Top Spot of the Week: Aardman Captures The Beauty of Birds In Animated Watercolor Film "Time Flies" For RSPB


Robert Goldrich
Thursday, Sep. 9, 2021


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Multi award-winning and independent Bristol, U.K.-based studio Aardman has teamed with agency creative specialists Catsnake to develop a stunning watercolor style animated film that celebrates the work of the U.K.’s largest nature conservation charity, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

The beautiful :60 piece titled “Time Flies” features the voice of Academy Award®-winning actor Jim Broadbent and began airing from Sept. 6 on TV and online to coincide with Remember a Charity Week (Sept. 6-12).

Catsnake’s brand research for the RSPB gleaned that the charity’s target audience have an inherent connection to the nature that surrounds them, and a profound appreciation of this connection’s importance to our collective future. Catsnake developed the “Time Flies” creative to capture this feeling--using the central metaphor of a baby blue tit separated from its parents, before finding its way home, to illustrate that although we have become disconnected from the natural world over time, the RSPB is working tirelessly to help us rebuild this vital bond, so one day, people and nature can truly thrive together. 

Catsnake felt the most effective way to capture the beauty and majesty of nature, over hundreds of years, was through the medium of animation and the watercolor design was established to provoke feelings of nostalgia with the viewer--the hand-crafted aesthetic connecting beautifully with the organic nature of the story. Working collaboratively with director Bram Ttwheam and the team of expert artists at Aardman, the stunning film was brought to life.

Edward Dark, co-director of “Time Flies” and CEO/creative director of Catsnake, said: “I have personally found directing this project with the extremely talented, and amicable (two traits that don’t always go together) Bram Ttwheam to be a joy. Not only have we been on the same page from day one, but the creative flair, originality and immense technical skill that he, and the whole Aardman team, brought to the project, has made the final film immeasurably better. I’m extremely proud of what we have produced together and hope we can do it again soon.”

Aardman director Ttwheam was delighted to have the opportunity to create this charming visual tale, commenting, “Catsnake have a penchant for strong narrative with a lot of heart. Edward communicates with such clarity and aplomb that it’s been an absolute pleasure to share a vision. Pieces with such rich seams come along rarely and it was a joy to explore the myriad possibilities.  Working in a different style and telling a story with such scope has been immensely rewarding. If the opportunity to work together ever happens again I’ll seize it with both hands.”

Vicki O’Hare, head of legacy marketing at the RSPB, added, “We’re extremely proud of our new legacy TV advert; the successful culmination of months of work between the RSPB Legacy team, Catsnake and Aardman. The way that the story is told through stunning animation will hopefully touch the hearts of people across the nation as they follow the journey of our fledgling blue tit through a changing landscape; one that can only be saved for future generations by acting now. Gifts in Wills make up over a quarter of the RSPB’s income, so it’s vital that we raise awareness of how important they are.”


Client RSPB Agency Catsnake--The Story Agency Edward Dark, creative director; Luzy Fazey, producer. Production/Animation Aardman, Bristol, UK  Bram Ttwheam, director, matte painter; Stephanie Owen, producer; Amy Davies, production coordinator; Jim Grant, matte painter; Trine Sorenson, modeler; Chuen Tsang, modeler & lighting; Tessa Mapp, technical director; Jono Candlish-Wilson,  Maciej Wojtkiewicz, animators; Chris Hawkes, Bram Ttwheam, Paule Quinton, Jeff Dillon, Daniel Blore, Jim Lewis, compositors; Greg Martin, rigger; Dan Wiliamson, editor. (Toolbox: Maya, Arnold, Photoshop, Fresco, After Effects, Houdini, Nuke, Resolve) Audio Matthew Loveridge, sound mixer. Music Michael Csanyi-Wills. Voiceover Jim Broadbent

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