The Thomas & Friends Institute of Innovation (partially found informational short film; 2013-2014)

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TheThomasandFriendsInstituteofInnovationTitleCard.jpg

Title card of the short.

Status: Partially Found


The Thomas & Friends Institute of Innovation is an informational short film created by British advertising company Studio Hansa that was produced at some point between 2013 and 2014. The short was commissioned by HIT Entertainment, the then-copyright holders of Thomas & Friends, and was designed to pitch and promote the Thomas & Friends brand to potential commissioners and merchandising partners all across the world.

Content[edit | edit source]

The short was narrated by British actor Paul Freeman, and was described as taking place in a "distinctly British, Monty Python and Willy Wonka-esque world where all manner of research takes place". The short focuses on two scientists who work in the titular Institute of Innovation experimenting with various ways of making the Thomas brand more appealing to a modern audience, including giving Thomas limbs, injecting Percy with Botox, and injecting the Fat Controller with steroids and putting him on a treadmill to get rid of his "gut problem".

These bizarre, comedic experiments are meant to serve as "a flippant look at some of the more fanciful suggestions people have made" in terms of modernizing the Thomas brand for the current day. They are then countered by showing some of the actual efforts being made to keep the Thomas brand fresh, all of which focus on "scrupulous detail and genuine cutting edge innovation" whilst avoiding being "overtly bombastic" to stay true to the franchise's heritage.[1]

The film then ends with a reaffirmation of Thomas' enduring popularity by showing Thomas as one of the few surviving relics of a post-apocalyptic world, still drawing the attention of new audiences over a millennium into the future.

Availability[edit | edit source]

While private screenings of the film can still be arranged for brands interested in collaborating with the Thomas & Friends IP, the film has yet to be fully released publicly, and is likely to remain confidential in the years to come. Whilst Studio Hansa have released various clips and stills from the film in the years since its production, they have confirmed that they are unable to release the entire product, with art director Gary Roberts stating in an interview with the Thomas & Friends fan blog Roll Along Thomas that "Sadly due to the confidentially of the project, everything and what's on the site is as much as we can share about the project, by all means."[2]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

First released clip from the short.
Second released clip from the short.
Showreel from Studio Hansa featuring an additional clip from the short (0:52 - 0:53).

Images[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

Thomas & Friends[edit | edit source]

Thomas the Tank Engine[edit | edit source]

Other[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]