These movies are strange and bitter comedies about life’s failures, frustrations, and intellectual dissatisfactions…often using puppets.
Like a lot of other folks my age, I grew up on all the wondrous Henson things…the Muppet movies, Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, The Storyteller. And when you’re young, it’s easy to believe you can do the same thing someday, and start a huge puppet empire. But then your brain goes through the laundry of early adulthood, and you discover caffeine and angst and irritability and Nietzsche and Raskolnikov and daily life maintenance, and nothing feels further away than that Muppet mindset…
But through all those tangles, the switch in my brain to be a puppet filmmaker stayed in the “on” position. What kind of puppet movies can you do, if that rainbowy Henson land is lost to you? Perhaps you think…I’ll do post-modern (post-post-modern?) puppet movies that connect to actual secret thoughts and fears of the lonely overthinker. And I’ll try to make them entertaining…somehow.
But it’s just the dire decision every filmmaker has to face, anyway. Do you join the long queue waiting for that tiny chance at directing lavish studio projects that usually end up conforming to committee standards of what a Cineplex product needs to be? Or…do you make the very peculiar movies that reside in your head, no matter how much that puts you out to sea, floating further and further away from the land of billboards and publicity departments?
I know I made that a bit binary – but it does kind of come down to an either/or. And speaking of Kierkegaard, technology has made it entirely feasible to make movies with all the freedom and solitude of a novelist. (and using puppets helps, especially with things like hair continuity over a long shoot) But if you choose the dirt road of microbudget freedom, then why simply imitate what other movies have been? Why make cheaper versions of what the studios do so consummately? Once you leave all the moneyed fantasies behind, the horizon is open…even if you’re out there all alone with a backpack full of camcorder batteries. (and a puppet) (no judgment)
Some filmmakers wait around (forever) to get invited inside the posh hotel, and some just wander off into the forest and start making their unique movies without money…it’s always been that way. And a puppeteer named Roman Paska once wrote this:
“I can think of many good aesthetic and poetic reasons why I work with puppets, but they can’t really explain what moved me to be a puppeteer…demon instinct tells me things my mind can never fathom; that, for instance, the puppet is more intent on being real than being symbolic…but deep inside, I know that puppet theater is as irrational and unnecessary as nature. Like a bird, a planet or a disease. And despite all efforts to feather a nest for puppet theater in contemporary society, it remains a fundamentally deviant, subversive, marginal art form. That might be the most strange and marvelous thing about it.” (1992)
Each movie took about a year to do. Some of them are a bit contemplative and surreal (especially the pinball one) – I recommend a cocktail (or five) – or whatever gets you in the mood for such things. I’m afraid this site doesn’t really have news or updates, I just kind of slog away on something for months and then release it. But if you’re reading this, somehow you wound up here. Howdy. (handshake) Pleasure to meet ya.
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Long live existential partial-puppet cinema…*suspicious cough*
P.S. And to other filmmakers choosing the forest…
“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”
– Herman Melville
And if you got the movies from torrents or whatnot (no judgement, trust me), tips via Paypal are most welcome, just click the jar.