Lupus films extends its studio space as our deadline approaches

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Lupus films has opened up new studio space off Holloway road in North London, about 10 minutes from its main studio. Isobel Stenhouse, Animation Supervisor, has done a sterling recruiting job to increase both the number of animators and also the number of animator assistants on the production as we head towards our deadline. Using the Creative Skillset scheme recent graduates from animation colleges throughout the UK have joined the crew as assist animators. They do the clean up on an animator’s scene and give the drawings their final line look before they go to be coloured and composited at Cloth Cat studios in Cardiff.

Below are pictures of some of the new recruits who have graduated from animation courses at the following colleges:

Central St Martins; Teeside University; Arts University of Bournemouth; Lincoln University; University of Wolverhampton; University of Westminster; Middlesex University; University of Portsmouth.

Eleven more recruits are due to join the production shortly and the studio will have to expand still further!

Holloway Road studio_01

Graduates from a number of UK animation courses working on Ethel and Ernest, brought on board with the assistance of the Creative Skillset scheme


Isobel Stenhouse (animation supervisor) with Bianca Howell

Holloway Road_04

Patrick Collins and Danielle Bethel

Holloway Road recuits

Solly Vaughan (left) and James Dubbins (right)

Holloway Road_03

From left to right: Walid Abou El Joud, Bianca Howell, Daniel Crook, Jack Sleeman

Holloway Road_05

From left to right: Joanna Boyle and Eleonora Quario

Holloway Road recruits 2

Solly Vaughan with production assistant trainee Amandine Gutierrez

Holloway Road studio

Kamila Konczewska


Nadia Hussein

Alice Guzzo with visiting director Michael Dudok de Wit and Isobel Stenhouse

Alice Guzzo (trainee assistant animator).  Behind Alice is visiting director Michael Dudok de Wit talking with animation supervisor Isobel Stenhouse

Iona Menzies

Iona Menzies (trainee assistant animator)




Happy birthday Raymond

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Today Raymond Briggs celebrates his 82nd birthday. He was born in Wimbledon Park, south London, on the 18th January 1934.

Below are some photos of Raymond looking through the Briggs’ family album. They were taken a few weeks ago on Boxing Day 2015.

Everyone working on the Ethel and Ernest production wishes Raymond a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Raymond Briggs Boxing Day 2015

Raymond Briggs on Boxing day 2015 looking through the family album.

Raymond Briggs looking at a photo of Ethel and Ernest's wedding_Boxing Day 2015

Raymond Briggs with a photo of his parents’ on their wedding day .

More studio shots taken at Lupus Films

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Photos courtesy of Paul Marc Mitchell

Peter Dodd_animation directorAnimation Director Peter Dodd.


Animation director and Director Roger MainwoodAnimation director Peter Dodd and Roger Mainwood discuss a scene and check lip synch.

Art Director Robin Shaw_Martin Oliver Layout artist_Director Roger MainwoodFrom left to right: Art Director Robin Shaw, Layout artist Martin Oliver, and director Roger Mainwood.

Lupus studio shotThe art department corner of the studio. From left to right Assistant art director Mat Williams, Art Director Robin Shaw, and Art Department supervisor Martin Dray.

Lupus studio art dept


Raymond Briggs’ new book

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Raymond Briggs Notes from the Sofa

A new book from Raymond Briggs is to be published on the 12th November. His first in ten years. (click on images to enlarge)

Described by the publishers as…”a charming and beautifully illustrated work for adults. In Notes from the Sofa, Raymond Briggs traces the course of his life in a series of wonderfully observed vignettes that take him from the awkwardness and embarrassment of growing up to the vicissitudes and frustrations of growing old.”

Raymond Briggs_photo taken December 2014

Raymond Briggs_ December 2014. Photo by Roger Mainwood

Voice recording photos

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The first pictures from the Ethel and Ernest voice recordings were released today. The recordings took place at Goldcrest Films in central London at the start of March 2015.

Here are Jim Broadbent  playing Ernest, Brenda Blethyn playing Ethel, and Luke Treadaway who plays the part of Raymond Briggs.

Other cast members include Pam Ferris, Virginia McKenna, June Brown, Roger Allam, Peter Wight, Simon Day, Gillian Hanna, Harry Collet (playing the young Raymond Briggs), and Duncan Wisbey.

Photos by Jessica Bassett

(click on photos to enlarge)

Jim Broadbent and Brenda Blethyn at the voice recordings held at Goldcrest Films, London, March 2015

Jim Broadbent and Brenda Blethyn at the voice recordings held at Goldcrest Films, London, March 2015

Jim Broadbent, Luke Treadaway, Brenda Blethyn, at the voice recordings for Ethel and Ernest, March 2015

Jim Broadbent, Luke Treadaway, Brenda Blethyn, at the voice recordings for Ethel and Ernest, March 2015


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Below is the full Press Release that went out this morning, and here are just a few of the many links to the coverage that it received:


Monday 3rd August 2015 – Production is underway on the animated feature film adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ classic graphic novel and tribute to his parents Ethel & Ernest.

Produced by Lupus Films in association with Ethel & Ernest Productions, Melusine Productions and Cloth Cat Animation and supported by the BFI, BBC, Film Fund Luxembourg, Ffilm Cymru Wales and the Welsh Government, the film is set for theatrical release in 2016. The BBC will broadcast the film on TV in the UK.

A multi-generational team of top British talent is getting behind the microphone to breathe life into Raymond Briggs’ distinctive characters headed up by Oscar® winner Jim Broadbent and Oscar® nominee Brenda Blethyn in the title roles.

They are joined by Luke Treadaway as Raymond, Olivier award winner for Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and star of Fortitude, screen legend Virginia McKenna (Born Free, A Town Like Alice), EastEnders actress June Brown, Pam Ferris (Matilda, Call The Midwife), The Fast Show’s Simon Day and The Thick of It’s Roger Allam.  The film will also showcase the vocal talents of 11-year-old Harry Collett as young Raymond, who starred in the music video for Michael Buble and Idina Menzel’s 2014 Christmas hit “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and is the voice of Buzzbee in Disney Junior’s animated series The Hive.

Based on the lives of Briggs’ parents, lady’s maid Ethel and milkman Ernest, the award-winning book follows their four decades of marriage from the late 1920s to the early 70s, as they live through tumultuous events in British history including the Depression, World War II and the dawn of television.

Speaking in his own inimitable style, Raymond Briggs said: “My mother’s reaction would no doubt have been: ‘Oh, Ernest! We’re going to be on the pictures! We might even be at the Odeon in Wimbledon!’”

Director Roger Mainwood added:  “It’s a real privilege to be directing the feature film of Ethel and Ernest, which many consider to be Raymond Brigg’s masterpiece. Time will tell if the end result does the book justice, but so far Raymond has loved everything he has seen.  We are also delighted with the quality of the voice cast.  Brenda and Jim are absolutely bang on as the title characters and the other actors bring an enormous amount of charm and character to their roles.”

Entertaining and heart-warming, the film portrays the life and times of two ordinary people living through extraordinary events and immense social change.  Ethel and Ernest meet in 1928, fall in love, marry, settle in the quiet London suburb of Wimbledon Park and raise a son. The film spans their lives through the Depression, war, post-war austerity and the swinging Sixties.  Portraying plain people speaking plain words, the film stays true to Raymond Briggs’ intimate, engaging and affectionate tribute to his parents.

Jim Broadbent says: “It’s such a beautiful book by a wonderful artist. It’s truly inspiring; a great, honest story of a whole generation. It’s lovely and irresistible.”

Brenda Blethyn adds: “I adore working with Jim Broadbent.  We’ve worked together before and it’s great to come back together to play these wonderful characters. They lived through two wars and it’s so, so reminiscent of my own parents’ life in so many ways. Ethel even looks like my mum!”

Says Luke Treadaway: “It’s an honour to be asked to play Raymond Briggs. I loved ‘The Snowman’ and also ‘Fungus the Bogeyman’ growing up. Raymond has written this love letter to his parents and the whole time of their lives and it just seemed like a beautiful story.  I can’t wait to watch it all put together.”

The hand-drawn animated feature film is produced for Ethel & Ernest Productions by Lupus Films’ Camilla Deakin and Ruth Fielding (The Snowman and the Snowdog, The Hive) and directed by Roger Mainwood (The Wind in the Willows, Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Two Bad Mice and Johnny Town Mouse, Meg and Mog).  Raymond Briggs is an Executive Producer on the film, Stephan Roelants will produce for Melusine Productions and Jon Rennie is Executive Producer for Cloth Cat Animation. International sales are being handled by The Little Film Company with Robbie Little also acting as Executive Producer.


For further information:

Valerie Taylor Email: Tel: + 44 (0) 7889 666594


Lupus Films is a London based production company set up in 2002 by Camilla Deakin and Ruth Fielding. Lupus Films specialises in producing films and TV programmes for children and families, working across all genres and techniques including 2D and 3D animation, puppets, live-action drama and factual entertainment. They have produced shows for the BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5, ITV, Disney Junior, Cartoon Network, France Television and WDR Germany, and their productions have been seen in over 150 territories worldwide.  Lupus Films is a recent recipient of a British Film Institute Vision Award to support the company in the development of animated feature film projects, the first of which is ‘Ethel & Ernest’, which will be produced through Lupus Films’ special purpose vehicle Ethel & Ernest Productions Ltd.


Formed in 1998 by Stéphan Roelants, Melusine Productions is a Luxembourg based production company focused on developing and producing animated movies and TV shows, documentaries and live action movies.  Melusine’s focus is on original, well conceived and unusual productions which it produces with its partner studio, Studio 352, whose crew consists of renowned artists. Since 2004 Melusine has participated as a co-producer on feature-length movies and TV series such as T’Choupi – The Movie, The Tell-Tale Heart,  A Town Called Panic or The Storytelling Show.  In 2012 the highly awaited animated movies The Day of the Crows and Ernest and Célestine were released, the latter gaining selections in Cannes, Sundance, Toronto and New York, as well as a César and an Oscar nomination.   Melusine was involved in the production of Aunt Hilda, selected in the last Berlinale, My Mommy is in America, nominated at the Césars 2014, and the beautiful Song of the Sea which was nominated at the Césars and Oscars Academy Awards 2015. Melusine is also developing its own projects such as the animated cinematic production Extraordinary Tales, based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe, which was presented in official selection at Annecy 2015.


Cloth Cat Animation specialises in producing animation for all audiences via broadcast, film, commercials, games and online. Cloth Cat works in co-production with a large number of renowned producers, as well as developing their own content for the international market. The studio’s work has been broadcast on CBeebies, Disney,  Cartoonito, Sprout, S4C, Channel 5’s Milkshake!, RTÉjr and ABC Australia. Projects include Toot the Tiny Tugboat, Boj, Grandpa In My Pocket, Ha Ha Hairies, Llan-ar-Goll-en and Disney’s Tales of Friendship with Winnie the Pooh. Part of the Bait Studio group, Cloth Cat is based at Gloworks – the Welsh Government’s flagship creative industries hub in Cardiff Bay. The group also includes VFX arm Bait Studio and interactive development studio Thud Media.


With over £30 million of Lottery funding to invest each year, the BFI is the UK’s largest public investor in film, and the BFI Film Fund supports first-class British filmmaking from talent and project development, through production, to audience development across exhibition, distribution and international sales.

Films supported by the BFI Film Fund which have recently screened at international film festivals include Sean McAllister’s A Syrian Love Story, which this month won the Grand Jury prize at Sheffield Doc/Fest; Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster which premiered In Competition at Cannes in May; Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years which premiered in competition at Berlin Film Festival in February where it won two Silver Bear awards; and John Maclean’s Slow West, John Crowley’s Brooklyn, Louise Osmond’s Dark Horse and Jerry Rothwell’s How to Change the World which all premiered at Sundance in January.

Highly anticipated films backed by the BFI include Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette, recently announced as the opening night film for this year’s BFI London Film Festival and featuring a stellar cast including Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep; Ben Wheatley’s High Rise; Terence Davies’ Sunset Song; John Michael McDonagh’s War On Everyone; Andrea Arnold’s American Honey; Colm McCarthy’s She Who Brings Gifts; and Pete Travis’ City of Tiny Lights.

The BFI is the lead organisation for film in the UK with the ambition to create a flourishing film environment in which innovation, opportunity and creativity can thrive by:

  • Connecting audiences to the widest choice of British and World cinema
  • Preserving and restoring the most significant film collection in the world for
  • today and future generations
  • Investing in creative, distinctive and entertaining work
  • Promoting British film and talent to the world
  • Growing the next generation of film makers and audiences


Established in 2006 and formerly known as the Film Agency for Wales, Ffilm Cymru Wales has a remit to help to develop a film sector in Wales and maximise the economic, educational and cultural benefits of film. Ffilm Cymru Wales supports Welsh or Wales-based writers, directors and producers with development and production funding, industry assistance and mentoring opportunities. We aim to bring film makers and audiences together by encouraging more people to see more films in more venues. We also promote the use of film in education and community regeneration, producing educational resources in conjunction with teachers to aid literacy and general learning.

BFI Film Makers magazine on Ethel and Ernest

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The summer 2015 edition of the BFI magazine Film Makers features an article about Ethel and Ernest.

(click to enlarge image)

BFI Film Makers magazine. Issue 3 Summer 2015

BFI Film Makers magazine. Issue 3 Summer 2015

Raymond Briggs…Executive Producer

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Many of Raymond Briggs’ books have been adapted for film and TV. (The Snowman, When the Wind Blows, Father Christmas, The Bear ) but Ethel and Ernest is the first one that he has been directly involved with as an Executive Producer. He advised on the script stage and attended the first voice recordings, and since full production started Raymond has been in close contact with the production team.  As the film has taken shape he has provided invaluable insights and visual documentation that has helped us keep the period details as authentic as possible. This photo was taken during a visit to his Sussex home last week. (click on image to enlarge)

Raymond Briggs_24th May 2015

Raymond Briggs_24th May 2015

Raymond gets a first view of character sheets for the film

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Animation director Peter Dodd shows Raymond Briggs the character sheets that he has been working on. He was thrilled with the progress being made.

Peter reported: …he viewed the model sheets of his parents and seemed genuinely over the moon “yes that’s bang on” he said.” And of the ones of Raymond himself? “That really looks like me” he said of his moustachioed self, but commented on his regret at ever having grown one.

Peter Dodd and Raymond Briggs_17th February 2015 Raymond Briggs and animation director Peter Dodd_February 17th 2015

Pre-production continues ahead of a busy 2015 for the production team!

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This is one of the sketches that Raymond Briggs has done for the Ethel and Ernest design team. It shows how the coat stand in the hallway looked.  The hallway is a part of the house that isn’t seen in the book but it will feature in the film, so getting these details as authentic as possible is important.

hallway dresser sketch provided by Raymond Briggs

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