David Sproxton C.B.E, Executive Chairman, Aardman Animation

David Sproxton

David Sproxton is the co-founder and Executive Chairman of Aardman.  Together with co-founder Peter Lord, he has overseen the development of the company from a two-man partnership to one of the pre-eminent animation houses in the industry.  David has served as a producer, director or cinematographer on a number of animated projects at Aardman.

Sproxton and Lord met at Woking Grammar School for Boys, and in 1970 made their first animated film using David’s father’s clockwork 16mm Bolex camera.  It was a crude piece using cu-touts from magazines and chalk drawings, yet demonstrated enough talent for a BBC Children’s Television producer to offer the pair a chance to make short animated films for the programme Vision On.  This led them to register the name Aardman Animations with Companies House in 1972, as a schoolboy prank !

Whilst at Durham University, David became Technical Director of Durham University Theatre, lighting and producing audio tracks for a great many productions.  This proved very valuable experience. During the summer vacations Peter and David produced short animated sequences for that year’s series of Vision On.

The BBC Children’s Television work continued so after graduating David and Peter decided to decided to pursue filmmaking full-time and in 1976, moved to their permanent home in Bristol, England.  Their first professional creation was the character Morph, who went on to star in the BBC series The Amazing Adventures of Morph.

During this period, the due made two short animated films, Down and Out and Confessions of a Foyer Girl, to which they applied the ground-breaking technique of using recorded conversations of real people as the basis for the script.  Later, five more films called Conversation Pieces, using the same “vox pop” technique, were commissioned by Channel 4.  “Vox pop” was also utilized in Aardman’s Lip Synch series for channel 4 which included Nick Park’s Oscar winning short Creature Comforts.

Nurturing Talent:

In addition to Nick, the studio is known for discovering and nurturing new filmmakers.  These include Steve Box who won a BAFTA Award for his direction of Stage Fright and co-directed The Curse of the Wererabbit with Nick Park; the Oscar®-nominated and BAFTA-winning Peter Peake the director of HumDrum and many commercials.  Also, Richard Goleszowski, who directed the Rex the Run series for BBC2 and the Creature Comforts series for ITV,  Darren Walsh (Angry Kid) and Stefan Marjoram (BBC3 Blobs and Presentators for Nickelodeon).

Filmography in brief:

David co-produced Aardman’s first feature film Chicken Run (2000), the Wallace and Gromit feature The Curse of the Were Rabbit (2005), and the CGI feature Flushed Away (2006), made in association with DreamWorks.  David is co-producer of both Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists and Arthur Christmas, Aardman’s feature films produced in association with Sony Pictures.  He is also co-producer on Shaun the Sheep The Movie, the studios latest feature film produced with via a new collaboration with STUDIOCANAL. He has also been involved in the many TV projects the studio has produced including Shaun the Sheep, Chop Socky Chooks, Angry Kid, Timmy and the Wallace and Gromit film, A Matter of Loaf and Death and the Wallace and Gromit series, Wallace and Gromit’s World of Invention.

David’s most recent film credit is as Executive Producer on Aardman studios upcoming animated comedy adventure Early Man directed by Nick Park.

Boards and charities:

David Sproxton spent 9 years on the board of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre Trust and three years on the Board of the UK Film Council. Until recently he was Chairman of Encounters International Short and Animation Film Festival and continues to be a member of the board of At-Bristol.

David is also a board member of Fly 2 Help charity and The Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children’s Hospital charity.