Its Great! Britain’s First Oscar Winning Animation

As our catalogue entry for Great, 1975, Britain’s first Oscar winning animation is up then its a good time to provide background into what makes it so ‘Great’!

This animation is based on the life and times of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, engineer, set in Victorian England.  Great is a 30 minute comic-opera based on the life of Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

This film showcases technical developments within 2D animation, showcasing a combination of animation styles, including real life actions sequences.

The film which was too long for a short and too short for a feature, was not widely seen in cinemas but it did go on to become the first British film to win the Academy Award for Animated Short Film and also won the best animated film at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

UCA holds animation Cel artwork, drawings, sketches, and dope sheets, and helps de-mystify the process of creating 2D animation and the different stages involved, and would be ideal for someone exploring how to create a 2D animation, and interested in the history of animation, what use of acetate cels add, the use of colour blocking, what different colours were used and why were they changed?

In terms of social history, this is a fantastic look at how many ways well- known figures are portrayed. This is an irreverent look at key, often respected figures, such as Isambaard Brunel, which could cause offence. Its interesting to compare the images of Brunel to more stately images, such as one’s seen in the Brunel museum.

Likewise we see an excellent image of Queen Victoria, sitting on her ‘throne’, aka the toilet! The power of image to reduce people of ‘power’ such as the royal family, to comedy figures…

Next year, 2015, is Great’s 40th anniversary, so watch this step for events and exhibitions





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