal Bear for generation Kplus went to ‘Gift of my father’ by Salam Salman from Irak (short film) and to ‘My skinny sister’ by Sanna Lenken from Sweden (feature film).
With my producer Annemie Degryse
Winners of the Giraffe Art Competition
Decisions, decisions… so many giraffes to choose from.
It wasn’t easy picking the winners for the Giraffe Art Competition, but with some help from my daughters and also from my editor and designer at Hodder (thank you Sarah and Jenny), I have now selected the winners. Each of the category prize winners will receive a signed 64 Zoo Lane picture book of their choice.
Winner of the 5 and under category: Jessica aged 5
Winner of the 6 to 12 category: Molly aged 7
Winner of the 13 and up category: Emma
Winner of the GRAND PRIZE ( a set of 6 signed 64 Zoo Lane books) Mia aged 4. I love those spots, Mia!
And finally, I’ve decided to award a SPECIAL PRIZE (one more signed book) to 7 year old Spike who created 3 giraffes including this very cool Lego one.
Congratulations to the winners and a big thank you to all entrants for their fantastic giraffe art. All the winners will be contacted by email.
Don’t forget to visit the Giraffe Gallery to see all entries.
64 Zoo Lane- A sort-of-anniversary
64 Zoo Lane turns 20 this month. TWENTY? Well yes, sort of …
Lucy and her menagerie have been on TV since 2000 – so that’s just over 13 years. However, I created the concept seven years earlier in 1993 when I was a student at the Royal College of Art. I had just completed my graduation Little Wolf (music by Rowland Lee who went on to write the music for 64 Zoo Lane). I knew I wanted make children’s TV, so I started thinking of an idea for an animated series…
There were two things I was sure of from the start:
Firstly, my TV series would have animals in it. I grew up in a household with lots of pets, so animals are what I enjoy drawing the most. Here’s a drawing of a tortoise I did when I was five. Can you see the resemblance with Toby from 64 Zoo Lane?
And secondly, this series had be something that would really engage me . The idea of doing 26 episodes with the same characters and settings terrified me slightly. What if I got bored after episode number 3? I needed to come up with a concept that would keep me captivated , a format I could expand on… So I decided to include lots of animal characters that live in different environments.
A zoo was the first thing that came to my mind. I took inspiration from Antwerp zoo in Belgium which I visited regularly as a child. It’s in the middle of the city right next to the central railway station.
Then I got the idea of a girl living next door at number 64. Each night Lucy would make a clandestine visit to the zoo via the long neck of Georgina the giraffe and one of the animals would tell her a bed time story.
My original plan was to use traditional animal stories. I started by researching Aesop’s fables. I recently discovered these excellent BBC School Radio recordings of Aesop’s tales (narrated by Richard Briers, Jane Horrocks, Alison Steadman and others).
I read Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories before moving on to Inuit raven legends, the traditional African tales of Anansi the Spider and the mischief maker Nogwaja the Hare and the Igbo story of the flying tortoise.
However, the more animal stories I discovered, the more I realised how difficult it would be to re-use characters from one story into another. So I abandoned the plan of using characters from traditional tales and decided to create my own instead. I wanted my characters to be like real people : Each would have its flaws and obsessions, and each would relate to the others as if they were members of one large extended family. I started to write stories about a giraffe with a very long neck. A little crocodile who can’t help being cute. A zebra with go-faster stripes. A kangaroo who can’t jump. A lonely polar bear. A hairy hippo. And of course many more… I couldn’t possibly write all 64 Zoo Lane stories myself so I work with a small team of talented script writers. It’s great fun!
We’re up to episode 104 now. Thankfully I’m still not bored with it and neither are the writers, voice artists, story-board artists, composer etc.
So Happy 20th Anniversary to 64 Zoo Lane! (And also to Lucy who’s forever 7)
Series 4 of 64 Zoo Lane is currently showing on CBeebies Sunday to Thursday at 18:10.
Watch episodes on the iPlayer (UK only)