Pete Saunders (Mackinnon & Saunders)


Company Director/ character designer/ character creator/ model character construction/ puppet construction/

Bio Summary:
Born in UK 1956, Pete Saunders studied animation before developing his
puppet making skills on Jim Henson’s feature film *The Dark Crystal* in the
early 1980s. He later learned to adapt and miniaturise the animatronics
techniques used on that project, enabling him to create highly
sophisticated stop motion puppets at Cosgrove Hall Films, then one of Europe’s
largest animation companies. He was joined at the studio by Ian Mackinnon
and together they pioneered new techniques in the art of puppet making on
productions such as BAFTA-winner *The Reluctant Dragon* and Emmy
Award-winner *The Fool of the World*.

At the start of the 1990’s, Pete Saunders and Ian Mackinnon left Cosgrove
Hall and set up their business partnership. Over the last 20 years,
Mackinnon & Saunders have received commercial and critical acclaim for
their contributions to an impressive number of feature films, shorts films,
TV series and specials. In 2006, Ian and Peter were awarded a Special Jury
Prize for Technical Achievement at the 33rd Annual Annie Awards in
Hollywood, which honoured the ingeniously machined face controls designed
especially for Tim Burton’s *Corpse Bride*.

Early Life/Family:
Pete Saunders studied animation and got his BA degree in Animation from
West Surrey College of Art, Farnham. And then he got his puppet making
skills developed when he was working on Cosgrove Hall Films.

BA in Animation, West Surrey College of Art, Farnham

Career Outline:
He first worked at Cosgrove Hall Films in 1980 as a puppet construction
working for Cockleshell Bay, a TV Series. At 1990’s, Pte Saunder and Ian
Mackinnon started their business and now he is the company director of
Mackinnon and Saunders. By now, Pete Saunders has worked with Disney,
Warner Bros, Nickelodeon, HIT Enterainment, Factory Transmedia, Fox
Studios, BBC, Cosgrove Hall Films, Publicis New York, CITV, Classic Media
and LAika Studios.

Comments On Style:
In my opinion, Pete Saunders creates different styles of puppets, realist
or cartoony; even some kind combines Japanese toy style vinyl puppets
(Which found on Most of them are cartoon like style I
found on google image. And I think for sure his style in a way is
influenced by Jiri Trnka.

The greatest influence in his life was Jiri Trnka, who was also best known
for his work in animation with puppets. Trnka specialized in puppet
animation, a traditional Czech art form, of which he became the undisputed
master, called "the Walt Disney of Eastern Europe".

According to the video I found on named “A chat with Peter
Sauders” is about Pete Saunder was interviewed in a casual chat, Pete
Saunders seems to be a very kind and patience man. Also, Emma Wyre’s
interview on shows that Pete Saunder is nice and helpful.




Art Department;
Operavox (TV Series) (character creator - 1 episode, 1995) (character designer - 1 episode, 1995)- Rigoletto (1995)
Opéra imaginaire (TV Movie) (puppets - segment "Vesti la Giubba") 1993
Next (Short) (models - as Peter Quince) 1990
Deadsy (Short) (mr. G. Reaper's skeleton - as Pete Saunders)
The Wind in the Willows (TV Series) (model character construction - 18 episodes) 1984-1988
The Wind in the Willows (TV Movie) (model character construction) 1983
Cockleshell Bay (TV Series) (puppet construction) 1980

Special effects;
Frankenweenie (puppet design and development: Mackinnon and Saunders) 2012
Fantastic Mr. Fox (puppet crew: Mackinnon and Saunders) 2009
Corpse Bride (puppets: Mackinnon and Saunders) 2005
Mars Attacks! (design supervisor: Mackinnon & Saunders LTD.) 1996
The BFG (model fabrication) 1989
The Dark Crystal (creature fabricator: "Podling" unit) 1982

Toby's Travelling Circus (TV Series) (executive producer - 1 episode)- Toby Climbs Up (2013) ... (executive producer: Mackinnon & Saunders Ltd.) 2013
Postman Pat: Special Delivery Service (TV Series) (executive producer – 2 episodes) 2013
Raa Raa the Noisy Lion (TV Series) (executive producer) 2011
Frankenstein's Cat (TV Series) (executive producer) 2007

Miscellaneous Crew;
The Periwig-Maker (Short) (support: Mackinnon & Saunders) 2000
The Big Story (Short) (armatures) 1994

Hamilton Mattress (TV Short) (special thanks) 2002
Dog (Short) (special thanks) 2002

ITV Lunchtime News (TV Series) 2010
Inside the Two Worlds of 'The Corpse Bride' (Video documentary short) 2006
The Animators: The Breath of Life (Video documentary short) 2006
Making Puppets Tick (Video short) 2006
Tim Burton: Dark vs. Light (Video short) 2006

According to the paper “Ub Iwerks Award - Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride” Professor Larry Loc gave me in the first class and the feedback of Sara Mullock, there is a ASIFA Annie Award for Mackinnon and Saunders. Also, a list of a selection of some of Makcinnon and Saunders’ awards from the past few years is provided by Sara Mullock, which is also including the awards Mackinnon and Saunders was founded. (

Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie
*American Academy Awards nomination for Best Animated Feature 2013*
*British Academy BAFTA nomination for Best Animated Film 2013*
*Golden Globes nomination for Best Animated Film 2013*
*New York Film Critics Best Animated Film 2013*
*Los Angeles Film Critics Best Animated Award 2012*
*Boston Critics Best Animated Award 2012*
Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride
*Academy Award Oscar® nomination Best Animated Feature Film 2006*
*British Animation Awards Best Feature Film 2006*
*Venice Film Festival Future Film Digital Award 2005*
*Los Angeles ASIFA Annies: Ub Iwerks Award for Technical Achievement awarded to Mackinnon & Saunders for animated head mechanisms 2006*

Fantastic Mr Fox
*Academy Award Oscar® nomination Best Animated Feature Film 2010*
*Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Animation 2009*
*New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Animated Film 2009*
*Annecy Animation Festival Cristal Award for Best Feature Film 2009*

Frankenstein’s Cat
*Cartoons on the Bay Pulcinella Award Best Kids’ TV series 2008 awarded to Mackinnon & Saunders*
*Bradford Animation Festival Best TV series 2008 awarded to Mackinnon & Saunders*

The Sandman
*Academy Award Oscar® nomination Best Short Animated Film 1993*
*Hiroshima Animation Festival Grand Prix 1992*
*Annecy Animation Festival Best Short Film 1993*
*Stuttgart Animation Festival Best Short Film 1993*
*Ottawa Animation Festival Best Animated Film 1994*
*Espinho Animation Festival Best Animated Film 1994*
Bob the Builder
*BAFTA Best Animation 2003*
The Periwig Maker
*Academy Award Oscar® nomination Best Short Animated Film 2001*
*BAFTA nomination Best Animated Short Film 2000*
*Ottawa Animation Festival Best First Professional Film 2000*
*Seattle International Film Festival Short Film Award 2000*
*Zagreb World Festival of Animated Films Best First Film 2000*
The Big Story
*BAFTA Best Short Animated Film 1995*
*Melbourne International Film Festival Best Short Animation 1995*
*Academy Award Oscar® nomination Best Short Animated Film 1995*
*Palm Springs International ShortFest Jury Award 1995*
Chicken Run
*British Animation Awards Best European Feature Film 2002*
*Evening Standard British Film Awards Peter Sellers Award for Comedy 2001*
*BAFTA nomination Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film 2001*
*Golden Globe Awards nomination Best Comedy/Musical*
Puffs Tissues “Rhonda” and “Rudy”
*Mobius Awards Gold & Silver 2000 awarded to Mackinnon & Saunders*

*Leipzig Golden Dove Award 1995*
*Animexpo Korea Special Jury Prize 1997*
*Barcelona Film Festival Audience Prize 1996*
*Hiroshima Animation Festival Special Jury Prize 1996*
*Bilbao Silver Medal for Animation 1995*
*BAFTA nomination Best Short Animated Film 1996*

*Treviso Mr Linea Prize for Technical Achievement 1994*
*Ottawa Animation Festival Special Prize 1994*
*Cinanima Honourable Mention 1994*
*Chicago International Film Festival Silver Plaque 1994*
*Shanghai Grand Prix 1992*
*British Short Film Festival Best Animation 1993*
*Chicago Film Festival Gold Plaque 1993*
*Hiroshima Animation Festival Best 5 – 15 minutes Film1994*
*Academy Award Oscar® nomination Best Short Animated Film 1993*
*Oberhausen Film Festival Best Animated Film 1993*
*Annecy Animation Festival Special Distinction for Artistic Merit 1993*
*Hiroshima Animation Festival Best Debut Film 1990*
*Espinho Best 5 - 15 minutes Film 1990*
*British Animation Awards Best Technical Achievement 1990*
Gilbert & Sullivan – the very models
*Carolina Film Festival Best Animation 1999*
*Academy Award Oscar® shortlisted for nomination Best Short Animated Film1999*
*Krok Animation Festival Best 15 – 30 minutes film 1999*
*Ottawa Animation Festival Best Object Animation 1999*

Hamilton Mattress
*Annecy Animation Festival Grand Prix 2002*
*British Animation Awards Best TV Special 2002*
*Chicago International Children’s Film Festival Children’s Jury Award 2002*
*Florida Film Festival Audience Award Best International Short Film 2002*

Mackinnon & Saunders was founded after Ian Mackinnon and Peter Saunders had established their puppet making team at Cosgrove Hall in Manchester. Productions worked on there included:
The Pied Piper of Hamelin
*BAFTA 1982*
The Wind in the Willows
*BAFTA 1983*
*International Emmy Award 1983*

The Reluctant Dragon *BAFTA 1987*
The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship
*International Emmy Award Best Children’s Program 1991*
*Chicago International Children’s Festival First Prize 1991*

Related Links:;;
Bibliographic References:
Contributors To This Listing:
Sara Mullock
Leung, Yung Ping

Animators Hall of Fame