Once I'd imagined it, I couldn't stop thinking about bringing Mr Bear to life. I taught myself to needlefelt and within a month I had created all of the characters and had the start of the set. I played around with a few short animations which I shot on my Iphone and they gave me the confidence to jump in feet first and make the full film of Mr Bear's Christmas, the biggest adventure on this journey so far.
I can't describe how fabulous it was to receive so many beautiful photos of children engrossed by watching Mr Bear, whole classes transfixed by the film and adorable messages from adults of all ages who had held their breath when mouse got lost and had been delighted to lose themselves in a magical world. I hope you enjoy it too.
Watch Mr Bear’s Christmas
Here is a short interview about the making of the film, the things that inspired me to make it, the hurdles I overcame to make it happen and fun I had along the way:
It may sound like the start of an Oscars speech, but truly I couldn't have done this without the kindness of my parents who let me take up a room in their house to build the sets, accepting my request to black out all of the windows for a few months! I am forever grateful for their help.
I was also incredibly fortunate to be connected to these two wonderful humans who made this film come to life more than I could ever have hoped or imagined. They are both fantastically talented and it was a joy to work with them.
The beautiful soundtrack to Mr Bear's Christmas was composed and performed by Andrew Pickering. He used only the good notes, and made Mr Bear's Christmas come alive so perfectly. He took so much care to understand the characters and the sentiment behind each scene and absolutely nailed each one.
It turned out that I was living just around the corner from a lighting specialist who works on professional animations. He so very kindly offered to help me light the set and lent me his lighting equipment while I shot the film. It was such a treat to be able to ask Dan lots of questions about what it was like to work on professional animation sets. I could feel my eyes light up as techniques from my childhood favourites were referenced into conversation - The Wind In The Willows, Brambly Hedge, and I realised how much of an impact they'd had on me growing up.
Here are a few happy memories from behind the scenes: