Merseysider wins BAFTA for LEGO film

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LEGO bosses Hilary Plummer and Matthew Ashton collecting BAFTA award © Matthew Ashton

LEGO bosses Hilary Plummer and Matthew Ashton collecting BAFTA award © Matthew Ashton

Merseyside’s renowned toy designer, Matthew Ashton, was on hand to pick up a children’s BAFTA award for The LEGO Movie this week.

Wirral-born Ashton was executive producer for the hit movie which took home the best feature film award and told JMU Journalism of his pride and surprise at the recognition.

“It was amazing, and in all honesty it was a huge surprise,” he said. “There were some fantastic movies within the Kids Feature Film category. We are extremely proud of the movie, and winning a BAFTA was like the icing on the cake.

“It also acknowledges all the hundreds of people who poured the hearts and souls into making this movie everything it could be.”

The movie earned a staggering £299million at the international box office and beat tough competition for the award, particularly from Disney’s ‘Frozen’. Ashton, who now lives in Denmark, has worked at LEGO for 14 years and holds the lofty position of Vice President of Design at the famous toy manufacturer.

He added: “Obviously everyone wanted to make this movie as good as it possibly could be, which meant a huge amount of work was required from everyone involved, but seeing it all come together brick by brick on screen was so magical and rewarding.

“We are extremely happy that this movie has been embraced by ‘kids’ of all ages. It really seems to have pulled in all generations and anyone who has grown up with LEGO.”

Matthew Ashton Vice president of design at LEGO © Matthew Ashton

Matthew Ashton Vice president of design at LEGO © Matthew Ashton

Merseyside is renowned for producing a host of creative talent and Ashton was keen to point out the impact that has had on his career: “I think that is hugely important. There was never a point I was dissuaded from doing anything arty, and told to get a ‘proper job’!

“Both my parents and all the people who taught me along the way have all helped in guiding me to where I have ended up.

“Luckily I was surrounded by a lot of people who believed in me and always encouraged me to be creative, to do my best and follow my dreams.”

As for the future, the toy designer remained tight-lipped on potential developments but was keen to stress the work still being put in to upcoming projects:  “We have literally just started on a LEGO Batman Movie, and of course there will be a LEGO Movie 2 at some point in the not too distant future!”

About Michael Glynn, JMU Journalism