Dave Borthwick Directed Doogal, Magic Roundabout

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Dave Borthwick

Dave Borth­wick

British stop-motion ani­ma­tor Dave Borth­wick, a direc­tor of the fea­ture films The Magic Round­about (2005) and Doo­gal (2006), died this past week in Bris­tol, Eng­land, car­toon his­to­rian Jerry Beck said Thurs­day morning.

His age was not imme­di­ately available.

Borth­wick, co-founder of Bristol’s bolexbroth­ers stu­dios with Dave Alex Rid­dett in the early 1980s, died of pneu­mo­nia after his health had been fail­ing for a while, Beck quoted stop-motion char­ac­ter ani­ma­tor Tom Gasek as saying.

Known as The Magic Round­about in the United States, the 2005 movie was orig­i­nally titled Sprung! The Magic Round­about in Britain.

He con­ceived, directed, wrote and even edited 1993’s The Secret Adven­tures of Tom Thumb. Based on an award-winning 10-minute pilot, it was a 61-minute film com­bin­ing 3-D model ani­ma­tion with an inno­v­a­tive use of pix­i­la­tion –the tech­nique of ani­mat­ing human actors frame by frame. The film was the first major pro­duc­tion for the bolexbrothers.

Pix­i­la­tion is no small task for actors,” he said of Tom Thumb. A move­ment or expres­sion that lasts for, say, five sec­onds on screen could take three or four hours to shoot.”

He won sev­eral awards for The Secret Adven­tures of Tom Thumb: the Evening Stan­dard British Film Award for Best Technical/Artistic Achieve­ment, the Crit­ics’ Award — Spe­cial Men­tion at Fan­tas­porto, the Inter­na­tional Fan­tasy Film Award for Best Direc­tor, and the Best Direc­tor award at the Sit­ges — Cat­alon­ian Inter­na­tional Film Festival.

Bolexbroth­ers spe­cial­izes in stop frame and pix­i­la­tion. Fol­low­ing a decade of pro­duc­ing short films and com­mer­cials, it was focus­ing its efforts on a full-length fea­ture, Grass Roots: The Movie, at the time of Borthwick’s death. The film was a clay-animated adap­ta­tion of Gilbert Shelton’s under­ground comic The Fab­u­lous Furry Freak Broth­ers.

Borth­wick worked on such ani­mated shorts as Val­halla (1986), The Saint Inspec­tor (1996), Keep in a Dry Place and Away from Chil­dren (1998) and Lit­tle Dark Poet (1999) as an exec­u­tive pro­ducer, edi­tor or con­sul­tant. He appeared as him­self on “Visions of Child­hood,” a episode of the 2005 doc­u­men­tary TV series Ani­ma­tion Nation.

Bolexbroth­ers also pro­duced ani­mated com­mer­cials for such clients as Coca-Cola’s Fanta, Legos, Weet­abix, Carls­berg, Nestea, Bud­weiser, Scot­land against Drugs and Boots.

Borth­wick was nom­i­nated for a CableACE Award for Edit­ing a Doc­u­men­tary Spe­cial or Series in con­nec­tion with the 1991 spe­cial LifePulse, which aired on Dis­ney Channel.

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