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Jan Runs Her Chickens In A Model Way

A Coventry University graduate has helped thousands of film-goers squawk and cackle their way through the summer hit Chicken Run.

Jan Sanger is behind the plasticine magic of the successful film from Aardman Animation, and has been involved with other classics including Wallace and Gromit

She studied Fine Art at Coventry University in the early 1980s, when it was still known as Lanchester Polytechnic.

Following graduation, she moved to Bristol, where Aardman Animation is based, and became involved with the fledgling company.

Jan said:

"I moved to Bristol to race mountain bikes, but during my degree I had completed a 3D animation film. This coupled with a love of surrealism, led me into animation and model making."

She presented her show reel to Peter Lord of Aardman, and joined what was then a company of just eight people as a freelance animator and model maker.

Over the next three years Jan combined her work with Aardman with racing mountain bikes in Britain and the US.

During this time she worked on the Lip Synch series - five shorts for Channel 4, which included Creature Comforts and War Story, and worked on many of Aardman's commercials inspired by this series.

In 1989 Jan gave up the biking and became head of the model-making department, designing and building the characters for commercial projects and working on the films that have become British classics, and which have made Wallace and Gromit household names.

Grand Day Out, The Wrong Trousers, and a Close Shave were enormous hits, and Jan played her part in them all.

She now heads the 54 strong-team of model makers that worked on Chicken Run.

Centring on the efforts of Ginger and other chickens trying to escape the chicken farm before they are turned into chicken pies, it is the first Aardman feature film with a world-wide release.

Jan said:

"The film, which was over three years in the making, is currently in the box office top ten in Britain and the US.

"Aardman has a five feature deal with Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks studio, and we are currently working on the next film - based on the classic story of the tortoise and the hare taken from Aesop's fables."

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CWN / Education / Universities / Coventry University / 23 Aug 00

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