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Charles Badenhorst works on set at Wallace and Gromit


Pretoria animator visits Wallace & Gromit

Charles Badenhorst, animation artist from Pretoria is on his way to Bristol in the UK to go and meet animated oscar winners Wallace and Gromit. Badenhorst and his partner, Diek Grobler, have been working for the past two years on an animated series 'Sanna's Garden', which has already competed in several international animation festivals.

In 2005 at the KROK animation festival in the Ukraine, Badenhorst met Merlin Crossingham of Aardman Animation. Crossingham was the director of the second unit on the Oscarwinning ' Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit', and was so impressed with the achievement of this two-man animation studio that he invited Badenhorst to spend three weeks in the studios of Aardman Animation.

'Sanna's Garden' is an educational series which teaches children about nature conservation. The story is set in the Succulent Karoo, where a band of small animals helps Sanna, a bat-eared fox, to create a garden in order to save the valuable indigenous plants.

The technique used in the series ' stop motion animation ' is similar to that used by Aardman Animation to create their Wallace & Gromit films : it entails the frame by frame filming of puppet characters. For each second of film, the puppets are manipulated and filmed 24 times.

'Sanna's Garden' has been screened at several international film festivals: Anifest 2005 Trebon and Zlin Internasional Filmfestival for Children and Youth 2005, Ekofilm Internasional Filmfestival on the Environment and Natural and Cultural Heritage - all in the Czech Republic. It was also accepted for Cortoons on the bay, a festival for animated television series and films in Positano, Italy. It was screened at KROKfest in the Ukraine, and at the International Working Animated Film Festival RFAF in Bosnia-Herzegovina. At all of these festivals, 'Sanna's Garden' was the only representative from South Africa, and often from the whole of the African continent.

The pilot episode of 'Sanna's Garden' was sponsored by the Critical Ecology Partnership Fund, an international conservation organisation. The series is directed by artist and animator Diek Grobler, whose aim is to create a children's series which would be entertaining, gentle and educational without being pedantic. The puppets are designed, built and animated by Grobler and Badenhorst. Ann Walton wrote the script, and lighting was done by Hardus Koekemoer of the Department of Entertainment Technology of the Tswane University of Technology. Charles Badenhorst also created the sound and wrote the music for the series.

At Aardman Animation, Badenhorst will get the opportunity to work in one of their experimental animation booths, receiving valuable training and work experience, which he hopes to plough back into Sanna's Garden.

Article published on www.AnimationSA.org, written by Diek Grobler. Accessed 01 February 2008 at http://www.animationsa.org/v3/article.asp?ArticleID=339.

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Wallace and Gromit

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Updated 01 February 2008, www.fopspeen.co.za, editor: Diek Grobler

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