From Len Lye to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, New Zealand has a strong history of innovation in animation. In styles spanning the DIY delights of Chris Knox to the ground-breaking work of Weta Digital, we've animated our way to primetime (shot bro'Town!), the big screen, the Oscars and much more.
Kentucky Fried Chicken - Hugo and Holly
40 years after the words "and Hugo said you go" first entered eardrums, this classic Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial is still fondly remembered by many. A family car trip nearly goes awry as animated siblings Hugo and Holly battle a hunger so strong, they're "getting thinner" (though not so you'd notice). Fortunately, a quick stop at KFC saves the day. Remember kids - a drive isn't funny with an empty tummy.
Room That Echoes
1985 saw Peking Man score a number one hit with Room that Echoes, accompanied by this 80s-tastic video. Featuring some rather 'of the moment' computer graphics, the clip features a silhouetted Margaret Urlich, dancing against an animated backdrop of a room that is seemingly being built while drifting in space.
The Frog, the Dog and the Devil
The following year was a big one for Kiwi animation. The Footrot Flats movie was a local hit, and the National Film Unit's The Frog, the Dog and the Devil was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Short. A tale of alcoholic excess, inspired by a work from Mackenzie Country poet Ernie Slow, it was later judged one of the best animated films made that century at a French festival.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Fane Flaws opening titles for Radio with Pictures
By 1987, Radio with Pictures was 12 years old, and producer (and future MTV Europe boss) Brent Hansen was looking to give the music show something of a facelift. Enter artist and musician Fane Flaws (of Blerta and The Crocodiles fame), who created this innovative animated opening sequence, winning awards and bending plenty of minds along the way.
This year sees the release of the first animated feature made and originated in New Zealand. Combining a range of techniques, from traditional animation to facial motion capture, 25 April tells the story of our involvement in an ill-fated mission to take a piece of Turkish coastline during World War I. 25 April debuted at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival in September.
And of course, no look at local animation would be complete without Goodnight Kiwi - our much-loved symbol of staying up far too late, from the days before 24-hour television. Sending us off to bed for close to 20 years, it seems an entire generation of New Zealanders never thought to question why a nocturnal bird was tucking himself in for the night, or indeed sharing a bed with a feline predator.
• You can see a more comprehensive selection of Kiwi animation here in NZ On Screen's new Animation collection.