Jonathan Melville: Anderson’s animated BAFTA bid

“I WENT straight from school in Dingwall to Edinburgh College of Art in 2007 and studied animation for four years. This was my graduation film and I feel ridiculously lucky. I didn’t even think it would play anywhere.”

Will Anderson is explaining how his 15-minute short film, The Making of Longbird, came from nowhere to win a clutch of awards and rave reviews.

This weekend he will be in London for the BAFTAs, where he is shortlisted in the Short Animation category.

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“It was mainly animation on TV that started me out, programmes like South Park,” he says. “I copied the style, cutting out bits of paper and filming it. I made my first using my dad’s old 8mm camera. I shot a three-minute film frame-by-frame and sent it away to be developed, but it came back underexposed, which was kind of heartbreaking.”

Will’s film is set in his own Edinburgh animation studio where he co-stars with a Russian cartoon bird, Longbird. The pair argue over the film they’re collaborating on.

“I had an idea that I wanted to make a ‘making of’ documentary for a film that doesn’t exist. I needed a really strong character and found him in my sketchbook. The format gave a freedom to change things as I could reflect what was happening to me in real life.”

Whether or not Anderson’s success at the Scottish BAFTAs in 2012, where he won Best Animation, is replicated on Sunday, he’s already working on a TV series with BBC Scotland and a feature film script.

“I didn’t make Longbird to win awards, but as part of the BAFTA nomination it’ll be shown in UK cinemas. More people will see it and that’s what it’s for.”

The BAFTAs are on BBC One on Sunday from 9pm