Stevenage animator’s five-minute movie is a success at top film festivals

A still from Alex Crowley's stop motion animation short film 'Villians'.

A still from Alex Crowley's stop motion animation short film 'Villians'. - Credit: Archant

When he was teenager Alex Crowley spent hours in his bedroom making stop motion films, twisting and moulding the plasticine in his fingers to create another world.

Alex Crowley with his movie poster

Alex Crowley with his movie poster - Credit: Archant

Now, 10 years later, he is showing his latest film in front of some of the world’s top directors.

The 22-year-old has shown his five-minute film Villains at film festivals across Europe and America and was selected from thousands of submissions to enter the Holland Animation Film Festival in Utrecht last month.

Over the last eight months he has also shown his film at festivals in Athens, Armenia and Florida.

He first showed Villains at Thurrock International Film Festival where it received first prize from Dean DeBlois, who co-directed How To Train Your Dragon.

Alex Crowley

Alex Crowley - Credit: Archant

Alex, who lives in Malvern Close, said: “I was genuinely thrilled, it was the first festival I entered and it was the longest film I have made so far.

“It is also the highest quality because I got to spend so much time on it. I was really pleased.”

Most Read

He crafted the film over eight months as part of his degree studies in animation at Middlesex University where he did everything from writing the script to building sets.

Villains is about a middle aged man who has become bored with life and spends his time watching films and looking for a fresh direction.

Along with two sidekicks he tries to become the world’s first super villain.

The stop motion process – famously used by Aardman Animation to produce Wallace and Gromit and Shaun The Sheep – requires painstaking commitment and patience.

Alex, a former Heathcote School student, said: “On a good day, a very good day, doing just dialogue and facial scenes, I could do maybe eight seconds.

“But on a bad day, you can spend all day on it and have to throw it away because it just doesn’t look right. It is heartbreaking, but you want to do the best you can.”

Alex is now working as a freelance animator and hopes to one day become a full-time stop motion animator. He said: “It takes a really long time to do, but seeing it put together for the first time was fantastic – it is what makes it all worthwhile.”

Villains was published online last week and you can watch it at

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter