The Advanced Art of Stop-Motion Animation: History of Stop-Motion Feature Films: Part 3
As 2010 is upon us (at the time of this initial book printing), the future looks bright for feature films made in stop-motion animation. What is also fascinating is just how international the spectrum is for these films. Animaking Studios, the largest animation studio in Brazil, has been working for the past several years on its first stop-motion feature, Worms (Figure 1.44), based on its award-winning short film of the same name. The new feature film is made for all ages, with a focus on children, following the adventures of a pre-teen worm named Junior. The film is slated for release in Brazil and Latin America very soon, and it appears to be receiving much support from distributors, media, and followers of their production blog (http://www.minhocasofilme.com.br).
Elsewhere, a stop-motion feature called O Apostolo is being produced in Spain, a feature version of the TV series Sandmunchenn in Germany, and in Poland a stereoscopic stop-motion feature is being produced called The Flying Piano. Back in the U.S., Screen Novelties is moving forward with the Jim Henson Company on a feature version of their short film Monster Safari (which you can read more about in Chapter 2: Interview with Screen Novelties). There is also an independent feature by Julie Pitts and Miles Glow in Australia called Wombok Forest still in production, and indie stop-motion filmmakers Justin and Shel Rasch (see Chapter 14: Interview with Justin and Shel Rasch) have dreams and plans for a feature project in the years to come.
In addition to independent features, the larger studios are moving forward on more stop-motion feature productions. Aardman Animation is producing Pirates under its new partnership with Sony Imageworks, and Tim Burton has officially joined forces again with Disney to create a feature-length stop-motion version of Frankenweenie, the live-action short he made for Disney back in 1984. Meanwhile, stop-motion fans are waiting with anticipation as plans come together for future projects at Laika Studios and the next venture for Henry Selick. As the future unfolds, we can certainly look forward to the advanced art of stop-motion animation continuing its history on the big screen, with infinite possibilities and new stories to enchant us.
Author’s Note: This history chapter is dedicated to the memory of Art Clokey (Figure 1.45), whose work was the inspiration behind many of these stop-motion features.
Ken A. Priebe has a BFA from University of Michigan and a classical animation certificate from Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts). He teaches stop-motion animation courses at VanArts and the Academy of Art University Cybercampus and has worked as a 2D animator on several games and short films for Thunderbean Animation, Bigfott Studios, and his own independent projects. Ken has participated as a speaker and volunteer for the Vancouver ACM SIGGRAPH Chapter and is founder of the Breath of Life Animation Festival, an annual outreach event of animation workshops for children and their families. He is also a filmmaker, writer, puppeteer, animation historian, and author of the book The Art of Stop-Motion Animation. Ken lives near Vancouver, BC, with his graphic-artist wife Janet and their two children, Ariel and Xander.