Sheffield, U.K.-based animation studio Red Star, which is producing animation for the upcoming Terry Pratchett adaptation The Amazing Maurice (pictured at top), has lost co-founder Jan Rogowski after he passed away suddenly on April 6. He was 41 years old.
Rogowski’s untimely death leaves an impossible to fill hole at Red Star. For the time being, the company has temporarily named cg supervisor Haris Ahmed as head of production, with Ben Smith assuming the role of company director.
Rogowski was with Red Star from the beginning, co-founding the company with Ben Smith in 2004. The pair regularly produced animated content for visitor attractions such as theme parks and museums, with several of the label’s 4d titles playing in hundreds of venues around the world, including The Lost World and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. In 2019, Rogowski and Red Star co-produced their first animated feature Stardog and Turbocat.
“Twenty years ago, I hired Jan straight from university, beginning a partnership and friendship that has defined both our lives,” said Ben Smith, Red Star’s co-founder. “He leaves a massive gap in our lives, but the notes of condolence, and the offers of support that have flooded in are overwhelming testament to the respect and admiration he was held in by everyone who worked with him.”
He added: “Jan worked his whole career to build Red Star into a feature animation studio capable of delivering first-class film projects and the best tribute we can pay is to continue his hard work into the future.”
After seeing Rogowski’s work on Stardog and Turbocat, The Amazing Maurice producer Andrew Baker knew he’d found the studio he wanted to back his next project.
“I’d known Jan for many years, so when we were looking for a U.K. studio it felt like Red Star were the perfect choice,” said Baker. “We knew Jan would make sure the studio delivered a fantastic film, but he showed us time and again that his passion and technical knowledge were unsurpassed. Jan’s unflagging dedication and enthusiasm where a huge part of what has made this film very special, and he was rightly proud of the final result.”
The Amazing Maurice will be released on Sky Cinema later this year. The film will be dedicated to Rogowski’s memory.