Sullivan Bluth Studios, as part of its venture into TV commercials production, has recently completed three new Irish commissions: Hacks Lozenges (Wardell Roberts) through Hunter Advertising, Howards Flour through Davitt & Partners, and Bord Gais through Irish International Advertising and Marketing.
In the past year, Sulliyan Bluth’s commercials production has turned over a quarter of a million pounds in business. The Studio has already made a number of commercials for the U.S. market, and is now turning its attentions towards London, where it has been conducting research, prior to launching a marketing campaign.
The three commercials were handled by Fred Craig, Sullivan Bluth’s commercials producer. Mr Craig noted that “although our commercials are produced in diverse styles our practice is to ensure that each one is a gem, and is delivered on time and within budget.”
The Hacks commercial marks Sullivan Bluth’s debut into computer animation. The studio’s state of the art facilities have enabled a significant broadening of artistic styles, marking a new departure from the distinct “classic” style of their feature films.
Both Sullivan Bluth ‘s first feature film, An American Tail and their second, The Land Before Time, which was entirely made in Ireland, have smashed box office records. $37 million was spent on promoting The Land Before Time, released last November in the USA. Meanwhile production nears completion on a third feature All Dogs Go To Heaven and commences on a fourth feature called, Rock-A-Doodle. This will be a combination live action/animation film.
“The use of animation in television commercials can have ups and downs,” said Fred Craig, “and right now animation is on something of an upswing.” Sullivan Bluth’s launch into the commercials market will be a lucrative money-spinner not just for the studio but also for the Irish economy, as practically all animation work of this kind is presently done overseas.
Here comes Huxley
Currently in production at FilmFair’s Mitre Bridge Studios under the direction of Martin Pullen, is an enchanting new puppet animation series entitled Huxley Pig.
Commissioned by Central Television and due for transmission on the ITV Network in a series of thirteen ten-minute episodes, Huxley Pig is the story of a little pig who displays almost human qualities. The combination of Huxley’s extraordinarily vivid daydreams and a suitcase of wonderful old clothes from Granny, send him on exciting adventures where he meets strange characters like Vile Vincent the Vampire, Sidney the Snake and that “rotten rodent” Horace.
Huxley is the latest inspiration of children’s author and illustrator Rodney Peppe, creator of many marvellous animal characters including “The Mice who lived in a Shoe”. Rodney Peppe’s Huxley series demonstrates his talent for bringing to life children’s characters in his illustrations and stories.
Huxley Pig is also the subject of a publishing programme from the Penguin Group planned to coincide with the TV series. Two beautifully illustrated hardback books published by Frederick Warne were released in April and as part of the continuing project tie-in, paperbacks, activity and colouring books are being published by Fantail.
With Huxley’s exuberant, happy-go-lucky character and FilmFair’s animated interpretation, this little piglet is destined to become every child’s best friend.
Printed in Animator Issue 25 (Summer 1989)