The John Lewis Christmas campaign has become a symbol of the start of the British festive season, and Blinkink and Hornet are proud to present The Bear & the Hare, Elliot Dear and Yves Geleyn’s heartwarming animated film for John Lewis and Adam & Eve DDB.
There once was an animal who had never seen Christmas. As autumn winds turn to winter snow, the bear begins his annual retreat into hibernation to sleep his way through the best part of the year. The festive spirit is strong though, and his friend the hare is determined to give him a gift he has never received before – Christmas.
The Bear & the Hare is the first John Lewis campaign to embrace the emotive power of animation, a filmic technique so evocative of Christmasses gone by.
Elliot and Yves took the two most traditional and time-honoured animation processes – stop-motion and traditional hand-drawn 2D animation – and combined them to create something innovative and unique. Their aim was to do almost everything in camera, using real lighting, lens and film craft to build a world where the audience can see and feel the painstaking work behind it. The 2D animation’s physical interaction with the set and the human imperfections inherent in the process create a hand-crafted piece full of heart and integrity.
The animation process involved constant shifts between 2D and 3D worlds. In order to achieve this complicated combination the whole film was first created in Blinkink Studios as a 3D previsualisation animatic with all the sets and characters built to scale. This allowed everything to be developed and planned alongside the modelmakers and animators, thus integrating the different disciplines and processes before the set was built or the characters were printed.
Aaron Blaise (Brother Bear, The Lion King, Mulan) and his team of veteran Disney animators at Premise Entertainment in Orlando, Florida, designed and animated the characters. The 2D-animation frames were printed onto mounted paper and cut with a laser. Each frame (nearly 4,000 in total) was then individually hand-labelled before going on set. Feature-film stop-frame animators then spent 6 weeks bringing the world to life.
The set was built by our production designer John Lee (Aliens, Fantastic Mr Fox, Frankenweenie) and his team at Shepperton Studios before being transported to Clapham Road Studios ready for the stop-motion shoot.
Post-production was done in-house in Blinkink’s animation studio, and the final grade was completed at MPC.
Elliot Dear & Yves Geleyn
James Stevenson Bretton