The Team

Meet the Team

Locksmith’s Founders and co-CEOs Sarah Smith and Julie Lockhart work with the Company’s key partners, co-founder Elisabeth Murdoch and pipeline partners Double Negative.

Locksmith’s team of Creative Talent are variously project–based, in-house or part of the Company’s extended family of ‘Creative Board’ members, who work alongside Locksmith’s in-house Production and Management team.

Sarah Smith

co-CEO

Before moving into animation Sarah was a Director, Writer and Producer with a critically acclaimed career in British television comedy. Working with talent such as Armando Iannucci, The League of Gentlemen in the UK and Jon Stewart and Michael Moore in the US, she won every industry accolade including BAFTA, RTS and British Comedy Awards and the Rose D’Or. In 2006 she was recruited by Aardman Animations to build a new slate of projects at the end of their Dreamworks pact. In nine months she developed a package of projects that earned the company a 3-year studio deal with Sony Pictures. She took two films to Greenlight in 18 months, before making her animation debut as Director and Co-Writer of the 3D CG feature Arthur Christmas. The BAFTA, Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice nominated picture was the highest performing animated film at the UK Box Office and was named the best reviewed film worldwide in 2011.

Julie Lockhart

co-CEO

Julie Lockhart is one of the UK’s most experienced animation producers. Her work has received three Academy Award© nominations including Best Animated Film in 2015 for the animated feature Shaun The Sheep Movie. At Aardman she took leadership roles in every area of the business, and has been the Producer of many acclaimed animated shorts, commercials and ground-breaking television series, including the Rose D’Or winning Creature Comforts and the Emmy and BAFTA award winning Shaun the Sheep Series. Stepping into features she developed and produced the Academy Award®-nominated feature film The Pirates! A Band of Misfits (UK title ‘In an Adventure with Scientists’) for Sony Pictures and Shaun the Sheep Movie for Studio Canal/Lionsgate.

Lara Breay

Producer

Lara was a producer at DreamWorks Animation, where her credits include Megamind and Penguins of Madagascar. Before DreamWorks, Breay was VP of Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Films. Her projects included: Tropic Thunder, Blades of Glory, Dodgeball. Breay previously worked for Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella’s Mirage Enterprises and began her career as a director, writer and producer at the BBC in London.

Peter Baynham

Writer

Peter’s screenplay for CG animation Hotel Translyvania claimed the record for the highest all-time September opening of any movie in the US. Multi-award-winning British comedy writer of UK TV classics; I’m Alan Partridge, The Day Today, Brass Eye and Big Train. Peter’s film debut was the Academy Award nominated screenplay for blockbuster Borat.

Team Member

Position

Before moving into animation Sarah was a Director, Writer and Producer with a critically acclaimed career in British television comedy. Working with talent such as Armando Iannucci and The League of Gentlemen in the UK and Jon Stewart and Michael Moore in the US, she won every industry accolade including BAFTA, RTS and British Comedy Awards, and the Rose D’Or.

Alessandro Carloni

Director

A veteran story lead, Alessandro most recently co-directed Kung Fu Panda 3, which grossed +£500 WW. Prior to this role, Alessandro was Head of Story on the How To Train Your Dragon blockbuster, having previously boarded on numerous Dreamworks features.

JP Vine

Director

With a foundation as a theatre designer, JP started at Aardman in 2005, where he became a director on Emmy and BAFTA award-winning series Shaun The Sheep and story lead on Oscar nominated feature, Pirates: Band Of Misfits. After Aardman, JP went on to Pixar where his storyboarding work was featured in the critically acclaimed Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur.

James Bobin

Creative Board member. Having achieved enormous success directing Emmy nominated TV comedy with Ali G and Flight Of The Conchords, James’ feature directorial debut, Oscar-winning musical comedy The Muppets, was a hit for Disney. James followed this film up with the sequel (Muppets Most Wanted) and last year’s Alice 2.

Team Member

Position

Before moving into animation Sarah was a Director, Writer and Producer with a critically acclaimed career in British television comedy. Working with talent such as Armando Iannucci and The League of Gentlemen in the UK and Jon Stewart and Michael Moore in the US, she won every industry accolade including BAFTA, RTS and British Comedy Awards, and the Rose D’Or.

Aurélien Predal

Art Director
Aurélien is a world class Art Director and Visual Development artist who draws on a wealth of experience at the studio level along with exceptional natural talent. He has worked on a diverse range of projects from the hit Penguins of Madagascar to the critically acclaimed The Little Prince. He was Art Director and Production Designer on Mune: Guardian of the Moon. Most recently, he has worked on the enormously successful Sing for Illumination, which has grossed over $600m worldwide and is still going strong, and on Aardman’s eagerly anticipated Early Man.

David Peers

Cinematographer

David is a filmmaker and cinematographer who specialises in digital production. His work includes Happy Feet and Happy Feet 2, on which he was co-director and digital cinematographer. A principal in the creation of Dr D Studios, he oversaw sequence design for films such as Mad Max: Fury Road and Justice League.

Till Nowak

Creative Board member. A highly accomplished artist, designer and film-maker, his three short films, animated Delivery and Dissonance, and CG FX-based The Centrifuge Brain Project, have between them won over 80 International Festival Awards. Dissonance won the 2015 Jury Award at the Academy Award qualifying Aspen Festival, as well as Grand Prix (Academy Award qualifying) Anima Mundi, Sao Paolo, Brazil , 2015

Andy Riley

Creative Board member. Andy Riley is an Emmy-winning scriptwriter, cartoonist and children’s author. His comedy scriptwriting is done in partnership with Kevin Cecil. They won Emmys in 2015 for their work on the acclaimed HBO series Veep. They have won two BAFTAS, for the sitcom Black Books in 2005 and the animated special Robbie The Reindeer in 2000. Their film credits include Gnomeo and Juliet (released 2011) and The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (released 2012). Most recently they have been involved in the development of the sequel to Gnomeo and Juliet: Sherlock Gnomes.

Team Member

Position

Before moving into animation Sarah was a Director, Writer and Producer with a critically acclaimed career in British television comedy. Working with talent such as Armando Iannucci and The League of Gentlemen in the UK and Jon Stewart and Michael Moore in the US, she won every industry accolade including BAFTA, RTS and British Comedy Awards, and the Rose D’Or.

Kevin Cecil

Creative Board member. Kevin Cecil is an Emmy-winning British screenwriter. Writing alongside Andy Riley he has won two BAFTA awards for Robbie the Reindeer in 2000 and Black Books in 2005. They won Emmys in 2015 for their work on the acclaimed HBO series Veep. Their film credits include Gnomeo and Juliet (released 2011) and The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (released 2012). Most recently they have been involved in the development of the sequel to Gnomeo and Juliet: Sherlock Gnomes.  

Swampy

Creative Board member. As creator of Disney’s Phineas and Ferb, multiple Emmy Award nominee Swampy Marsh is a leading creative force in the TV animation industry. He is also known for his work on renowned television series The Simpsons and King Of The Hill. His highly anticipated new show, Milo Murphy’s Law, debuted on Disney XD this year.

Louis Clichy

Creative Board member. Spotted by Pixar for his short A Quoi Ça Sert L’Amour, Louis honed his skills as an animator on the Academy Award winning features Ratatouille, Wall-E and Up. Louis went on to co-direct Asterix: The Land Of The Gods; the critically lauded film was released in France in November 2014 and debuted at #1 at the box office, with a total box office to date in France of $22M.

Team Member

Position

Before moving into animation Sarah was a Director, Writer and Producer with a critically acclaimed career in British television comedy. Working with talent such as Armando Iannucci and The League of Gentlemen in the UK and Jon Stewart and Michael Moore in the US, she won every industry accolade including BAFTA, RTS and British Comedy Awards, and the Rose D’Or.

Britt Gardiner

CFO

accounts@locksmithanimation.com

Anna Lord

Artist Manager
anna@locksmithanimation.com

Nick Inglis

Development Researcher
nick@locksmithanimation.com

DDA

PR
locksmith@ddapr.com

Team Member

Position

Before moving into animation Sarah was a Director, Writer and Producer with a critically acclaimed career in British television comedy. Working with talent such as Armando Iannucci and The League of Gentlemen in the UK and Jon Stewart and Michael Moore in the US, she won every industry accolade including BAFTA, RTS and British Comedy Awards, and the Rose D’Or.

Sarah Smith

co-CEO

Before moving into animation Sarah was a Director, Writer and Producer with a critically acclaimed career in British television comedy. Working with talent such as Armando Iannucci, The League of Gentlemen in the UK and Jon Stewart and Michael Moore in the US, she won every industry accolade including BAFTA, RTS and British Comedy Awards and the Rose D’Or. In 2006 she was recruited by Aardman Animations to build a new slate of projects at the end of their Dreamworks pact. In nine months she developed a package of projects that earned the company a 3-year studio deal with Sony Pictures. She took two films to Greenlight in 18 months, before making her animation debut as Director and Co-Writer of the 3D CG feature Arthur Christmas. The BAFTA, Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice nominated picture was the highest performing animated film at the UK Box Office and was named the best reviewed film worldwide in 2011.

Julie Lockhart

co-CEO

Julie Lockhart is one of the UK’s most experienced animation producers. Her work has received three Academy Award© nominations including Best Animated Film in 2015 for the animated feature Shaun The Sheep Movie. At Aardman she took leadership roles in every area of the business, and has been the Producer of many acclaimed animated shorts, commercials and ground-breaking television series, including the Rose D’Or winning Creature Comforts and the Emmy and BAFTA award winning Shaun the Sheep Series. Stepping into features she developed and produced the Academy Award®-nominated feature film The Pirates! A Band of Misfits (UK title ‘In an Adventure with Scientists’) for Sony Pictures and Shaun the Sheep Movie for Studio Canal/Lionsgate.

Elisabeth Murdoch

Elisabeth Murdoch is the Founder and Chair of Freelands Group, comprising Freelands Ventures, a media and technology investment fund and Freelands Foundation, which supports visual arts and cultural programmes. Elisabeth is also Independent Non- Executive Director of Jimmy Choo Plc. Elisabeth was the founder and former Chair of Shine Group, which grew to become one of the leading content production companies internationally over her 14 year tenure. Prior to founding Shine, Elisabeth was the Managing Director of Sky Networks, the programming and marketing division of BSKYB plc. Elisabeth began her career in television at the Nine Network in Australia, later joining Fox Television in Los Angeles as Programme and Promotion Manager for seven stations and then went to the FX Cable Network as Director of Acquisitions. In 1995, Elisabeth started her own company, EP Communications, managing two dominant NBC affiliate stations which won one national and five Californian Emmy Awards as well as the 1995 Peabody Award for Broadcast Excellence. Elisabeth was a Tate Trustee from 2008 to 2016, and Chairman of the Tate Modern Advisory Council from 2009 to 2016.

Team Member

Position

Before moving into animation Sarah was a Director, Writer and Producer with a critically acclaimed career in British television comedy. Working with talent such as Armando Iannucci and The League of Gentlemen in the UK and Jon Stewart and Michael Moore in the US, she won every industry accolade including BAFTA, RTS and British Comedy Awards, and the Rose D’Or.

Double Negative

Winner of the 2015 and 2016 Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects, Double Negative (Dneg) is a gold-standard supplier of CG Visual FX, and one of the industry’s success stories. Founded in London in 1998, it is Europe’s largest player with over 2,500 staff in state-of-the-art facilities in London, Mumbai and Vancouver.

Dneg is currently working on a range of films including The Mummy, Justice League, Blade Runner 2049, Pacific Rim: Uprising, Avengers: Infinity War, and Annihilation.

The Company’s many awards include Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects for Inception, Interstellar and Ex Machina,

Double Negative is one of the world’s leading Visual FX houses. The company has an outstanding reputation with artists, making it an excellent place to attract animation talent. Locksmith and Dneg’s strongly aligned objectives in the area of feature animation led to the forging of a unique partnership. Dneg are a shareholder in Locksmith, ensuring their interests are aligned.

In 2014 Dneg launched a brand new Feature Animation division to go with its investment in Locksmith. The new division is led by ex-Dreamworks Associate Producer Tom Jacomb.

Team Member

Position

Before moving into animation Sarah was a Director, Writer and Producer with a critically acclaimed career in British television comedy. Working with talent such as Armando Iannucci and The League of Gentlemen in the UK and Jon Stewart and Michael Moore in the US, she won every industry accolade including BAFTA, RTS and British Comedy Awards, and the Rose D’Or.