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Glyndwr University graduate launches crowdfunding project for TV animation

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October 23 2015

An animated character who achieved a cult following on national TV is set to star in his own film thanks to a Glyndŵr University graduate.

Benjamin Howell, who studied at the North Wales School of Art and Design, is making a new animated film called Saucy Horsey using traditional pencil-on-paper animation, combined with 3D clay and puppet animation.

The lead character Saucy Horsey, a man with a horse’s head and a song in his heart, and his associate Little Piggy, were seen in a series of ‘E-stings’  - short station idents on Channel 4’s sister station E4 over the last four years.

Now Benjamin is giving them a full 20 minute adventure treatment during which, he says, we will discover the true cost of spending your life in a Saucy manner.

And anyone who invests in the project could appear in it too, as a cartoon version of themselves.

“It’s a punchy little love and crime musical,” explained Benjamin, who is now based in Roath, Cardiff.

“This is going to be a film that dances with your brain then insists on taking your brain to dinner at a roadside cafe where things get weird because the film has forgotten its wallet.

“Numbers are exchanged, whispering between the film and the restaurant manager occurs and then when returning to the table the condition of your liver becomes the main topic of conversation. Shhhh, everything is going to be alright!

“It will have light, very funny moments but there is also revenge and a bitter love triangle.

“The story is driven along by these catchy little jingles, a bit like early television advertising, a chirpy song to relax and numb the soul and then...HERE IS THE PRODUCT! Before you know it you have bought the latest hand-held, underwater harpoon gun yet you are afraid of the ocean.

“The film isn't going to give you the meaning of life but it will make you happier,” he added.

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“The main thing in life is being honest and try to spread a little joy. Share your sweets, your love and your song and if they don't like what they taste or hear, say ‘thank you very much for your time’, tip your hat and move on to the next group of people and see if they like your noisy flavour.  It's going to be quirky but... by the time this is all over you will believe a pigeon can order a ploughman's lunch".

Benjamin is now raising money to finance the project through the Kickstarter crowdfunding website, and is offering on-screen appearances and other perks for those who invest in the film.

“We’re offering people various rewards for helping us out,” he explained.

“For a small donation people can get their name or that of a loved one in the end credits of the film. They can get access to an online production diary so they can see how the film progresses day to day.

“They can also get T-shirts, badges, posters and could even appear as an animated character in the finished film – or buy the reward for a friend or loved one.

“It's a much more interesting gift idea than socks or car cleaning set. Let us solve your 'Secret Santa' gift buying dilemma by putting your work colleague's name on a film!

“We have until November 23 to raise the money, and if successful will then go into production, aiming for a 2017 release.”

On completion ‘Saucy Horsey’ will be entered into film and animation festivals around the world in the short film/animation category.

Ben graduated from Glyndŵr University in 2000 and his final film, film 'Help! I'm Stuck on a Wolfman' a claymation/2D, was a finalist in the BBC Talent competition

After leaving Glyndŵr University, Benjamin trained as a digital animator with Cyfle in Cardiff Bay and he has worked as a studio animator and a freelance film maker.

He has worked on several animated films for charities, had a film reviewed as 'baffling' by Empire film magazine and now makes short films and animations for festivals and competitions under the name Selling the Yard Films.

He is in his own words "a nice animation man with a lively mono-brow, sideburns and hair that won't listen to reason, who is working hard to make you smile."

Anyone interested in investing in the project or checking the rewards on offer, should go to www.kickstarter.com and search for Saucy Horsey or follow this link http://kck.st/1Fv77bw

As with all Kickstarter projects, investors are being invited to pledge money, but will only pay if and when it reaches its funding target. 

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