Sam Fell, director of "Dawn of the Nuggets," on the "difficult" task of directing the "Chicken Run" sequel.

Netflix is releasing Aardman Animations' "Chicken Run": so we spoke to the film's director, Sam Fell, with Cartoon Brew's exclusive online event partner, INBTWN Animation.

Fell is an accomplished filmmaker who has been nominated for Academy Awards for such films as "Flash Away," "ParaNorman," and "The Tale of Despereaux"; in conversation with INBTWN, he explains where his love of animation comes from and how he began working with Aardman, He talks about how he incorporated vegetarianism during the production of "Dawn of the Nugget."

Asked why he got into animation, Fell replied, "I fell in love with animation a long time ago, and then I fell in love with it all over again. There was some great stop-motion animation, especially on television."

Fell taught himself the art of stop motion by making experimental films in his basement. He remembers clearly. 'I shot a three-minute reel of 16mm film in the basement with a couple of lights, moving things around, transforming them, even moving the camera. When the film came back, I was caught up in that magical feeling of it coming to life."

After showing some of his work to Aardman's bosses, he began working at the studio in the early 1990s.

Fell is agnostic when it comes to animation styles, but says there is something timeless and magical about stop motion. Nevertheless, he admits that the technique requires more patience than other approaches to the medium.

"Each film is painstaking, and at the end you are always back at square one," he explains. 'It took me 20 years to make four films. But I think they have stood the test of time, and there is something about them that still amuses me."

A few years ago, Fell attended an event celebrating British animation at 10 Downing Street, the residence and office of the British Prime Minister. Aardman co-founder Peter Lord approached him there and asked if he would be interested in directing another film for the studio.

Fell agreed and later visited the studio in Bristol to see what projects Aardman was contemplating. He said that the chickens caught his eye. He recalled, "They had a lot of good projects, but the chicken run was sitting there, kind of luring me in."

The idea of making a sequel to the biggest box-office hit in Aardman's history scared me at first, Fell says, but that was part of the attraction." If something frightens me, I guess I'm more attracted to it."


More than 20 years after the first "Chicken Run" film was released in theaters, Fell now knew that if he were to make a sequel, he would have to expand upon what the first film accomplished.

"The bigger and better challenge was the first year or so of talking about it, everything was so exciting," he joked. And then when it came time to go into production, it was like, 'Oh, this is really hard. Hats off to the crew. There were times when I was like, 'I don't know if we can do this.

Fell explained that two units were shooting simultaneously on most shots. One was shot at human scale and the other at the scale of a miniature chicken. This drove the production manager crazy."

When asked about making "Dawn of the Nugget" a family film that audiences of all ages can enjoy together, Fell was proud to say that making a film for children is truly special.

"Yes, we are artists and we deal with important things. The best question I got in Paris the other day was from a little kid. Why are there villains in your films? To answer... There are so many layers to that question. "

When asked for an answer, Fell said he was still trying to come up with an appropriate answer. 'I think every hero needs a villain. Otherwise, you can't challenge them.'

According to Fell, part of the appeal of animated films is that they often stay with the audience for years and years.

"At the moment, I'm trying to create a buzz. I want everyone to see it at Christmas. But I also want people to watch it in 10 or 20 years," he explained.

Fell ended the interview with an anecdote about how "Dawn of the Nugget" will stay with him for years and years.

"I became a vegetarian for this film," he said. 'But the crew didn't. They served chicken in the cafeteria every Wednesday."