Draw & Code are proud to play a part in tonight’s Paralympic Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony at Stoke Mandeville Stadium – the birthplace of the games. Our animators have collaborated with Rachel Gadsden to create a 12 minute film of the proud Paralympic history that will be seen by the thousands in attendance.
What we now know as the Paralympic Games began in the 1940s as an initiative to assist the large numbers of veterans and civilians injured in World War II. Instigated by Dr. Ludwig Guttman, the informal competitions at Stoke Mandeville hospital were already a small part of the Olympics by 1948 with the tournament we know today emerging in 1960.
The thinking behind the animation was to capture both this rich history and also the spirit of the games. Rachel Gadsden is the lead artist on the project; she is a renowned painter who captures movement beautifully – perfect for the all-action Paralympics.
Rachel has worked with animation before but for this project she wanted to push things further. Usually she takes one image and builds it up with quick, gestural movements, painting instinctively. For the purposes of the animation she had to stagger this approach and take snapshots of each stage of the process and sometimes multiple versions of the same scene. Think of the time-lapse animation of street artist Blu and you get the idea.
A soaring score by Dan Jones is the delicious icing on the cake as the animation plays an important role in the ceremony that is directed by Bradley Hemmings. The focus of the event is the lighting of the heritage flame that will ultimately connect with the flame in Rio at the Paralympics Opening Ceremony.
The animation witnesses the planting of the seed of the modern games, the Paralympic message spreading far and wide from its British roots. It is an honour to play even a small role in this Paralympics heritage event that you can see on Channel 4 at 7pm on Friday September 2nd. You can also catch Rachel Gadsden on BBC Radio 4 from 9am on Saturday September 3rd talking through the animation and the event.