Jez Stewart talks about George Dunning, 5th November 2013

I have had some interest in the George Dunning event that Jez Stewart of the BFI gave at London Animation Club on 5th November 2013, so I have put the write-up for it up here:


Dear Fellow Drinkers and Animation Lovers,

On Tuesday 5th November, Bonfire Night, our guest speaker Jez Stewart of the British Film Institute delivered an excellent talk about the work of Canadian animator George Dunning (1920-1979). You can see a video of the talk filmed by Dennis Sisterson here:

<p><a href=”″>Jez Stewart presents the films of George Dunning</a> from <a href=””>Martin Pickles</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>



Dunning is best known for having directed the feature film Yellow Submarine but has otherwise been rather passed-over in animation history. Jez set the record straight by presenting a beautiful selection of Dunning’s short films, which ranged from thoughtful comedies, to industrial films, to experimental films.


The films that Jez showed were:

1. The Apple (1962)

A thoughtful line-drawn comedy written by Stan Hayward.


2. The Flying Man (1962)

A beautifully painted Surrealist film. The scenario for this film was written by our old friend Stan Hayward and you can see him talking about the film and George Dunning here:


3. Hands, Knees And Bumps A Daisy (1969)

An industrial film for the National Coal Board, yet one which employs some of the beautiful painted techniques of The Flying Man.

This film is not easily available online but you can see images from it here:

Try also

4. Thud And Blunder (1969)

Another film for the National Coal Board, this time much more in keeping with the line style of The Apple

5. The Maggot (1973)

An unsettling anti-drugs film which avoids cliche.

6. Damon The Mower (1972)

A personal project of Dunning’s, drawn entirely on index cards.  We liked this film so much we showed it twice!

This film is unavailable online, but you can read Jez’s piece on it here:

You can find the full text of Andrew Marvell’s poem, on which it is based, here:


Afterwards Jez sent me some links for further information:

You can read some of Jez’s articles on animation here:

Vicky Dale has also posted that you can see a couple of clips of Dunning’s films for the coal board in this BBC programme:

And you can also see the animation tests for Dunning’s unfinished film of Shakespeare’s The Tempest here:


In the second half we showed work which audience members had brought along on the night.

Win The Game by Anna Savva

A marvellous stop-motion plasticine animation of an evil game show and Anna’s Arts University Bournemouth graduation film. You can see part of it here: I hope Aardman is listening.

Stark by David Davis

A 3D Surrealist film based upon a dream David once had. It was a real treat and to our shock David told us he had never screened the film. I hope this showing and the reaction he had will encourage him to commission a new score and start sending it to festivals. You can see David’s showreel here:

We had a very healthy audience of 25+ people and a thoroughly good time was enjoyed by all.

Thank you very much to Jez and also to Dennis who filmed the talk.

We return a week early on Tuesday 26th November with our special guest Peter Firmin.

See you then.

Love from Martin

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