College pals go big with BAFTA nod

Ainslie Henderson
Ainslie Henderson
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TWO film-makers have picked up a BAFTA nomination for an animated film they made together at college.

Edinburgh College of Art graduates Will Anderson, 23, and Ainslie Henderson, 33, have been nominated in the Best Short Animation category for the striking 15-minute film The Making of Longbird.

Will Anderson

Will Anderson

They will rub shoulders with the casts of blockbusters such as Life of Pi and Les Miserables on the red carpet, thanks to the film they co-made.

Will – who was in the year above his pal – submitted the film at the end of his studies. It was co-written by Ainslie and has now earned them a crack at the big time.

Ainslie said: “It’s very surreal . . . it’s just taken on a life of its own.”

Their film – a fake documentary mixing live action and animation, tells the story of a has-been Russian cartoon bird trying to make a comeback – picked up a Scottish BAFTA for animation in November last year. Director and main animator Will said the BAFTA nod still has not sunk in.

He said: “I felt pretty shocked when I found out, but also absolutely delighted. This was my graduate film. I wasn’t sure it would even make it past the selection stage to be shown at festivals, never mind nominated for anything! But I’m also very proud a film made by Scots in Scotland has been given recognition at this level.”

Ainslie, who co-wrote the film, said: “Will came up with the character and knew he wanted to make a film, and it just took on a life of it’s own.”

Ainslie, who only began the model-making that led him into animation four years ago, already has a Scottish BAFTA New Talent Award for his film It’s About Spending Time Together.

He said: “I really enjoy the work of people like Tim Burton and Barry Purves, and I used to love the Aardman films when I was growing up, but to be honest I’ve always been more into music and live action films, rather than animation. It just shows you it’s never too late to try something new!”

Will has been making films since primary school, but admitted his first attempt was not the best. He said: “I made a three or four-minute film using my dad’s Super Eight camera. When we took it to get developed the film was all blank!”

Though the ceremony – on 10th February at the Royal Opera House, London – is likely to feature the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Ben Affleck, Judi Dench, Joaquin Phoenix and Helen Mirren, the pair say they are unlikely to be doing much shoulder-rubbing.

Will, from Inverness but now living in Tolcross, said: “Animators are generally not the most out-going people.

“It’s likely I’ll be keeping myself to myself!”