Skwigly Online Animation Magazine Advanced Search

Untold Tales Series #3 – Sir John Lubbock’s Pet Wasp, by Osbert Parker & Laurie Hill

// Featured

We continue our coverage of Untold Tales with the third short film of the series – a six part micro-commission that sees seven renowned British animators bring voice to untold stories of life in the UK, and to explore diverse communities. Each animator brings their distinctive voice and animation style to these bitesize treats.

The Untold Tales project, commissioned by Anim18 and Animate Projects, sought out animators from a broad range of backgrounds, whose stories explore the UK’s rich and culturally diverse communities. The brief was relatively open, and could include anything from folklore traditions, to current issues or contemporary communities.

Today’s film is was produced by two animators, Osbert Parker and Laurie Hill. Since being selected as the UK Film Council Breakthrough Brit in 2008, three time BAFTA nominated director Parker has gone on to produce a body of work in his signature style of cut-out animation mixed with live action. Aside from his work as a commercial director, his short films continue to receive acclaim on the festival circuit.

Hill is a multimedia animation director with an eccentric, characterful and comedic tone to his work. He was a finalist in the Jerwood Moving Image Awards, and won the Getty Images/Short & Sweet short film challenge. Laurie was commissioned by the Museum of London to create an animated installation celebrating the bicentenary of Charles Dickens. (You can follow Osbert’s work on Instagram and his website; and Laurie on his website.)

Using collage archive imagery and a specially commissioned soundscape; Sir John Lubbock’s Pet Wasp will present the story of Victorian amateur biologist John Lubbock and his pet wasp, to reflect on our relationships with the natural world and our desire to domesticate animals. A diverse range of stop motion, 2D cut-outs with models, and digital animation is combined to tell a bizarre and beautiful love story with a sting in its tale.

We’ve been reading and using Victorian stories as a source of inspiration for an animated series for some time and thought the true story about ‘Sir John Lubbock’s Pet Wasp’ put into the context of cultural appropriation and civilisation stuck us contemporary and relevant today.

Our objective was to experiment with vintage scientific studies of wasps (polistes gallica) and create a style, that evoked the world of Victorian curiosities, by using a modern mixed media animation approach to bring this true story to life with a drop humour and 6 lumps of sugar. Sound & music was an essential part of creating that world with the brilliant team we were lucky to work with.

– Osbert Parker

We were thinking for a while about a collaboration and looking for a story or theme that attracted us. When this one came to our attention we both started buzzing. It was clear we could have some fun with it. There was something fascinating about the story – funny, absurd, strangely touching. The then questions jump out at you – how and why would you do this to a wasp, transported to England from its home in the Pyrenees? And what might the benefits of Lubbock’s ‘civilising’ influence be?

The best thing about it is it’s true (kind of)! Of course we’ve taken it and Sir John’s own account of it (from his book Ants, Bees and Wasps) and rather twisted it to our purposes. As far as we know he didn’t really force feed it tea and cakes. We wanted something with a core of truth that our imaginations have picked up and run with. It’s a hybrid work – an animated documentary-fantasy!

– Laurie Hill

Look out for the films on Instagram (both anim18uk and animateprojectsuk) or Vimeo (animateprojects), and check back on Skwigly for the remaining films in the series. You can read more about the other film projects here:

Untold Tales were commissioned by Anim18 and Animate Projects, and are supported by Lottery funds from Arts Council England, British Film Institute and British Council. #untoldtales #anim18

Interesting interview with @Roos_Mattaar about working with armature in animation, with links to some of her beauti…
Twitter buttons
SEC Animation
Interview with stop-motion artist Roos Mattaar
Twitter buttons
Anna Mattaar
Story runs in the family! Have a look at this handy overview of pretty much every amazing stop motion thing my sist…
Twitter buttons

Advanced Search & Filter


Find articles by a specific writer