The latest NFTS Bridge to Industry film made with Jigsaw is a stop-motion Christmas love story. This is the third year of the NFTS collaboration with Jigsaw, following the success of previous films including ‘New Wave’ which was nominated as Best Student Commercial at the British Arrow Awards and ‘Teach a Man to Fish’ which won a Gold Arrow for Best Student Commercial at the British Arrow Awards.

Jigsaw invited NFTS students and graduates to propose ideas for a Christmas film around the theme of togetherness and inclusivity, following Jigsaw’s ‘Heart Immigration’ campaign - which was praised by the Mayor of London for its message.

After a pitching day for shortlisted ideas with Jigsaw and their creative agency The Corner, it was decided to develop an idea by NFTS first year Directing Animation MA student, Nick Cinelli.

Nick says “I was enticed by the Jigsaw brief initially because of the fashion aspect.  I wanted to explore fashion on puppets essentially because miniature clothing is awesome, especially in regards to a stylish brand like Jigsaw. Beyond the clothing, constructing a Christmas advert, especially in a British context, was a very appealing challenge and seemingly rare opportunity.”

Peter Ruis, Jigsaw CEO, says “We’re delighted to be working with the creative talents from the NFTS again and very excited about our first venture into animated film!”         

‘Christmas Through the Years’ is a charming geeky-guy-meets-sweet-girl love story - told in paper, felt and miniature versions of real Jigsaw clothes.

“It’s a pretty classic growing-up-together love story, just in a Christmas setting.”  Nick explains, “they’re neighbours and they have this tendency to miss their chances to connect.  They grow to love each other over the years, and finally get their shot.” 

The technique is a mix of the stop-motion style of NFTS graduate Nick Park’s Wallace and Gromit, using clothed armature puppets rather than plasticine models, melded with 2D animation and digital effects composited in.

Nick worked with a team of fellow NFTS students to create the film, including cinematographer Molly Manning-Walker, 2D animator Renaldho Pelle, editor Sighvatur Kristinsson, sound designer Ioannis Spanos and composer Tom Fitzsimons.  Nick also recruited artist and designer Owen Gildersleeve to create the paper-crafted sets.

You can read Jigsaw’s interview with Nick about the project here