Ruairi Robinson

Ruairi Robinson came to our attention recently thanks to an ad campaign for the Singapore Institute of Management (CR April) in which he animated the pixellated charms of eBoy

This, however turns out to have been a minor piece when compared to his earlier work, which has already caught the attention of Hollywood.

Robinson’s 2002 blackly comic short film Fifty Percent Grey won an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short Film alongside making the official selection at the Sundance Film Festival and appearing at over 60 short film festivals worldwide.

Despite its success, Fifty Percent Grey locked Robinson into being seen purely as an animator and it is only recently that he has begun getting recognition for his live action work, most notably his epic short The Silent City (stills shown above), which stars 28 Days Later actor Cillian Murphy. Five years on from his Oscar nomination, feature film doors have finally started to open.

“I’ve been signed up with agents at CAA, the talent agency, and a manager at 3 Arts Entertainment and ICM in London,” he says. “All since I posted my short film on the web. So any scepticism I’ve ever had about the power of the web to reach people has melted away! I’ve been sent a whole load of feature scripts, and I spent a week recently in LA meeting producers and execs from all the studios – including the likes of JJ Abrams and Jerry Bruckheimer. So that was pretty cool too.”

Along the way Robinson has continued to create some pretty fine ads too, including the hilarious six-film campaign for the Canadian Milk Board through DDB Canada. One of these, T-Rex, won the director six Shark Awards in 2005 (including Best Director, Best New Director and Best Animation) and was also short-listed in Cannes the same year.

But for now, his sights are set on features, with an intriguing film in the offing. “I’m in talks with Warner Bros at the moment to direct my first live action feature,” he says. “It’s an amazing project, and I don’t say that lightly. I can’t say more than that since there’s rights negotiations etc.

“It’s been a long, painful road gettting out of the position of being seen as the ‘animation guy’. For me, doing animation was only ever a means to an end, a way of telling stories using the tools I had available. Hopefully I can transition seamlessly between doing live action and/or animation now without being labelled as one thing only, because it’s all storytelling in the end.”

The Silent City can be viewed online at


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