. fopspeen
fopspeen moving pictures birdy bittervrug
  Diek Charles
frame - films - festivals - commerce ~
about us - contact us - cv - links

Charles Badenhorst meets world famous animators Juri Norstein and Merlin Crossingham.

Pretoria animator goes sailing in the Ukraine

Charles Badenhorst, musician and animator, and one half of animation duo Fopspeen Moving Pictures, will be sailing down the Dnieper River in the Ukraine for the next two weeks. Badenhorst will be representing Fopspeen Moving Pictures at the KROK International Animation Festival, which is held in The Ukraine and Russia.

Billed by American independent animator and Oscar-winner Bill Plympton as one of the Big Ten animation festivals worldwide, KROK is unique for the fact that it is held on a riverboat, which sails from Kiev down the Dnieper River and across the Black sea to Sevastopol and Odessa. KROK is the Ukrainian word for "STEP". It is movement, the movement forward.

Symbolically enough, the festival never stands still even in the literal sense of these words: by tradition it is celebrated aboard a comfortable ship, cruising in Ukraine and Russia by turns. On one hand, it creates a unique creative atmosphere on the ship, and on the other hand it enables the festival to show its programmes to the audiences in the towns along the route.

Fopspeen Moving Pictures' entry, 'Sanna's Garden' is an animation series for children, teaching them about conservation of the succulent Karoo. The story begins when Kabbo, a travelling pied crow, lands in the Karoo to catch his breath. He accidentally tramples a rare plant, upsetting Sanna, a little bat-eared fox who is an earnest conservationist. To make amends, Kabbo offers to help Sanna build a garden to keep her plants safe. This they do with the help of Qunu the intellectual tortoise, who knows everything about the plants and animals of the Karoo. The three new friends are further aided in their conservation concerns by Ouza, a porcupine percussionist, and his vocalist Meisie, a Karoo toad.

The series focuses around the garden the creatures build to protect endangered plants of the region. As the story develops with each episode, new plants and animal characters are introduced.

This series of stop-motion animation is an extremely labour-intensive and time-consuming process. It entails the frame by frame filming of carefully articulated wooden puppets. For every second of footage, each puppet's position is changed up to 24 times, and after each change of position, a single frame is filmed. Projected at 24 frames per second, the puppets appear to come alive. To achieve this illusion, the animators moved the puppets approximately a thousand times to create just one minute of film!

Although the series is still in production, it has already featured on several international animation festivals: Anifest 2005 Trebon, Czech Republic, and Zlin International Film Festival for Children and youth 2005 - Czech Republic. It has also been accepted at Cortoons on the bay, a showcase for animated television films and series in Positano, Italy, KROKfest, and Ekofilm International Film Festival on the Environment and Natural and Cultural Heritage, Czech Republic.

At almost all of these festivals, 'Sanna's Garden' was the only representative of South Africa, and even the whole African continent. Despite this success, and the fact that the pilot episode was sponsored by the Critical Ecology Partnership Fund, an international conservation organisation, it has not been easy going for the animators. They have not been able to get financing for the project from local sponsors or investors. The project has twice been rejected by the National Film and Video Foundation, which even claimed that the series was racist since not all South African cultural groups were represented in its cast of characters.

The series is directed by artist and animator Diek Grobler. His aim was to create a children's series which would be entertaining, gentle and educational without being pedantic. The puppets are animated by Grobler and Badenhorst. Ann Walton wrote the script, and lighting was done by Hardus Koekemoer of the Department of Entertainment Technology of the Tswane University of Technology. Charles Badenhorst also created the sound and wrote the music for the series.

Sanna's Garden will have its first public screening at the Dinokasie Festival in Cullinan from 27 to 30 October 2005, as part of a showcase of animation by Fopspeen Moving Pictures.

Issued by Diek Grobler of Fopspeen Moving Pictures.

Article published on www.AnimationSA.org, written by Diek Grobler. Accessed 01 February 2008 at http://www.animationsa.org/v3/article.asp?ArticleID=186





Uploaded 01 February 2008, www.fopspeen.co.za, editor: Diek Grobler

All material on this website is copyrighted to Fopspeen Moving Pictures and its' artists.