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Page last updated at 13:39 GMT, Tuesday, 22 February 2011
Lee gets animated with clay
Lee Hardcastle's version of The Exorcist
Lee's version of The Exorcist - don't have nightmares!

It's a form of filmmaking nearly as old as cinema itself, and one local man is hoping it could be the start of a successful career.

Clay animation is a laborious and time-intensive filming process but Lee Hardcastle doesn't mind - he's hoping it's the key to his future success.

He's entered his re-imaginings of famous films for Empire Magazine's Done In 60 Seconds award.

The competition requires filmmakers to provide a fresh look at an old classic.

26 year old Lee, originally from Lofthouse, studied at the Northern Film School at Leeds Metropolitan University and by his own admittance wasn't the most sociable type, finding that he preferred working alone.

Lee Hardcastle at work
Lee hard at work on another clay animation masterpiece

Without having to rely on others, Lee was able to dedicate hour after hour to making his clay creations. The process can really takes its toll and needs lots of concentration and single-mindedness to come up with a finished piece of film.

"Sometimes you can be hard at it all day just to produce four seconds of film. I suppose some people would get frustrated at such a slow pace but I guess when you're dedicated to your work, it's easier."

"Mistakes can ruin a whole day's filming, but the rewards are there when you can view the finished article and the hard work can be seen."

This is the second time Lee has entered the Done in 60 Seconds competition. Last year, his clay version of Sam Raimi's gore horror classic, The Evil Dead, was chosen as one of the five UK finalists.

He's hoping that his chances of winning are better this year with two films entered into the competition. Both David Lynch's eerie cult classic Eraserhead and landmark horror film The Exorcist have been given the Lee Hardcastle treatment.

Lee Hardcastle's version of Eraserhead
Lee hopes his version of Eraserhead could win him the award

"I guess I must have watched quite a lot of gore and horror films as a youngster and I think clay animation can give them a fresh look, and perhaps a sense of humour that was missing before."

Lee hasn't always worked in clay, though. He worked for film companies in Soho for three years and even had a short film, shot on Super 8, shown at the Cannes Film Festival.

"I got fed up of working on other people's films and I guess needed to do my own stuff and when the time came my love for clay animation like all the Aardman stuff led me in that direction."

"Luckily, modern online video sites make it much easier to showcase your work. You don't have to keep shoving your foot in the door trying to pitch something. Producers and distributors are constantly perusing the web looking for ready-made talent and it means that audiences will be more aware of your work as well."

You can vote for Lee's films on the Empire Awards 2011 - Done In 60 Seconds webpage.

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