Bob's a dentist turning forty, but his birthday provokes a mid-life crisis, much soul-searching and some amorous thoughts about his young receptionist at work. He returns home certain of the futility of his dental career and the emptiness of all his friendships, unaware that wife Margaret has organised a surprise party and that his friends are hidden behind the furniture in his sitting room listening to him rant and complain. The evening does not turn out quite as they expected. This 12 minute film won numerous awards including a 1994 Oscar for best short animation.

Bob's Birthday was a co-production of Channel 4 Television, The National Film Board of Canada and Snowden Fine Animation. This 12 minute film was made over a two and a half year period. The animation was done in London at Snowden Fine's studio on swinging Carnaby Street and the post production was done in the Montreal studios of the NFB. The technicque used was traditional cel animation. Hand done, like in the olden day! Every drawing done in pencil, then traced onto acetate, then painted and shot one frame at a time. A painstaking process which is thankfully behind us now that we have computers to help.

The voice of Bob is played by the TV writer and producer Andy Hamilton. Margaret was played by the co-creator, Alison Snowden. Both of them had minimal experience as professional actors and this resulted in a more naturalistic style. Other actors featured in the short include the rennowned British comedian Harry Enfield who played a number of characters.

Written and directed by
Alison Snowden and David Fine

Bob: Andy Hamilton
Margaret : Alison Snowden
Other voices : Harry Enfield, Tessa Wojiczak, Sally Grace, Andrew Maclachlan

Alison Snowden, David Fine, Janet Perlman, Neville Astley, Paul Stone

Producer for the NFB: David Verrall Exec Producer for the NFB: Barry Angus McLean

Commissioning Editor for Channel 4: Clare Kitson

A Snowden Fine Animation for Channel 4 Television Co-produced with
The National Film Board of Canada

"It's a wonderful film. Fresh, funny, perceptive and a better comment on mid-life crisis than I've seen in much more serious and pretentious films."

Leonard Maltin

"Turning 40 has never seemed more catastrophic or more hilarious. It's like Homer Simpson being surprised by Monty Python."

Jack Mathews, Newsday "

A hilarious squib of a film."

Alexendar Walker, London Evening Standard

" Bob's Birthday is sharp and funny about mid-life, social embarrassment, potted plants, dental floss and the difficulty of blowing up balloons for a party without getting a headache"

Adam Mars-Jones, The Independant (U.K.)

"...the real coup is to pack so much wit and wisdom into a 12 minute script"

Tristan Davies, The Daily Telegraph (U.K.)