Ian Emes

Ian Emes

director, animation department, production designer

Ian Emes was born on Aug 17, 1949 in UK. Ian Emes's big-screen debut came with Les trois mousquetaires directed by John Halas in 1974. Ian Emes is known for Deadly Summer directed by Ian Emes, Pauline Quirke stars as Linda Topping and Francesca Annis as Celia Harcourt. Ian Emes has got 3 awards and 8 nominations so far. The most recent award Ian Emes achieved is BAFTA Awards. The upcoming new movie Ian Emes plays is Deadly Summer which will be released on Jan 25, 2000.

Ian Emes is a British film director, animator, artist, writer and pioneer of experimental film techniques, famous for his work with Pink Floyd. His career spans animation and live-action, drawing being at the core of his practice. He has won numerous awards including three BAFTAS and an Oscar Nomination.Emes was born in Handsworth, Birmingham in 1949. His father Ronald Walter Emes MBE was a Navy gunner, Head of the West Midlands Police Federation and Manager of the British Olympic Canoe Team. Emes' daughter Olivia is a film director.Emes cites his first visual influences to be glorious colour comics of the 50's such as 'The Eagle' and 'Boys World', and 'Flash Gordon' films shown at 'Saturday Morning Minors' at Odeon cinemas.Education: West of England College of Art 1967. Arriving in Bristol aged 18, Emes was exposed to the LSD culture of the time and deeply influenced by psychedelic imagery and music, namely Jimmi Hendrix and Pink Floyd.Birmingham College of Art 1968 - 1969. (First Class Honours Degree in Painting and Sculpture). Citing to have had 'fifteen years of amazing, free education under practicing artists' - attributable to Harold Wilson's Labour government' - Emes worked across the mediums of drawing, painting, sculpture, kinetic art, light shows, photography and film. He also studied art history, specialising in Surrealism and the Dadaist movement. He supplemented his living costs by painting murals in night clubs and performing 'liquid light shows'.Experimental Workshop 1970 - 1971. Emes was given free reign, making 8mm films with hand-built sets and models ('Corridors', 'The Death of Mr Blitz') under the tutorage of artist Roger Westwood. Emes would screen his films accompanied by Pink Floyd music, in particular 'Ummagumma'.Birmingham Polytechnic 1972 - 1973. (First Class Honours Degree in Graphic Design). Rejected by the Royal College of Art School of Film and Television on the basis that his films were 'too much like sculpture', Emes was offered a place at the new animation department which was well-equipped but to which no teaching staff been assigned. Emes had no interest in animation until seeing two films - the rotoscoped 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' sequence in 'Yellow Submarine' and the Slit-Scan sequence in '2001 a Space Odyssey'. Realising that he could short-cut the labour-intensive process of animation by rotoscoping live-action, Emes made his first animation experiments.Emes envisioned his first musical animation one night at a party: 'There was so much dope smoke in the room I was passive-stoned just standing there. Someone put on 'One of These Days' from Pink Floyd's 'Meddle' album and I pictured the whole thing, right in front of me. I rushed home to draw the storyboard'. Emes spent the next 6 months hand-drawing and shooting the film, titled 'French Windows'. Learning the principles of animation through trial and error, Emes first filmed then rotoscoped figures set against cyclic perspective backgrounds, synchronised to 'One of These Days'.In 1972 the film was screened on BBC'S 'The Old Grey Whistle Test', and seen by Rick Wright, who brought it to the attention of the other members of the band. The following day Emes 'got the call' from Pink Floyd's manager, Steve O'Rourke.'French Windows' is the first animated film to be set to Pink Floyd music, and the first film to be synchronised precisely to one of their tracks. Working with Emes marked a departure for Pink Floyd, who previously had only used lighting effects during their performances. Upon meeting Emes, the band saw the next step towards expanding their concert experience, by projecting synchronised 35MM film onto a gigantic circular screen (dubbed Mr. Screen) as they performed. The band commissioned Emes to produce a sequence of flying clocks for the track 'Time' from 'The Dark Side of the Moon'. Renting a small studio in London's Soho, Emes animated the now world-famous 'Time' sequence, subsequently named 'The Emes Clocks'.Following the enthusiastic reception to 'Time' during Floyd's performance at Wembley Arena in 1974, the band commissioned Emes to animate the entire album. While they were in Italy filming 'Live at Pompeii', Emes set about creating his animated vision of 'The Dark Side of the Moon'. He created storyboards for the entire album but in the three month period he was given to produce the film he was only able to deliver sequences for 'Speak To Me', (which included animation of the iconic prism) 'On the Run' and 'Us and Them'.'The Dark 'Side of the Moon' is regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time. The 'Emes Clocks' sequence has been seen by millions across the world. In 2017 Roger Waters projected the re-digitised 'Time' animation onto vast screens during his 'Us and Them' World Tour. The concept of time is a recurring theme in Emes' work.Emes produced tests for 'Marching Crosses' which were later adapted for 'The Wall'. Emes' animation became a founding style for future Pink Floyd visuals, evident in Roger Waters' concert projections.In July 1990 Emes directed sequences for Roger Waters' 'The Wall - Live in Berlin', starring Marianne Faithfull, Ute Lemper and Rupert Everett. 'An army of roadies hoisted a 35MM projector onto a truck and we drove into an abandoned East Berlin where we projected the Marching Hammers onto the remains of the Berlin Wall, while escorted by East German Police'. The concert was performed to a sell-out crowd of over 350,000 people, then the biggest rock concert audience in history.In 2018 Emes' work was celebrated in the record-breaking 'Pink Floyd - Their Mortal Remains' exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The exhibition continues to tour the world. Emes' 54 minute visualisation of Pink Floyd's ultimate album 'The Endless River' is set for release on December 13th 2019. Following the success of 'The Dark Side of the Moon' animations, Emes was invited to work with numerous other musicians, notable amongst them Paul and Linda McCartney, The Who, The Mission, Duran Duran and Mike Oldfield, with whom he became friends.'Tubular Bells' and 'Incantations' for Mike Oldfield - 1974. Having seen 'The Dark Side of the Moon' concert, the introverted genius called Emes and asked him to visit him at his isolated mansion in Gloucestershire to discuss animation for his concerts. Emes created a series of 'perpetual cycles' inspired by the works of one of his favourite artists M.C. Escher.'The Oriental Nightfish' - 1978 for Paul and Linda McCartney. (Palme d'Or Nomination Cannes Film Festival 1978). A precursor of digital animation, it was Emes' most technically advanced animation. The film was included in the release of 'Rupert and the Frog Song' but later removed on the basis that it was too frightening for children. Martin Rosen asked Emes to animate the 'Bright Eyes' sequence on the 'Watership Down' animated feature but he was too busy completing 'The Oriental Nightfish' to accept.The same year Emes travelled to Paris to meet with Jean-Michel Jarre and his wife Charlotte Rampling to discuss an animated version of 'Oxygene', which Emes had storyboarded. 'The Beard' 1979 - Tired of the labour-intensive, airbrushed techniques of the 'Oriental Nightfish' Emes opted for a simpler approach - BFI: 'Best known for his clean-lined visuals Emes uses an appropriately scratchier look in this bizarre short. Produced directly on paper with ink-pen over many months, as the film progresses in ever wilder fashion it seems the protagonist's relationship with the beard may not be dissimilar to that of the artist and his film'. (Nomination Berlin Film Festival).In 1979, while working on 'The Beard', Emes, Mike Oldfield and Richard Branson visited the set of Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining' at Elstree Studies. Unable to gain access, they sneaked behind the set and watched Jack Nicholson performing the ball-throwing scene in the Overlook Hotel lobby. Shortly afterwards, Emes delivered his film 'The Beard' to Kubrick's home, in the hope that he would screen it with 'The Shining'. Emes heard nothing from Kubrick, but noted a similarity between Nicholson's axe sequence and the axe sequence in his own animated short. In 1980 Campaign Magazine cited Emes to be 'Britain's foremost animator'. The same year his achievements were celebrated in a Retrospective at the National Film Theatre. By the early eighties Emes' Camden studio had become world famous for its ground-breaking visuals.That year Emes advised Gerald Scarfe and Roger Waters on the production of animation for 'The Wall'. Several members of Emes' animation team worked on the production, and some of Emes' signature style images evolved into the film such as the 'Falling Man' and the 'Marching Hammers'.In 1981 Emes was asked to animate a sequence for the 'Heavy Metal' feature film and had to decline due to his numerous projects in production, including a test sequence for an animated horror film 'Hyde' using back-painted Kodalith sheets as used in Steve Lisberger's 'Tron'. 'The Chauffeur' - 1982 for Duran Duran. Russell Mulcahy introduced Emes to the band who asked him to produce an 'erotic animation' for their 'Girls on Film' compilation. It was shot on 35MM black and white Ilford film by the esteemed DOP Gilbert Taylor B.S.C. the footage primarily intended for rotoscoping into animation. Taylor's photography was so beautiful that the band decided to abandon the animation and keep it as live-action. The final sequence features Peri Lister, then partner of Billy Idol. 'The Chauffeur' is considered to be one of the greatest music videos of all time.The move into Live Action: In the following years Emes divided his time between art (installation - exhibiting), writing, commercials and film-making. Film highlights: 1982 - 'The Magic Shop' based on the short story by H.G. Wells. Starring Karl Johnson and Ron Cook.'Goodie-Two-Shoes' - 1983 a ballroom dancing comedy produced by Jeff Katzenberg then of Paramount Pictures. (Oscar Nomination, British Academy Award). 1986 'The Box of Delights' animated sequences for the BBC. 1987 Emes wrote and directed his feature debut 'Knights & Emeralds', an interracial romantic comedy set in the world of marching brass bands, produced by Sir David Puttnam for Warner Brothers and Goldcrest Films.The cult film 'The Yob' - 1988 'a defining film of the eighties' - for The Comic Strip and Channel 4, starring Keith Allen, Adrian Edmonson, Lia Williams and Peter Wyngarde with appearances by Derek Jarman and the infant Lily Allen. 'How to Be Cool' - 1988 starring Roger Daltrey, adapted by Emes from the book by Phillip Pullman. 'Streetwise' - 1989 starring Andy Serkis. 1990 'The Wall - Live in Berlin'.1992 - 1998 in-house director in Ridley Scott's London-based commercials production company Ridley Scott Associates (winning numerous awards). 'The Munsters' Scary Little Christmas' - 1997 produced by John Landis for Universal, starring Sam McMurray, Ann Magnuson, Sandy Baron, Mary Woronov. 'Deadly Summer' - 1998 for Channel 5, staring Pauline Quirke and Francesca Annis.'The Invisible Man' for Universal Studios - 2000. 'Sir Gadabout the Worst Knight in the Land' - 2002 - 2004. 'Bookaboo' (2 British Academy Awards) - 2009 - 2010. 'Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds' - 2013. Pink Floyd's 'Nothing Part 14' - 2016.Pink Floyd's 'The Endless River' - 2017. 'Queens of Mystery - Murder in the Dark' and 'Smoke and Mirrors' - 2019 (Emmy Award Nomination).

  • Birthday

    Aug 17, 1949
  • Place of Birth

    Birmingham, England, UK
  • Also known


Known For


3 wins & 8 nominations

BAFTA Awards
Pre-School Live Action
Winner - BAFTA Children's Award
Best Pre-School Live Action
Winner - BAFTA Children's Award
Best Short Film
Winner - BAFTA Film Award
Goodie-Two-Shoes (1984)