ParaNorman is a film from 2012 made by the same folks as Coraline. Like Coraline, the film is composed almost entirely of stop-motion animation, using color 3D printers to make many of the replacement parts for the character faces. Still, it also used a ton of hand-building, particularly for the props, set dressing, and vividly-detailed landscapes. Check out this all-too-brief featurette on the hands that made the world of ParaNorman. So many model houses. So many tiny props.
Currently at the Parson’s School Gallery in New York City is an exhibition of the Quay Brother’s work. From the description:
The Brothers have built a cult following with their dark, moody films, which are heavily influenced by Eastern European film, literature, and music and often feature disassembled dolls and no spoken dialogue. The exhibition combines rarely seen, collaboratively designed miniature décors from some of their most prominent works, as well as continuous screenings of excerpts from several of the films.
It’s a fascinating-looking exhibition, which I’m hoping to find time to get to. It runs until October 4th.
What really whet my appetite was a post over at Morbid Anatomy. Joanna Ebenstein wrote about her experience at the Brothers Quay exhibition:
These “décors” (in the exhibition’s parlance) are presented as static silent narrative worlds; it is as if you had peeked into each tiny space mid-shoot, characters and props all in their place, just waiting to be brought to life by the film-maker’s art.
She also took a number of fascinating photos, such as the one at the beginning of this post.
It’s fascinating to see this type of work as a props artisan, as the entire world of these story is created through objects made and manipulated. It is not just that every element seen is a handcrafted item, but in the Quay Brothers’ case, they are meticulously-detailed items as well.
You can see some films and interviews of the Quay Brothers at YouTube. If you’re in the New York City area and get a chance to see this exhibition, let me know!