Alan Dewhurst, Ardour Photos co-founder and BAFTA-nominated producer of Peter & the Wolf, died from most cancers in late Might. He was 63. Dewhurst’s household confirmed the information to Cartoon Brew.
Dewhurst was born on February 19, 1960 in Salford, Larger Manchester and when he was seven, his household relocated to North London. His father is playwright Keith Dewhurst and his mom was actress Eve Pearce, who died earlier this yr. Dewhurst went to St. Aidan’s Main College in Stroud Inexperienced then Highgate College earlier than enrolling in Peterhouse School at Cambridge College the place he studied archaeology and anthropology.
Dewhurst began within the animation trade as a runner on the Soho Sq. studio of the legendary Richard Williams. He labored with Williams for 4 years, doing principally business service work.
In a 2013 interview, Dewhurst mentioned of his former boss, “He’s actually a type of inspirational character, and from him I discovered most of the issues that I’ve sought to use all through my profession.”
As his time working with Williams got here to an finish, Dewhurst partnered with Andrew Ruhemann to launch Ardour Photos. Williams had began engaged on Who Framed Roger Rabbit and was not taking promoting jobs, so he advisable the upstart studio to his purchasers. Inside two weeks of opening their doorways, Dewhurst and Ruhemann had a full pipeline of business work.
In keeping with Dewhurst, the early Ardour years had been spent working to enhance the extent of the corporate’s output and match the extent of high quality to which he was accustomed from his time spent with Williams. He additionally wished to observe Williams’ profession path and ultimately get into narrative manufacturing. Dewhurst noticed Ardour as a business firm “with a view of utilizing the success of service work to assist develop and get us on our means with narrative work.”
Because the years glided by, nonetheless, Dewhurst felt Ardour was settling too comfortably right into a service work area of interest because of its super business success. So, in 1998, he bought his half of the corporate to Ruhemann and got down to fulfill his dream of manufacturing narrative animation.
Dewhurst ultimately teamed with Hugh Welchman at Breakthru Movies, who he’d met instructing on the Nationwide Movie and Tv College within the U.Okay. In keeping with Dewhurst, his years spent in academia had been foundational to his later narrative work.
He described his time in training as “a very pivotal expertise as a result of over the course of about three years, I helped supervise about 20 commencement movies of many various sorts, working with many various administrators and producers in many various types, many various aesthetics. And I really feel that’s the place I actually type of discovered in regards to the guts of narrative filmmaking.”
Dewhurst took what he discovered from working with college students and utilized it to a number of impartial brief movies that he produced, probably the most profitable being the Oscar-winning musical brief Peter and the Wolf. What’s extra, Dewhurst recruited one in every of his former college students, Suzie Templeton, to direct the movie.
Peter & the Wolf was developed over a interval of three years. In keeping with Dewhurst, the challenge was extremely troublesome to finance and ultimately ended up receiving capital from 13 totally different sources, an distinctive quantity for a British animated brief on the time.
He says one other problem was getting the director he wished, however that he all the time knew it needed to be Templeton. “Suzie had made one of the best pupil brief I’d ever seen in Canine and was clearly among the finest British animation administrators of the previous couple of a long time.”
With Dewhurt’s coaxing, Templeton ultimately did board as co-writer and director, and Dewhurst’s instincts paid off. The world premiere, with reside accompaniment by the Philharmonic Orchestra, bought out London’s Royal Albert Corridor in September 2006 and different reside performances had been held in a number of different nations. Produced by Breakthru with Se-ma-for Studios in Łódź, Poland, it was nominated for a BAFTA, gained each the highest Annecy Cristal and the competition’s viewers award, and ultimately gained the Oscar in 2008 for greatest animated brief.
In a social media put up, former Ardour worker and longtime Dewhurst pal Fraser MacLean wrote:
Alan and Andrew knew and understood the facility and the significance of high quality in all facets of the work: artistic, technical, and organizational and it was great to have that confidence – that not one of the work they introduced via the studio was ever something apart from the very best quality. For all that I knew him as a reserved and quiet character, Alan all the time had a really distinct spark in his eye and the beginnings of a smile on his face – and I all the time felt that he knew and understood and cared an excellent deal in regards to the potential of the numerous totally different animation groups he constructed and managed. The trade and the group in London – and far additional afield – has misplaced a really honest, centered, and visionary man.”
Dewhurst is survived by his spouse Ellen Walder, his sons Henry and Alexander, his sisters Emma and Religion Dewhurst, and father Keith Dewhurst.