Studio AKA Directors Steve Small, Marcus Armitage and Gergely Wootsch have collaborated to create 20 minutes of animated inserts, plus the Main Title, for LINCOLN'S DILEMMA, a four-part historical documentary series centred around Abraham Lincoln. Produced by Kunhardt Films for Apple TV+, each episode includes reflective moments of the presidency that depict this tumultuous period in American history. The documentary covers the subject of slavery and emancipation, seen through the lens of race and the Presidential campaign, and gives a fascinating and illuminating insight into Lincoln’s life. Foremost in the challenges that the project presented was the complexity, emotion, and sometimes pure brutality of what needed to be portrayed while staying true to the myriad of historical details that were carefully curated and advised by the Kunhardts; and guided by the series directors Barak Goodman and Jacqueline Olive. We will be sharing more of the project shortly.
Apple TV+ Series HERE
Apple TV+ Trailer HERE
AKA Director Steve Small has a new solo book on the way! 'Wellington’s Big Day Out' is a story about family and growing up, featuring an elephant called Wellington, who has big plans but whose birthday present leaves him feeling a little … small. It’s Steve's second solo book working with the talented team at @simonkidsuk once again. On UK release, in your favourite local bookstore, from April 2022.
Throughout 2022 the BBC will celebrate 100 years of the organisation through familiar and not so familiar objects used in BBC programmes and content. By the end of 2022, the 100th object will be revealed, and the myriad of amazing objects include the badge from our hit CBeebies show, Hey Duggee! In 2020 we created a special virtual badge, not for children, but for parents and older family members to celebrate what they have done to encourage children during the challenging times of the pandemic. take a look at all the objects:
Sir David Attenborough has narrated a special episode of Hey Duggee to share the wonder of plants and The Green Planet. The show's regular narrator Alexander Armstrong is joined by Sir David, who helps Duggee and Squirrels to understand that plants, including trees, are some of the most important living things on Earth – in a special guest appearance.
Watch it now on BBC iPlayer
Those clever folks at @demonmusicgroup have made the first-ever release of Hey Duggee on vinyl! Highlights from the album include fan favourite 'Stick Song', which has been viewed over 10.3 million times on YouTube, 'A Cappella', 'Raindance', 'Toothbrushing Song', and the brand new track 'Step By Step.'The album is pressed on a double-sided picture disc and presented in a die-cut sleeve with Duggee's face on the cover. Side B is specially designed to create a zoetrope effect! (requires third-party stroboscope app). Hey, Duggee is the multiple BAFTA and Emmy award-winning preschool series devised by Studio AKA, and was the most-watched kids' show of the year on BBC iPlayer in 2020with over 192 million requests. Ah-Woof!
Congratulations to AKA Director Steve small and the BLACK EARTH RISING team for picking up the award for Best Animation at CPIFF over the weekend! AKA's Marcus Armitage donned his tux to collect the award on behalf of the entire production team and express our gratitude. The Crystal Palace International Film Festival presents a diverse programme of the very best Independent films from all over the world, and is known as 'London's coolest film festival'. In point of fact, The Simpsons writer, Mike Reiss, described the festival as: "the very best festival we've ever been to – and we've been to a lot! This is as good as it gets!" Find out more about Black Earth Rising HERE
The nation’s favourite exercise coach, Joe Wicks, joins forces with the nation’s most lovable pup, Duggee, to lead a series of short, energetic workouts for pre-schoolers: “The Workout Badges”. The new fitness series – aimed at pre-schoolers – combine the live-action of “The Body Coach” Joe Wicks with the educational animated Cbeebies series Hey Duggee. There’s lots to explore and learn along the way as the squirrels and children get their hearts pumping and their energy flowing in the hope of earning a coveted Workout Badge. Watch the free-to-stream series exclusively on “The Body Coach TV” YouTube channel and on the YouTube Kids app.
They’re back! Bear and Squirrel are a perfect pair, but what happens when Chicken wants to make friends too?
SMRITI HALL has penned another great story about the ups and downs of friendship, and STEVE SMALL had great fun catching up with Bear and Squirrel again. Chicken is quite a character and Smriti’s story, following this plucky bird’s hilarious rite of passage, is a touching reflection of what happens when we meet someone new. Published by SIMON & SCHUSTER, ‘I’m Sticking With You Too’ is out in the UK on October 14th and over the next few weeks, Steve is posting sketches and illustrations HERE
See No Evil is London’s brilliant bi-monthly motion and animation event. In the Pandemic, they started a new show format called A Drink with... It is a Livestream chat with artists and studios around the globe. It happens every Tuesday 8 pm UK Time (GMT+1) on their YouTube Channel. Watch, Share and subscribe..
We are delighted to have been honoured by the Television Academy with TWO EMMY® AWARDs for HERE WE ARE: Notes For Living On Planet Earth! The film picked up the OUTSTANDING SPECIAL CLASS DAYTIME ANIMATED PROGRAM award, whilst Anne Moth was awarded for her INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT IN CHARACTER ANIMATION! Heartfelt thanks to all of the incredible artists and animators at STUDIO AKA - and our wonderful cast - who created such a beautiful story, and especially to APPLE TV, who made this film happen.
Project Page HERE
Congratulations to director Steve Small, Ridely Scott Creative Group and the artists at Studio AKA for their Emmy nomination for HBO’s RAISED BY WOLVES - in the category of Outstanding Main Title design at the 73rd Emmy Awards.
“An elegiac opener full of grief, longing, and death, the title sequence provides the emotional underpinnings of the series while serving up backstory and a reminder that the characters are refugees fleeing devastation.” —Art Of The Title HERE
Project page HERE
We have lift off! Marking the launch of the 2nd single SPACE SONG, from the upcoming album @heyduggee GREATEST HITS - WOOF WOOF! The Space Song is available to download and stream on all music platforms now!
ARE YOU READY TO RAVE!? The Stick Song is now available to download and stream!
You. Have. Been. Warned.
STUDIO AKA are speakers at FMX 2021, talking through the making of ‘HERE WE ARE: Notes For Living On Planet Earth’; a 36min animated adaptation of the NY Times number one picture book and TIME Best Book of the Year by Oliver Jeffers. In this talk, Director Philip Hunt walks through the creative process that brought this unique film to life for Apple TV+, in celebration of Earth Day. A poignant love letter to our planet, this is a witty, thought-provoking and entirely optimistic young person's guide to the world, one thing at a time. FMX LINK
AKA's STEVE SMALL has published his first solo book, ‘The Duck Who Didn’t Like Water’ Published by SIMON & SCHUSTER in the UK, US, France, Holland, Germany to name but a few. Duck is not like other ducks. Duck doesn’t like water and is perfectly fine alone, thank you very much. But then, one dark and stormy night, an outgoing, water-loving, and very lost Frog turns up at Duck’s door. Can this odd couple find Frog’s home? And will they find friendship along the way? This endearing, gorgeously illustrated tale marks the author-illustrator debut for Steve, illustrator of the highly acclaimed, I’m Sticking with You by Smriti Halls. You can find more about Steve's books HERE
The 2021 Kidscreen Awards, which received a record number of entries, celebrated the year’s best work in children’s television and digital media. Assessed by two panels of highly respected industry judges, we are delighted that HERE WE ARE: Notes For Living On Planet Earth was awarded ‘Best One-Off Special or TV movie'!
Congratulations to our amazing team!
Project page HERE
Studio AKA Director Manddy Wyckens has been recognised by the Communication Arts Annual, for her stunning new PSA work for Bellefaire JCB, as 'an example of the best illustration work in the animation category'. To garner recognition at this level is outstanding. Out of 4,000+ submissions, only 128 projects were selected. Kudos to Manddy and the team!
Thank you to The Chicago International Children’s Film Festival for giving the 2020 STEM AWARD to HERE WE ARE: Notes For Living On Planet Earth. The award is given in recognition of a production which inspires children in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math!
HEY DUGGEE recently featured in 5th August's Guardian. 'Its fans include Orbital and Evan Davies, and it has won awards galore. Now the CBeebies show Hey Duggee is the smash hit of lockdown.' In case you missed it, Tim Jonze's lovely piece is HERE
Visual artist OLIVER JEFFERS offers observations of the "beautiful, fragile drama of human civilization" in this poetic TED talk paired with his original illustrations and animations - brought to life by Studio AKA director KRISTIAN ANDREWS working in conjunction with NORTH HARBOUR PRODUCTIONS.
Written by SMRITI HALL and illustrated by AKA Director Steve Small, I'M STICKING WITH YOU is a gorgeously warm, funny book about everything a friendship can be – for anyone who's ever had a friend. Published by SIMON & SCHUSTER, I'M STICKING WITH YOU was Shortlisted for Oscar's Book Prize 2021 and for Children's Illustrated Book of the Year at the British Book Awards 2021. More HERE
We were excited to be part of WE ARE PLAYGROUNDs first online festival! We showcased a bunch of projects over a live-stream and took a Q&A. The event describes us as - ahem - 'exhilarating, inspirational and mind blowing" - and we won't argue. In regular times around 4.000 filmmakers, concept artists and other creatives would visit the event, but the two two online editions in 2020 connected around the globe! to reach Ca. 60.000 (!) unique viewers who joined for the talks, demos and panels etc. What larks! More info HERE
AKA director MANDDY WYKENS took to the stage at PLAYGROUNDS: THE ART DEPARTMENT, in Eindhoven 2019. The biggest event on concept art & design for film, animation and games in Europe. The world’s leading and inspirational artists and designers meet up to show and tell, and Manddy spoke about her work with Disney, Chromosphere, Dreamworks, The Line, Cartoon Network ( & Studio AKA!). A formidable talent, the festival notes describe her thus: “she has done it all! not only an incredible promoter of female artistry, but also of the beauty in female figures. Full of grace and elegance, her character designs are the epiphany of fluidity and lightness.” More info HERE
If you go down to the Design Museum, you're in for a big surprise. The recent special exhibition 'Designing Hey Duggee' - which celebrates the creativity behind our award-winning series - meant we had an opportunity to exit through the gift shop; where you can find a some lovely Duggee Swag!
BBC Studios partnered with @designmuseum to celebrate the creativity behind our award-winning series @heyduggee with a special exhibition 'Designing Hey Duggee' in October 2019. The show dived into the colourful world of Hey Duggee from never-before-seen early sketches to an exclusive look inside the design, animation and production process of the series creator, Studio AKA and its Creative Director, Grant Orchard. Explore the eye-catching graphics, bright colours, composition and typography. Discover how characters are made to be easily distinguishable and adaptable to different narratives and what makes each episode interesting and appealing to all its audiences. Plus we had our very own adventure room! Keep your eyes peeled for its return.
Mother NYC commissioned STUDIO AKA, through Psyop, to animate a 15” Instagram Story for the New York Public Library initiative that brings classic works of literature to the public. For Halloween, the eponymous The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe is re-envisaged by Director Marcus Armitage within a stark landscape where the differing perspectives of both the Raven and Poe’s protagonist steadily converge, until there is “darkness there and nothing more...” #instanovels
Congratulations to all the @HEYDUGGEE team for their amazing triple BAFTA win at the 2018 Children’s BAFTA's— winning in the Pre-School Animation, Director and Digital categories. This is the third pre-school animation BAFTA win for Hey Duggee. Hey Duggee’s creator and director Grant Orchard also picked up the Director award. The educational app, Hey Duggee: The Counting Badge, was awarded the Digital Award. The app was created by digital agency Scary Beasties, in association with BBC Studios and Studio AKA. Triple A-WOOF-WOOF-WOOFS! BAFTA LINK / Series INFO / Duggee APPS
40 years after his death, the Antoni family and Gallerist Mikael Hauberg are reintroducing the gems from the Ib Antoni Archives to the world. They have partnered with Studio AKA to create two animated gifs directed by Steve Small, bringing to life the two Ib Antoni Illustrations Tivoli and Concierge. Play the Posters HERE
DigitalArts Online speaks to Artist and animator Manddy Wyckens on re-appropriating the female form in a beautiful, elegant way.
“Manddy's style is infused with timelessness, harking back to an era before the advance of anything digital. It's also chock-full of emotion, a subtle kind where her characters are either deep in thought or lost in movement; figures are either adrift in water, or falling through air, seemingly entranced.”
AKA were delighted to be back at PLAYGROUNDS: THE ART DEPARTMENT in Eindhoven introduce new work. The Art Department 'focuses on concept art and design for film, animation and games, diving into the process of creating and putting a spotlight on the artists that are responsible of designing worlds, characters and stories for an incredible away of productions'. More info HERE
HEY DUGGEE is featured in @WIREDUK magazine’s annual list of summer picks that they just can’t live without. A-WOOF!... "Meet Duggee, the titular character of award-winning TV show @heyduggee. The more eagle-eyed among you will notice that Duggee is channelling Steve Jobs here while surrounded by his tech-enthusiast pals from the Squirrel Club. We included the show, which is created by the UK-based @studioaka (who also created this illustration) in our annual list of summer picks that we just can’t live without. You can see what else we chose in the current issue of @wireduk." Instagram Link DUGGE-GRAM
AKA director KRISTIAN ANDREWS Picked up a Gold Award for our Johnnie Walker spot 'Keep Walking at the ITFS/SPOTLIGHT Animated Com Award International Gala Awards 2017 in Stuttgart. Hurrah! BBH London came to Studio AKA looking for a unique, abstract and sophisticated piece to tell the 200 year history of Johnnie Walker. With one uninterrupted camera move, we see an unbroken path - a relay race of wisdom - following the footsteps of each mentor and mentee as knowledge of the Johnnie Walker craft is passed between the generations from Scotland to Shanghai...and beyond.
HEY DUGGEE won the INTERNATIONAL EMMY® KIDS AWARD for Kids Pre-School at the @MIPTV in Cannes ... Hurrah! we will sit it next to Duggee's BAFTA! Devised & Directed by AKA's GRANT ORCHARD, Hey Duggee is based around 'The Squirrel Club'; run by a big friendly dog called Duggee. It's a place where kids take part in all kinds of activities, have adventures and earn activity badges along the way. Duggee teaches the kids about being responsible, working as a team, and taking acceptable risks. Exec Producer. SUE GOFFE & Series Producer. JANINE VOONG pick up the Award: HERE FIND OUT MORE ON THE PROJECT PAGE
INTERVIEW: ‘Hey Duggee’ Creator Grant Orchard On Creating An Unconventional Preschool Show. After 20 years in the industry, Oscar-nominated short filmmaker and commercial director Grant Orchard discovered that tv series production has its own unique challenges. Grant Talks to Trude Vollenbroek in this interview for Cartoon Brew. Link HERE
Chris Robinson, writer, author & curator, and the artistic director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival asked a few questions of AKA's Philip Hunt. Read HERE
Alpha Kilo is a cultural communications agency and strategic consultancy that works internationally across the art, design, entertainment, fashion, luxury, travel, and technology sectors. Muses is the interview series with people around the world 'who support, challenge, and inspire us every day'. Find photographers, writers, curators, and other creatives here – with a bit of Proust mixed in. READ
The Berlin based Pictoplasma Academy recently decamped to Mexico City and invited a selected group of participants for a unique 1-week CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT COURSE, supervised by tutors Rilla Alexander and Nathan Jurevicius. STUDIO AKA's Philip Hunt ran a course on character driven storytelling, as part of a program challenging participants to explore specific personal projects or their general style right across the media spectrum – from drawing and illustration to sculpture and visual storytelling – to find the right path for their further development. PICTOPLASMA ACADEMY MEXICO
The first game app for Hey Duggee is NOW LIVE! Join Duggee and the Squirrels as they work hard to earn their six club badges. Fun missions include styling Duggee's hair, making your very own funny-faced Totem Pole, baking cakes for the Squirrels, hunting down Duggee’s leaf collection, colouring in your favourite characters, and even dressing up each of the Squirrels in their heroic Super Squirrel costume. Completing each activity wins you a badge and a Duggee Hug! HEY DUGGEE APP APP STORE AMAZON GOOGLE PLAY More About HEY DUGGEE
Studio AKA’s Philip Hunt was honoured to be a guest speaker at 'THE STORY 2015', a one-day conference about stories and story-telling. The day is an eclectic celebration of everything that is wonderful, inspiring and awesome about stories, in whatever medium possible - written, spoken, played, described, enacted, whispered, projected, orchestrated, performed, printed – whatever form stories come in. THE STORY 2015
SUDIO AKA was delighted to be a guest speaker at FAUX IMAGES on December 16th in Berlin. FAUX IMAGES is a quarterly meeting for local and international filmmakers, designers and artists from related disciplines, who are invited to present their work through lectures and screenings. FAUX IMAGES is organized by Mate Steinforth in cooperation with LEAP (Lab for Electronic Arts and Performance). MORE
STUDIO AKA's BAFTA-winning, animated adaptation of Oliver Jeffers’ much loved picture book, LOST AND FOUND was screened to a packed house in the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the 1st November as part of a weekend of events celebrating 10 years since 'The Boy' first appeared in Oliver's 'How To Catch A Star'. This was followed by a Q&A with Oliver Jeffers & Director Philip Hunt who adapted the book for the screen ... Missed the screening? Fear not, it's but a click away ... PAL DVD NTSC DVD About The Film
Issue 02 of MINCHO - The Illustration & Graphic Arts magazine - has a feature on STUDIO AKA (and as a bonus there's a piece on Chris Haughton too!) READ
The National Media Museum & Seven Stories (the National Centre for Children's Books) are again staging an exciting exhibition showcasing innovative & influential film and television adaptations, inspired by children's books. Featuring manuscripts, illustrations, storyboards, costumes and film footage from some of your favourite authors, including Roald Dahl, Lewis Carroll and Julia Donaldson, as well as AKA's telling of Oliver Jeffers LOST AND FOUND … 05/04/2014 - 27/04/2015 Seven Stories, Newcastle upon Tyne. ABOUT SEVEN STORIES NMM
Directors Notes invited AKA's Kristian Andrews to become the latest filmmaker featured in their 'They Are Animators' series. READ
Taiwan’s Dpi Magazine ‘The Variation of Comic Art and Animation’ - A collection featuring dozens of Eastern and Western artists and a selection of their work organized into the subcategories of "Sheer Vision", "Tangible Illusion", and "Satiny Boundary". Oh, and us...
From Hollywood blockbuster to striving independent filmmaker, from mobile phone games to characters advertising products on television, from pseudo live action through to virtual environments, animation is able to transcend boundaries to reach new audiences. This book (featuring AKA's LOVESPORT by Grant Orchard) shows how artists, designers, filmmakers, programmers, directors, writers, and producers have seized the chance to entertain using a versatile and compelling medium.
From scriptwriting through to production, Andrew Selby's introduction to animation for students surveys key technical processes and examines a variety of stylistic approaches. The book includes visual examples from key animators (ahem, including AKA) and illustrated features on how to create exciting animation for a variety of audiences .
After 86 Film Festival appearances & winning both the 2004 Short animation BAFTA and the 2005 CARTOON D'OR, JO JO IN THE STARS is FREE to watch on VIMEO and available to keep on iTunes. The debut film from Studio aka Director Marc Craste, 'JO JO IN THE STARS' was independently funded & produced by Studio AKA and plays out the heart wrenching tale of two unlikely lovers; Jo Jo, a silver-plated trapeze artist and the nameless hero who worships her. Together they make a desperate stand in the face of murderous jealousy within a beautifully bleak and brutal world.
VIMEO iTUNES UK iTUNES USA SHORT OF THE WEEK PROJECT PAGE
The Animation Research Centre visited AKA to talk to Kristian about his practice as an animator. He talked about his influences and inspiration and showed his fantastic collection of sketchbooks. Conducted as part of 'Oral Histories and Visible Witness' - an exploratory project into the documentation of the creative practice of current UK animators. WATCH MORE INFORMATION www.kristian-andrews.com
The most overlooked threat in the world is the loss of peace and quiet… Marc Craste & Helen Ward's beautiful book - Winner of the English Association's 4-11 Book Awards 2008 / Judge’s Top Choice for the Fiction and Poetry Ages 5-7 - Scholastic Best Books 2008 / Shortlisted for the British Book Design and Production Awards 2008. / Shortlisted for the 2009 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal. / Green Earth Book Award, Picture Book Category. ABOUT THE BOOK
Directors Notes invited AKA's Eamonn O'Neill to feature in their 'They Are Animators' series ... READ
For those of you who've been asking about the availability of Composer NIC GILL's aeon-spanning soundtrack to the BAFTA Winning & OSCAR Nominated short: A MORNING STROLL… you can now listen to it & also purchase it as a download via Bandcamp and iTunes. BANDCAMP ITUNES
The unexpected change in direction forced by technical difficulties or spontaneous audience participation is always fun. Let’s be honest though, the most fun thing is just ‘showing off’ isn’t it? READ
An interview with AKA's Philip Hunt about the Studio and it's Directors, and the relationship between The Creativity Monster© and Dreams & Goals™
DIGITAL ARTS asked us a few questions about Sing Up - a government-funded music education organisation which aims to get primary school children to realise that singing is an infectious and liberating experience that has the power to build confidence and self-esteem and to assist learning. Sing Up delivers training and tools to teachers and works to inspire children all over the country to find their voice. A
Digital Arts Link HERE
Project page HERE
"AND IN THE ENDLESS PAUSE THERE CAME THE SOUND OF BEES …" Composer Jóhann Jóhannsson draws the title of his latest album from the original VARMINTS book written by Helen Ward and illustrated by Marc Craste. The album is based on the music he composed for the 24-minute film version of Varmints Directed by Marc Craste at STUDIO AKA.
LOST AND FOUND was awarded the BAFTA for CHILDREN'S ANIMATION at the 2009 British Academy Children's Awards.
Studio AKA Producer SUE GOFFE & Director PHILIP HUNT accepted the award (from Mr Johnny Vegas no less...). This recognition from the British academy adds to the coveted Annecy Crystal given to the film - along with an amazing 62 International film festival Awards in total.
Cartoon Brew takes a closer look at Studio AKA’s A Morning Stroll with its writer/director Grant Orchard ... CARTOON BREW
JO JO IN THE STARS, a 12-minute story of love, self-sacrifice, and jealousy played out against a black and white world that is both nightmarish and hauntingly beautiful. Independently funded & produced by Studio AKA, the film was written and directed by AKA's MARC CRASTE, and produced by AKA's SUE GOFFE. Jo Jo went on to appear at 86 Film Festival appearances and won both the 2004 Short animation BAFTA and the 2005 CARTOON D'OR. JO JO IN THE STARS is FREE to watch on VIMEO and available to keep on iTunes.