Gerald Potterton, Heavy Metal Director and Yellow Submarine Animator, Dies


Gerald Potterton, the cult filmmaker who directed Heavy Metal and animated a segment of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, died Tuesday in Quebec, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) said in a statement to Pitchfork. He was 91 years old, according to The Hollywood Reporter

Potterton was born in London before moving to Canada in the 1950s to work with NFB animation. In the early-to-mid-1960s, he directed a pair of Oscar-nominated shorts, My Financial Career and Christmas Cracker, as well as the live-action comedies The Ride and The Railrodder. He worked on the animated Beatles feature Yellow Submarine in England later that decade, then returned to Canada to found Potterton Productions. In 1981, he directed the cult adult animated film Heavy Metal, which paired a science fiction anthology with music by rock bands including Black Sabbath, Blue Öyster Cult, Cheap Trick, and Devo.

In a statement, Claude Joli-Coeur, NFB chair and government film commissioner, said, “Gerald came to Canada and the NFB to be part of a new wave of storytelling, one that was fresh and irreverent, and he brought great wit and creativity to every project. He was also a builder, helping to lay the foundation for today’s independent Canadian animation industry with Potterton Productions.”


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