Katalog zur Ausstellung; Gestaltung: Filmmuseum Frankfurt am Main
Katalog zur Ausstellung; Gestaltung: Filmmuseum Frankfurt am Main

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Stop Motion - The Fantastic World of Puppet Animation Films

The exhibition and a film series lead you through the almost 100-year history of international puppet animation films up to recent cinema and TV productions.

The stars of the exhibition are puppets. They were designed for animation films and brought to life by their creators through elaborate stop motion technique. Some of them, such as the princess from the film "Die sieben Raben", are already 70 years old - some are still midgets, such as little blue "Dragon" from the ZDF preschool programme. And there are some real celebrities among them, such as the main characters from "Nightmare Before Christmas" and the Skip Dogs, two funny plasticine dogs by Nick Park, creator of "Wallace and Gromit".

Uniting past and present in this show, the exhibition organisers of Deutsches Filmmuseum Frankfurt am Main have collected various beautiful exhibits that were created in the workshops of puppet animation filmmakers during the past 100 years.
After a short historical introduction, the exhibition demonstrates how puppet animation films are made. The single steps from the first idea to the film's premiere are then illustrated using a concrete film example: "Frau Holle" (2003/04), produced by the Frankfurt-based company clayart.
At the end of the exhibition, a small workshop awaits all those who feel like making their own little puppet animation film after the exhibition tour.
The show was transferred from Deutsches Filmmuseum Frankfurt am Main.

history / meaning / making / film

The history of puppet animation films
The stars welcome the visitors right at the entrance:

Das Sandmännchen
Frau Holle and Goldmarie, Moritz and Witwe Bolte, Stadtmaus and Feldmaus and, last but not least - the Sandman.
The first part of the exhibition presents the creatures of outstanding German and international puppet animation artists that came into being between 1934 and 2004.

The scope of the exhibition reaches from the naturalistic characters that were created with meticulous accuracy by the brothers Diehl from Bavaria for the film "Die sieben Raben" (1937) to the highly stilised army of screws by George Pal, an American by choice, from "Tulips Shall Grow" (1942).

Characters from films by Jiri Trnka from the Czech Republic meet puppets made in the DEFA animation film studio ("Heinrich der Verhinderte", 1966, RE: Kurt Weiler). Ray Harryhausen’s Medusa for "Clash of the Titans" (1980) reminds of the fact that the stop motion technique also had a vital part in feature films - up to the arrival of the digital age.

Spanner  Trousers aus der TV-Serie «Creature Comforts»
The clay figures by Nick Park, "father" of Wallace and Gromit, enjoy no less prominence. His Skip Dogs, the heroes of a popular English TV series, can be seen in the exhibition.
Puppets from award-winning recent German films, such as "Père Ubu" (1997) and "Mère Ubu" (1999) by Heinrich Sabl or "The Periwig-Maker" (1999) by Anette and Steffen Schäffler, underline that there is an independent and vivid puppet animation tradition in Germany as well. Popular characters for children’s television such as little blue Dragon, for music clips and commercials lead visitors up to the present.
On a monitor, all puppets from the historical part of the exhibition can be seen in action.

The meaning of "stop motion"
The expression "stop motion" describes the patient work of puppet animation filmmakers succinctly: frame by frame, the camera shoots almost invisible changes in the movements of three-dimensional trick figures. One tiny motion, stop, shot, another tiny motion, stop, shot, etc. - 24 pictures for a single second of film. It is not before the puppet animation film is finished that everything comes to life.

An example:
The mysterious furry animal Cheburachka (© Soyusmultfilm) is a popular character from Russian children's films. Not only was it the star of many puppet animation films, but it also was the mascot of Russia's team at the Olympic Summer Games in 2004. Now it can be seen at Filmmuseum Potsdam.
The following 24 pictures make up 1 second of film. At a closer look, you will realise tiny changes from picture to picture. Motion emerges when the pictures are projected: Cheburachka bounces and laughs.


Cheburachka
Cheburachka
Cheburachka

Cheburachka
Cheburachka
Cheburachka

Cheburachka
Cheburachka
Cheburachka

Cheburachka
Cheburachka
Cheburachka

Cheburachka
Cheburachka
Cheburachka

Cheburachka
Cheburachka
Cheburachka

Cheburachka
Cheburachka
Cheburachka

Cheburachka
Cheburachka
Cheburachka


The making of a stop motion film
The second part of the exhibition demonstrates what happens before the shooting, using a concrete film example: "Frau Holle", created by the Frankfurt-based company clayart in 2003/04.
All of the many complex steps of development are depicted concretely and vividly with records from the production history of "Frau Holle": how the well-known fairy tale is retold as a puppet animation film, how ideas evolve from sketches into more elaborate storyboard designs, how the characters and their looks gradually develop in the hands of the puppet artists, how the costumes are modelled on historical originals and how settings are meticulously constructed, how dubbing speakers give the characters their voices and how noises are recorded in the recording studio. Sketch books, storyboards, research photos, fabric samples, outline drawings and puppet skeletons can be seen as well as finished figures, pieces of settings and even a finished set: Frau Holle's home, with herself and Marie on a set table in front of the house.

Those who feel like testing their talent after so much puppet animation background information are most welcome to our puppet animation workshop!
Booking for school classes: Phone (0049/331) 27181-12

The puppet animation workshop + stop motion film
At the end of the exhibition tour, a workshop can be found where every visitor may try puppet animation him-/herself. At first, a clay figure has to be modelled that is steady and ready for action - which is not an easy task! However, our visitors are pretty talented as you can see by looking at the following creatures.

Buntes Knetvolk
Zirkuselefant
Grüne Katze

Riesin am Leuchtturm
Unglücksrabe
Revolverheld


Afterwards, a camera shoots the newly made heroes according to the stop motion method, i.e. frame by frame, 24 shots for a single second of film. The single shots are printed out and stapled together to produce a flip book that visitors can take home as a souvenir of their puppet animation debut ...

Balls Balls Balls
» Lena G.
» Juli 2006
[img:2942]

Bot und Schlange
» Tom B.
» Juni 2006
[img:2949]

Das Leben ist Gemein
» Familie Wulf (Dortmund)
» Juli 2006
[img:2944]

Der Zerfall
» Amadeus Glatz (Potsdam)
[img:2950]

Gartenschlauch
[img:2943]

George W im Apfelgriebsch
[img:2945]

Weltraum
» 7. Klasse der Goethe Gesamtschule Potsdam-Babelsberg
» Juni 2006
» Film mit selbst hergestelltem Hintergrundbild
[img:2946]

Zauberer
[img:2947]