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Toonhound presents...






  Short British Films &  TV Specials  

      The First Snow Of Winter

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The First Snow
  of Winter

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producers: Hibbert Ralph / Link Ent.
                     for the BBC

2D animation
      run time:
25 mins


Poor Sean. Or rather, poor foolish Sean.

    Sean is a lively young duckling who, like all youngsters, never listens or heeds
    the words of his parents. So when he is warned away from his silly games and
    urged to join his Mum and Dad for the big migration south, what does he do?
    He gets up to mischief annoying some seagulls, that's what. And that brings
    him in to close contact with an aeroplane which leaves him unable to fly, with his
    parents already long gone. And that means young Sean has to face up to the
    first snow of winter lonesome and unprepared...
    And that's our cue for a desperately sweet tale in which Sean finds a home in
    an old wellington boot, meets a mad "oirish" water vole and a puffin, avoids the
    unwelcome attention of a hungry fox and learns invaluable lessons in survival,
    resourcefulness and friendship on the way.

      Sean looks to Voley for help...   

    "The First Snow of Winter" is a treat, guaranteed to bring a lump to your throat,
    and a tear to the eye, without teetering into mawkishness. It's a simple tale
    attractively told, with some silly humour, and beaufitul bleak winter backgrounds.
    The humour comes mainly from Voley, as voiced by the late great Dermot
    Morgan (Father Ted) in one of his final roles. Voley doesn't hang around long,
    hibernating before the snow comes, but there's still enough time for him to present
    us with a flock of Riverdancing sheep (!). Those backgrounds capture the steel skies
    and brown lands of early winter just perfectly, before the snow settles on everything,
    and Sean's boot in the snow looks as chilly and lonesome as you care to imagine.

    The film was written, stoyboarded and directed by Graham Ralph. Formerly one
    half of the splendidly successful Hibbert Ralph, Graham now operates Silver Fox
    Films with which he's mined still more animation gold. Silver Fox have brought us
    Second Star to the Left, Spider, Forgotten Toys, Angelmouse and William's
    Wish Wellingtons. Graham  also been executive produced and directed
    Bounty Hamster.

    Notice the names of Alan Gilbey and David Freedman on the script credit. They
    later formed Peafur Productions, through whom they brought The Mr Hell Show
    and the afore-mentioned "Bounty Hamster". "First Snow" shows off their more
     sensitive side.

    The film's first UK broadcast was on Christmas Day 1998, and it pooled some
    6m viewers. That's a big rating for a little ducky. Sean has gone on to warm the
    hearts of animation panels the world over. His story has collected a BAFTA for Best
    Animation 1999, an RTS Award, the Prix Jeunesse 2000 for best Children's
    Programme (0-6 fiction), and more. Fans should track down a copy of the
    original BBC video which includes a short "making of" feature with Graham
    Ralph. A tie-in storybook is also available, featuring splendid illustrations
    by Silver Fox artist SueTong.

      Sean and Puffy



      2000 Prix Jeunesse - Best Children's Programme (0-6 fiction)
      1999 BAFTA Award - Best Animation
      1999 Royal Television Society - Best Children's Entertainment
      1999 Prix Danube - Best Independent Production
      1999 Chicago Intl Children's Film Festival - 2nd prize, Children's
              Jury for Best Animation
      1999 Kinderfilmfest Tokyo - Grand Prize, Best Short Film
      1999 Washington DC Intl Film Fest - Best Film, Audience Award, Jury Award


      First Snow of Winter on DVD

     UK DVD The First Snow of Winter
                Region 2 / 4 Front / November 2005

     USA DVD The First Snow of Winter
                Region 1 / Sony / November 2004


a Hibbert Ralph Entertainment Production
      in association with Link Entertainment

     written, storyboarded and directed
      by Graham Ralph

     producer:         Jackie Edwards
     exec prods:      Theresa Plummer-Andrews, David Hamilton,
                            Clare Derry
     script:              Alan Gilbey, David Freedman
     music:              Mark Sayer-Wade, Tolga Kashif
                            The Music Sculptors
        Mark Mason, Paul Stone, Odile Comon, Teddy Hall
     art director:      Claire Wright
            Tom Bailey, Susie Bailey, Ray Rankine
     backgrounds:    Sue Tong, Ray Rankine, Claire Wright     
     voices:              Miriam Margolyes (Shaun)
                             Dermot Morgan (Voley)
                             Kate Sachs (Puffy)
                             Sorcha Cusack (Sean's Mum)
                             Neil McCaul (Shaun's Dad)


      On the web

      Silver Fox Films 
      The official studio site, for all the info you need on Graham Ralph,
      his team and their productions...

      Mark Mason
      Top Silver Fox animator bloke, Mark has his own site with some splendid
      info on his other series credits, like "Raggy Dolls" and the wonderfully
      stoopid "Philbert Frog"...

      Alan Gilbey
      Alan talks toons and more on his excellent site...

      David Freedman
      And David blogs along here...

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© Link Ent 1998 / Hibbert Ralph / F2006