Fonic offers sound support for the Phil Davies Award

Fonic, the renowned sound design studio behind the global phenomenon Peppa Pig, proudly announces its collaboration with Middlesex University’s final year animation students through the Phil Davies Award. Named after the award-winning producer, one of the visionaries behind Peppa Pig, the award aims to provide professional support for aspiring animators in their final year films.

Phil Davies, having met Peppa’s animators Neville Astley and Mark Baker at Middlesex University, finds it fitting that the institution benefits from an award in his name. Jonathan Hodgson, joint programme leader at Middlesex notes, “Over the years Phil has been really supportive to the animation course, regularly attending our degree shows and screenings”. When he approached the university offering financial support to help students cover additional production costs they “jumped at the offer”.

Believing the maxim that “sound is 50% of the movie going experience” both felt the first year of the award should focus on improving the sound design of five graduation films.

Fonic having worked with both Phil and Jonathan on a number of projects were more than happy to help by extending their expertise to these young award winners. Which also included access to their Foley studio, voice booths, and cutting-edge mixing suites. The students, both bowled over and excited, experienced firsthand how Fonic’s sound engineers brought their films to life.

Anna Marie Leventi one of the five students to benefit from the award states “With the Phil Davies award not only was I able to lift the film to a new, professional tier so far untouched by my films but to also get a chance to direct professionals, sound artists and have my film’s sound processed, designed and delivered using industry standard equipment and practices. Besides the initial excitement, I realised the award was my first step away from student work and into the entertainment industry as an actual professional.”

From Fonic’s perspective Barnaby Templer explains “I have had the pleasure of working with Phil and Jonathan for nearly twenty years. It was a privilege for Fonic to be invited by them both to contribute our knowledge and experience by assisting the films selected for the Award. Opening the Directors ears & awareness of how the world of sound can dictate tone, mood, timing, perspective, subjectivity alongside key structural narrative storytelling, we hope has been revealing. They all mentioned that they intend to include sound intentions at early script stage for their next films which is very rewarding for us to hear!”

Indeed, while innovation in sound technology progresses at its current rate it is vital for filmmakers to stay abreast of the new capabilities. The opportunity to experience sound production at Fonic certainly helped all the young directors involved.

Jonathan adds” I have always been blown away by the incredible attention to detail that Fonic’s team have devoted to my film projects. The same can be said for the five student projects that Fonic worked on in 2023 and the team gave the films no less care and attention than they would to a commercial project. Fonic have made a massive commitment and clearly put a lot of their own time and resources into making soundtracks as good as possible, including re-recording dialogue and sound effects and hiring a music composer and a foley artist. I was very moved by the results, which are stunning, the way Fonic have transformed the film soundtracks is truly remarkable. I am so grateful to Phil and Fonic for what they have made possible for our students.”

As these students prepare to enter the job market in the coming months, the collaboration between Fonic and Middlesex University through the Phil Davies award serves as a testament to the commitment Fonic has to nurturing and empowering the next generation of creative minds.

All five finished films will be premiered at the Close Up Cinema in London on the 13th December when the 2024 award winners will also be announced.

The five recipients of the 2023 Phil Davies award are:-

Georgie Carpenter, Zalika English, Gisella Heron, Anne Marie Leventi and Marta Pravisano.