Chris Shepherd

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Chris Shepherd
Chris Shepherd.jpg
Shepherd in December 2014
Born (1967-12-11) 11 December 1967 (age 49)
Anfield, Liverpool, England
Occupation Director, writer, producer
Awards Winner of a British Independent Film Award and five British Animation Awards
Website chrisshepherdfilms.com

Chris Shepherd is a BAFTA nominated television/film writer and director. Born in Anfield, Liverpool, Lancashire, in 1967. He is mainly known for combining live action with animation. His work fuses comedy with commentary on the darker side of human nature.

Early years[edit]

Chris's first animation was made in 1989 and it was called Safari. He wanted to make a drama but didn't know any actors, so he made his cast out of plasticine. Using this film he won a place at University for the Creative Arts, Farnham. His first job in the industry was as production manager at Speedy Films which was the creative vehicle for director Paul Vester. His writing and commissioned directorial debut came in 1997 with a Channel 4 film called The Broken Jaw. This animated comedy illustrated the plight of a public house after it has been transformed into a fun pub. During the same year he animated the world stare-out championship for BBC comedy sketch show Big Train.

As well as being the producer on the Channel 4/MOMI scheme, he also worked as producer with Cramp Twins creator, Brian Wood, on his Channel 4 film School Disco and "Bunny Schendler" on her BAFTA nominated "World of Interiors".

Slinky[edit]

In 2000 Shepherd set up Slinky Pictures and until its closure in 2010, the company produced many award-winning films and adverts. His 2003 Dad's Dead, commissioned by animate!, featured Ian Hart as its narrator. This was the first collaboration of many with producer and Slinky Pictures co-founder Maria Manton. The film groundbreakingly combined animation with live action in a unique style which led the film to win 25 international awards including Best Short Film at the British Independent Film Awards and BAFTA nomination. He directed and co-wrote a spoof general election series with Peter Holmes called People's Britain for Channel 4 in 2001.

Other credits include animation on Channel 4 sitcom Nathan Barley and Channel 4 documentary Bollocks to Cancer. 2005 saw him co-write and co-direct with artist David Shrigley on a second animate! commission called Who I Am And What I Want. The year after Silence Is Golden won the TCM Classic Shorts Award at the 2006 London Film Festival.

It was during this period that Shepherd wrote several feature films including: Up in Heaven, Directed by Shepherd, produced by Nira Park and Maria Manton for Film4, Big Talk Productions; and 50% Off, directed by Shepherd from an idea by him and David Shrigley for Warp Films. After being caught for five years in the development of Up in Heaven, he vowed to make as many films as he could, regardless of length. There's still a lot of speculation about the progress of his feature film projects which, according to several websites, are still in development.

His last Slinky film, Bad Night for the Blues, won the International Canal+ Award at Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival and was transmitted on BBC HD on 27 February 2011. This is the first film in which Chris adopted an autobiographical approach without hiding characters involved.

Post Slinky 2011 to 2016[edit]

Chris's first work after Slinky was a pop promo, Falling into Pieces, for Black Casino and the Ghost. From 2011 saw Chris being a guest curator on Channel 4's late night arts strand Random Acts. Commissioned by Lupus films he's worked with the likes of David Shrigley, Phil Mulloy and Fred Deakin. As well as curating and producing sixty films for the strand he's also directed two. A recreation of a childhood visits to the dentist called "Drillerfiller" and a pop promo for protest singer Grace Petrie called "Grace Petrie: Rise". Both look at Chris's childhood landscape, the first as a memory and the second as a documentary. "Rise" was shot in Anfield in Liverpool just as Chris's childhood neighbourhood was being demolished. The film was later included in 2012's Anfield Home Tours as part of the 2up2down project. He also produced a documentary project with Tim Brunsden called Home Sweet Home which documented events after a major fire at Chris's family home.

In 2013 Chris wrote and directed a new film called The Ringer. Commissioned by Canal+ and CNC is a coproduction with Polkadot Productions, Autour De Minuit and the Bureau. It stars Kieran Lynn and John Henshaw. The Ringer saw Chris develop his autobiographical approach to his filmmaking, thus led to critical praise and the film winning many film awards. In addition, 2013 saw a collaboration with Robert Popper called Anatole's Island which was voiced by Peter Serafinowicz and Chris directed a series of Comedy Blaps! for Channel 4 with the comedy collective the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society. Pop promo collaborations followed with the likes of Holly Johnson, Kurt Wagner, Reverend and The Makers , Lambchop members new electronic band HeCTA and The Wave Pictures.

2016 saw Chris return with another director/writer project for Arte called Johnno's Dead a loose sequel to his 2003 classic Dad's Dead. This sequel is set thirteen years after the original was set and starts the same cast. The film has played many international festivals such as Annecy, Clermont Ferrand, Tampere and the film picked up Best British Short Film at the London International Animation Festival held in the Barbican in London.

Joe Orton[edit]

In 2017 Chris embarked upon a Joe Orton tribute project to mark the 50th anniversary of the passing of the playwright. The project was masterminded by Chris with Doctor Emma Parker from the University of Leicester. It centres around Orton's Edna Welthorpe letters. Orton wrote prank letters of complaint to poke fun at establishment figures such as vicars, companies and sometimes even his own plays. The project funded by the Arts Council England and the University of Leicester has seen many comedy writers such as Alec Baldwin, David Quantick, Caroline Moran, Phil Bowker, Arthur Mathews, Jesse Armstrong write new Edna Welthorpe letters. These letters are to be read in two events. The first in Latitude with readings by Robin Ince, John-Luke Roberts and Joe Orton's sister Leonine Orton Barnet. The second is at the Little Theatre in Orton's hometown on the anniversary of Orton's death on the 9th August 2017. With readings by Leonie Orton, Frances Barber, David Quantick and John Shuttleworth. In addition Chris has directed a short animated film called Yours Faithfully Edna Welthorpe (Mrs) which features the voices of Alison Steadman and Robin Sebastian.[1][2]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Notes
prep Mr Phillips (in development) director and writer, based on the novel by John Lanchester
prep Up in Heaven (in development) director and co-writer with Jim Mummery
prep 50% Off (in development) director and writer with from an idea by Chris Shepherd and David Shrigley
2018 Brexicuted (in pre production) directed and writer
2017 Yours Faithfully Edna Welthorpe (Mrs) directed and adapted from Joe Orton
2016 Johnno's Dead director and writer
2016 The Wave Pictures-Pool Hall director and writer
2016 The Wave Pictures-The Running Man director and writer
2015 Reverend and the Makers – Making Babies from Mirrors co-animation director with Joice Jurtiz and writer
2015 HeCTA featuring Kurt WagnerSympathy for the Auto Industry co-director with Jez Pennington and writer
2015 HeCTA featuring Kurt Wagner and Buddy HackettThe Concept director and writer
2014 Holly Johnson – In And Out of Love director and writer
2013 Comedy Blaps: The Alternative Comedy Memorial Society Presents a Board Meeting director
2013 The Ringer director and writer
2013 Life Class director and writer
2013 Shameless – episode 10.2 animator
2013 Anatole's Island co-director with Amer Nazri
2012 Home Sweet Home (documentary) producer (directed by Tim Brunsden)
2012 Grace Petrie – Rise co director and writer with Rod Main
2012 Drillerfiller director and writer
2011 Black Casino and the Ghost – Falling into Pieces director and writer
2010 Bad Night for the Blues director and writer
2010 Count Arthur Strong's Entertainment Game (TV pilot) animation
2010 The Klang Show animation
2007 Granny director and writer
2006 Silence is Golden director and writer
2005 Who I Am And What I Want co-director and co-writer with David Shrigley
2005 Nathan Barley animation and graphics
2005 Only Human: Bollocks to Cancer animation
2003 Dad's Dead director and writer
2001 People's Britain director and co-writer with Peter Holmes
2001 The World of Interiors producer
2000 Pop Skool director
2000 Angry Kid Episode: "Backward Writing" co-writer with Darren Walsh
1999 School Disco producer
1998 Big Train (Series 1) animation
1997 The Broken Jaw director and writer
1995 Abductees production manager
1992 A Load of Balls director and writer
1989 Safari director and writer

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