UK animation firm Locksmith Studio, which is fronted by Arthur Christmas director Sarah Smith, Shaun The Sheep Movie producer Julie Lockhart and media exec Elisabeth Murdoch, celebrated the official opening of its production complex in London last night.
The 5,000 square-foot Primrose Hill studio, which is spread across three floors, will be home to 70 artists, staff and crew and is the first dedicated CG-feature studio of its kind in the UK. Locksmith is in part backed by UK post-production firm Double Negative (Godzilla) and has a multi-year deal with Twentieth Century Fox for U.S. and global distribution. The company wants to deliver one movie every 12 – 18 months.
The firm is currently in production on their first feature Ron’s Gone Wrong, which will tell the story of a walking, talking, digitally connected bot that sweeps the world becoming every kid’s new best friend. When an eleven-year-old boy ends up with one that doesn’t work, however, he must try to teach it. The film is due for release November 2020.
Among the creative team working out of the studio on the movie will be director, Pixar Story vet J.P. Vine (Inside Out), production designers Nathan Crowley (Dunkirk) with Aurelien Predal (The Little Prince), producer Lara Breay (Megamind), editor David Burrows (The Lego Movie), cinematographer David Peers (Happy Feet) and VFX supervisor Philippe Denis (Trolls).
Locksmith Animation’s Co-CEO’s Sarah Smith and Julie Lockhart said, “The studio gives a home to Locksmith’s high-flying ambition to create a major new strand of CG animated movies here in London. It’s a wonderful building – but it’s the artists it houses that are our greatest assets. We hope it will add to the appeal of London as a world-class destination for the best animation talent working today.” Elisabeth Murdoch is co-founder and chairman of the company.