Video: Ipswich animator reveals all about part he played in creating new Shaun the Sheep Movie

Shaun the Sheep Movie

Shaun the Sheep Movie - Credit: � 2014 Aardman Animations Ltd

For Ipswich-born art student and animator Richard Goleszowski, Shaun the Sheep has been a passport to showbiz success.

Richard Starzak who wrote and directed Shaun The Sheep Movie.

Richard Starzak who wrote and directed Shaun The Sheep Movie. - Credit: PA

Richard, or Golly, as he was known when he was a student at Northgate Grammar School, is writer and co-director of the Shaun the Sheep Movie which is in cinemas from Friday.

Directed under his professional name Richard Starzak, Richard Goleszowski, co-creator of the TV series Shaun the Sheep, has now realised a lifelong ambition by bringing the family favourite to the big screen.

“It’s been a real thrill being the co-director of the movie as well as being a huge challenge. Creating a movie is an enormous step up from producing a television episode. The writing alone took two years. It’s so much more than writing an extended episode. You have got to make sure that all the different strands come together and that you keep the quirky feel of the series for the whole 80 minutes.”

He said, although he has shepherded the booming career of Shaun the Sheep since the TV series was first launched in 2007, creating an animated series and a film was a team effort.

“I shot the film with co-director Mark Burton and there are a lot of people making models, animating the characters, doing the lighting, photography. It’s a big collaborative effort.”

Richard has been a key element of Aardman Animation for more than 30 years. Aardman shot to fame as the creators of Wallace and Gromit, Morph, Tony Hart’s claymation sidekick in Take-Hart, and the Creature Comforts short films. He joined the animation firm shortly after graduating from Exeter College of Art. “I was employee number one. I joined a couple of months before Nick Park, the creator of Wallace and Gromit.”

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Richard, who lived in Ashcroft Road, Ipswich, attended Northgate in the late 60s and early 70s, before starting a foundation course at Ipswich Art School under the watchful eye of Colin Moss and Bernard Reynolds. “I always knew I would end up doing something in the world of art. I loved my time at Ipswich Art School – much more so than my time at Exeter. Colin, in particular, was very supportive and I was taught by John Constable, the great, great grandson of THE John Constable, which was rather good.

“I always loved art and cartoons. I used love cartoons on television. There was always one on Saturdays after the football. I used to love animation but I had no idea you could make a living out of it. I really enjoyed art at Northgate. I had two really two teachers who were poles apart stylistically. John Poole, who was very correct and a classical artist, and Mike Lumb, who you could only describe as an eccentric, hairy installation artist, but they both inspired me in their different ways.”

He said that he was currently working on a new series of Shaun the Sheep as well as a forthcoming half hour special.

The Shaun the Sheep Movie opens on Friday.

Northgate Memories

Tom Salmon, now head of fragrances at Unilever, remembers class-mate Richard Goleszowski at Northgate. “Richard, or Golly as we knew him, was always a bit a comedian and a fantastic cartoonist. He used to produce the most amazing caricatures of the teachers. He really captured them, so it’s no surprise he’s now a director of an animated film and done so well for himself at Aardman.

“As well as a being a great artist, Richard was a very keen sportsman. He was a great rugby player and played for the school. He was a great character.”

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