Monday 20 November 2017

BAFTA-winning animator now looks to Oscars

Proud family sets sights on Tinseltown

Richard with his parents Michael and Noeleen.
Richard with his parents Michael and Noeleen.
Ken Sweeney

Ken Sweeney

THEY wept tears of joy as they watched their son win a BAFTA on television -- but all Richard Baneham's parents want is to be by his side for the Oscars.

Michael and Noeleen Baneham, from Tallaght in Dublin, are "optimistic" about getting tickets to Tinseltown. Richard is nominated for a gong for creating the special effects for science fiction film 'Avatar'.

His parents hope to be in the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood for the awards ceremony on March 7.

"We're going over to America and Richard is very optimistic he will get two tickets for us. It would be the most fantastic night for both of us," said Michael.

On Sunday night, the couple were overcome with emotion as they watched their son winning a British Film and Television Award in London.

"My wife was crying, really crying -- but tears of joy. I have never seen her so happy. I shed tears, too, but did my best to hold them back," said Michael.

The couple were among the first people their son rang after accepting the award with fellow animators Andrew Jones, Stephen Rosenbaum and Joe Letteri.

"He sounded so pleased on the phone. In two weeks, he's off to the Oscars," said Michael.

Richard's proud parents claim an equal share of their son's talent which has seen him work on box office hits such as 'Return of the King', and 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'.

"The arty side comes from his mother. As his dad, I gave him the technical stuff and the hard neck to go out and do it," said Michael, who worked for Irish Rail before taking early retirement.

Next month's Oscars won't be the first time the couple have rubbed shoulders with some of Hollywood's biggest names.

"We met James Cameron and John Landu, the director and producer of 'Avatar' at the premier in London. They treated us like we were the celebrities and they were the ordinary people. That's how they feel about Richard's ma and da," said Michael.

Meanwhile, speaking after his BAFTA win, Richard said the team who made 'Avatar' had set out to make a movie which would bring people back to the cinema.

"Because people have these home-theatre systems, they end up going to the cinema less. We wanted to give them a reason to go back and see a film in a cinema. A totally new experience," he said.

The animator says fans of 'Avatar' can look forward to a new DVD of the film which will be released this year and which will feature scenes cut from the original film.

"There is a scene not in the movie, which I would claim as one of the best animated scenes of all time. Grown men, stunt men who worked on the film, actually cried on set. I think there's more there that will truly affect an audience on an emotional level," he added.

Irish Independent

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