Film ID: NEFA 20749 Video of NEFA 20749 Best Friends - I Guinea Pig BEST FRIENDS: I GUINEA PIG 1983 Visitor TabsDescription A cute, vegetarian guinea pig pitches pet care to kids and explains his origins – descended from South American rodents called the “restless Cavies”. This delightful cartoon was created by the popular South Shields-born artist Sheila Graber for a children’s television series that was broadcast around the world in the 1980s. Title: Best Friends (titles over guinea pig) Title: Best Friends (titles over girl in stripy T shirt) Title: Best Friends (titles over guinea pig and girl in stripy T shirt) The girl picks up the guinea pig and they smile at each other. Title: Best Friends Close up of a baby guinea pig, only one day old. The camera pans out to reveal the baby guinea pig snuggling under its ‘mum’, a little and large version of each other. Both nibble a green leaf. In the next sequences the guinea pig defines itself and its characteristics. As it trots away from its mother, the baby guinea pig grows to a size where it can look after itself at 5 weeks old. It passes a rat and a hamster on a mound of earth, a vole and a mole peering from holes in the ground. “I am not a rat or a hamster, I am not a rat or a vole.” A symbol clashes, and the guinea pig presents the title. Title: I Guinea Pig The guinea pig plays with the title letters, with its four toes in front and three behind. Turning its back, the animal has no tail. It sniffs at a flower with its powerful sense of smell. Twitching an ear to illustrate its excellent hearing, the animal is plunged into darkness by the shadow cast by its girl owner reaching down to grab her pet. The girl picks up her pet guinea pig carefully. The guinea pig twitches its nose and spies its new house. An old drawer is kitted out with food, water and space to run around, and a small sleeping box with another guinea pig peering out. The two sniff each other’s noses. The girl smiles. The two guinea pigs snuggle together in their new home. They dance together and then give a short history on the species. They jog together on a green map of South America, their first home where they were called “restless Cavie”. The guinea pigs multiply in pairs. They each hop to different countries and change colours. Prepared to be brushed, the guinea pig morphs into different breeds such as the rough haired Abyssinian, which always looks ruffled, the long haired Peruvian with hair that grows right over the face. An owner gives the hair a parting with a brush. The short haired Cavie enjoys a brush too. The girl lets the guinea pig out from a can into a cardboard maze. The guinea pig is in a cheery mood and nibbles on greens when offered, with a bowl of cereal nearby. “I’m a vegetarian and this is my favourite food.” A picture illustrates hay, bran, wheat and oatmeal for breakfast, fresh vegetables during the day (an onion and potato are taken away), dried pellets for supper. The guinea pig nibbles on pellets and washes them down with a swig at a water dispenser, and a lick or two from a salt roll. Outside in the garden, the guinea pig nibbles on dandelion leaves, and begins to explore. A cat creeps from beneath some flowers, the guinea pig running away wide-eyed. He has no means of defence. The cat chases the guinea pig right to the feet of the girl owner who places a cage box over her pet guinea pig as protection in the garden. The girl cradles all her pets: tortoise, dog, cat and rabbit. They are all introduced to the guinea pig and co-exist harmoniously around the garden and caged box. As the guinea pig nibbles on food, it listens out for the different footsteps of each pet. As it grooms itself, the girl in sneakers picks it up. The pet’s home is cleaned, the food and water replaced. The girl waves goodbye. The guinea pig walks into its box to go to sleep at the end of the day. The light is switched off and the guinea pig’s eyes gleam in the dark to close of film. Credit: Song ‘Best Friends’ Words Pierre D’Heaume Credit: Song ‘Best Friends’ Words Alec Costandinos Credit: Song ‘Best Friends’ Music Carlos Leresche Credit: Animated & Directed by Sheila Graber Credit: Executive Producer Nicole Jouve Credit: produced by Marble Arch films and Interama Credit: Logos © Interama / marble arch films 1983 Context A Cavie with charisma and good pet care advice The do’s and don’ts of pet care explained by a cute cartoon guinea pig created by celebrated British animator Sheila Graber. .Sheila Graber began to make hand-drawn animated films in the 1970s, initially to teach her secondary school students a new art form. Her award-winning short films were screened at the National Film Theatre, London, as part of the national “10 Best” competition run by Movie Maker magazine. As a gifted amateur, Graber received commissions from the Tate Gallery in London, Tyne Tees TV and the BBC. Her work attracted the attention of the French agent and distributor Nicole Jouve of Interama, who commissioned animations of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories (1981), her first work as a full-time professional, and later the Best Friends series (1983) and La Famille Fenouillard (1988).