March 7 – April 30
$5 – 15 – buy tickets at puppetfestival.ca
A streaming package of family-friendly shorts from around the world.
Curated by Willard Lefthand, this fascinating and entertaining program of shorts from around the world uses stop-motion, puppetry, and animated objects to celebrate exploration, adventure, and the perseverance of the human spirit.
Registration includes a password protected link that will allow you to watch the package of shorts any time between March 7 and April 30.
Presented by Calgary Animated Objects Society in partnership with the Festival of Animated Objects.
March 7-April 30
$5 – 15
Willard Lefthand is an independent Îethka artist and curator from Mînî Thnî. Lefthand is mostly self-trained in his practice, but is adept at adopting new techniques and styles from observation, and thus is fascinated with the world around him which he views through material and digital lenses. Willard excelled in art in high school, where he joined the Nakoda AV Club, an arts collective based on his home reserve. As part of the Club Willard has starred in and provided technical assistance to short films, and participated in a group visual arts exhibition. Lefthand’s artistic practice centers around digital storytelling through character creation and animation. He also enjoys sketching, making comics, and practicing new techniques. His art is influenced by his studies of physicality through fitness, his passion for anime and video games, and his deep relational web of friends and family on his reserve.
Sometimes films are like little adventures. This collection helped lift my spirit when my soul craved to be taken somewhere different because they are unusual and exciting, just like an adventure. On an adventure you never know what to expect while going to different places to explore. Somewhere different is good for the soul because it helps to energize us. If the soul is stuck going through the same experiences over and over it becomes tired. Only by moving forward, leaving behind where you once were you become excited and feel awake again. There were so many different stories and creativity put into each of the films in this collection. As an animator, I enjoyed exploring the many art styles, where creativity is endless, and imagination brings stories and visions to life. It was very intriguing how each filmmaker used different objects like paper cut outs or puppets as well as paintings. I find it fun to go on a journey through films and to share emotions and express thoughts and visions while watching films together. It’s like a reminder to keep an open mind because you never know what to expect while on your own journey. I hope this collection lifts your spirit as it has lifted mine and that it inspires you to keep on creating adventures in your life.
Package 1: Life is a Journey
Lilly Goes to the Dogs
The Bum Family
Synopsis: Lilly, a 10-foot tall orange monster, visits a the Victoria Dog Show, but her friend Fluffle gets sequestered in the mutt pen! Will Lilly take Best in Show?
The Bum Family are a group of 6 cousins from Calgary, Canada, who create short animated movies together. Maezy, Medina and Zaiyah Dennie (ages 16, 15 and 12), and Berlin, Ocean and Sol Demuth (ages 16, 13 and 9) write their stories, create the artwork, direct, animate and voice their movies. Their short films have screened at over 100 film festivals, and have won awards for Audience Favourite and Best Animation. They recently made a short film for pre-schoolers for Sesame Street, and are currently working on “Pollution Solution,” a verbatim film with animation.
Light as Paper
Synopsis: Light as Paper takes place in a fragile world of paper, light and shadow. Its characters begin as a small white ball and a human hand. Tanya Khordoc & Barry Weil (Evolve Puppets) use these simple elements to tell a visually striking and moving story about parents, children, love and loss. The story is told completely without dialogue, narration or language of any kind, and is accompanied by a piano-and-cello score by acclaimed modern composer Joel Phillip Friedman.
EVOLVE PUPPETS (TANYA KHORDOC & BARRY WEIL) have been creating innovative puppet theatre in NYC for more than two decades. In 2021, they began creating puppetry films, including Light as Paper, December NYC and (for La MaMa Kids Online) the environmental fable Once Upon a Plastic Forest. Tanya & Barry’s puppet play Home received a Jim Henson Foundation Grant for its development, and was performed at The Tank NYC in 2019. Evolve created the world premiere production of former Czech President Vàclav Havel’s play Motormorphosis for UTC61’s Havel Festival; designed and constructed puppets for Dell’Arte Opera Ensemble’s world premiere of Princess Maleine at La MaMa; and crafted live-video-projected models for UTC61’s adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s Cat’s Cradle. They also designed the puppetry for Theater East’s Devil and the Deep, a musical co-written by Graham Russell of Air Supply. Evolve has performed many original works (written, designed and directed by Tanya & Barry) at venues that include La MaMa, HERE Arts Center, St. Ann’s Warehouse, The Tank NYC, The Brick, Dixon Place, and two Puppeteers of America National Festivals. Tanya & Barry are currently developing their latest full-length puppet play, They Were Called Trees. evolvepuppets.com
Planet of the Socks
Synopsis: In a galaxy far, far away, a mismatched pair of socks are running from the law in a pirated starship. To escape to freedom, they will have to outwit and out maneuver a mitten cop piloting a flying saucer.
David Lamarre is a Montreal-based film geek that makes short DIY sci-fi and horror videos with puppets on YouTube. He’s a one man crew, whose motto is No Budget, No Problem. “When I think of what an artist is, I imagine a painter who transposes his personal vision of the world onto a canvas. One person. One vision. One artwork. I aim to do the same, but as a filmmaker.” Funny and colorful, his films have a handmade charm to them.
Synopsis: A poetic and transformative journey of a young man’s physical, mental, and spiritual struggle to return to his son through the criminal justice system and the layers of colonization it represents. Created by animating spray-painted murals frame-by-frame, Cree artist Jesse Gouchey painted each frame on large outdoor surfaces over a period of seven years in numerous locations across Alberta and BC. Johnny Crow’s struggle speaks to the resilience of modern day warriors surviving and resisting bureaucratic battles of written laws vs oral traditions, and is contrasted by a haunting poem written and performed by spoken word artist Mitcholos Touchie. Turtle Island agreements were to share, and nobody was conquered. Today’s resistance seeks to expose and correct treaty trickery, the dishonourable paper wars that are won and lost with the flick of a stock market digit.
The Forgotten Floss
Synopsis: Floss has gone ignored for too long – but not anymore.
Paul has produced numerous short films – most notably the dramas Strum Strum (2012) and A Long Beside (2014). He has also pursued a prolific career in VFX, at Weta Digital for over 9 years. Forgotten Floss is Paul’s first Stop Motion Short film.
Synopsis: A puppet who is the main character in a kid’s TV show realizes he is trapped inside an endless repeating cycle of an episode and desires to break free.
Maddie Shubeck is a Detroit based video artist and filmmaker. She graduated from College for Creative Studies in 2021 with a BFA in Entertainment Arts.
Package 2: Take an Adventure
Synopsis: In a world without human beings, stray shopping carts search for purpose and companionship. This is a story about a cart, a scrap metal flower, and its search for a mate.
Rusty Eveland is a working artist and independent animator out of Philadelphia, PA. He has a BFA in Animation from the University of the Arts.
Synopsis: A rat seeks lethal revenge on a murdering home owner.
As a graduate from the UNT’s Media Arts program, Nathaniel Aron has worked as a videographer, editor, and television photojournalist. He currently teaches multimedia and digital art at a fine arts and college preparatory high school. Over the years, he has worked on a wide variety of projects ranging from serious dramas to absurd comedies. Nathaniel has a love for puppetry of all forms and styles from found object to the Muppets.
Synopsis: A ten-year-old Tibetan boy named Dorji chases the dream of skateboarding with the help of several others.
Member of World Animation Association (ASIFA) Art Director of Shanghai RootDesign Co., Ltd. Shanghai Zhishi Advertising Director Art / Technical Director Currently working at the Department of Film and Animation of the School of Digital Art, Shanghai University
Synopsis: To Grandma is a shadow puppetry animation that centers around the filmmaker’s grandmother, Zhang Xiuying, who grew up in a village on the barren land of Loess Plateau, in Shanxi, China. This village has since disappeared. The film adapts Xiuying’s memory to re-imagine life there in the 1940s.
Yehui Zhao is a multi-media artist, whose work explores land and its people, folk memory and history, womanhood and love. Yehui’s films have been shown or were selected at the 43rd Asian American International Film Festival, Spain Moving Images Festival, International Moving Film Festival and other programs. Yehui’s paintings and prints appeared in The Brooklyn Review, Ligeia Magazine and are forthcoming in Action, Spectacle.versity
Synopsis: Disenchanted with the women around him, a man creates an idol of the perfect female and falls in love with it. Yet the figure cannot return his affections, until an ancient love goddess intervenes… This live-action puppet short film uses the classical Pygmalion story to explore contemporary issues such as objectification, image worship, consumer culture, hikikomori syndrome and the blurry distinction between the fake and the real.
Kris Fleerackers is a Flemish (Belgian)-born Canadian puppetry artist with a background in public television, video production, theatre and education. His puppetry experience includes solo productions, both live and for the web, as well as a baroque puppet opera performed with singers and orchestra. He has won multiple awards for his television and video work, and wrote, co-directed and edited two independent television films. He currently lives and works on the Sunsh