With digital animation rooted firmly within modern film, it can be hard to imagine another golden age of puppetry on the horizon. It may feel like the traditional artisan, hand-crafting every aspect of an idea, piece by piece, belongs to another time. There are, however, a group of people who have been recapturing the glory of puppetry to remind us of its wonder and the expansive opportunities that lay at our fingertips, still. Second-generation puppetry artists Heather Henson (Jim Henson’s daughter) and Toby Froud (son of Brian and Wendy Froud, designers of ‘Dark Crystal’ and ‘Labyrinth’) have teamed up with award-winning artist and puppet film-maker Sam Koji Hale to create ‘Yamasong: March of the Hollows’.
This Saturday, November 12, Theatre Off Jackson in Seattle, USA, opens its doors to a special preview event in light of the upcoming release of the feature film. Co-presented by Krab Jab Studio and Sam Koji Hale, the evening will display multiple film screenings, including the original short film ‘Yamasong’ that inspired the feature film to be created, and an award-winning documentary on the Director’s creative works. There will also be a Q+A with Sam, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and a special selection of short films by regional puppetry artists including Heather Henson.
Saturday, November 12, 2016 | 8pm
Theatre Off Jackson
409 7th Ave S. | Seattle | WA | 98104
Throughout November-December: Krab Jab Studio | 5628 Airport Way S, Ste 150 | Seattle, WA 98108
Though still in its post-production phase, the very prospect of this film has been generating excitement around the world. Produced by Dark Dune Productions, ‘Yamasong: March of the Hollows’ is the first non-Muppet puppet feature in North America since ‘Team America’ (2004). An entire generation has grown up with the mystical puppets from Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, and there is almost a universal sigh of relief to see Heather Henson and Toby Froud delving into the depths of their past to help bring about a new age of this time-honoured craft. As Executive Producers, they have worked with Sam Koji Hale, who helped to co-write the script after forming the original story and short film, Yamasong (which received the highest honour in puppetry arts, the UNIMA Citation of Excellence), after being heavily influenced by the music of the alternative L.A.-based music group On Ensemble; imagine Japanese taiko drums, koto and fue flutes, throat singing, and other world percussion instruments.
For the new feature film, mix those aspects with beautifully intricate puppets, Japanese folk tales, steampunk and action shots that belong in a comic book. Add in the voices of Nathan Fillion, Whoopi Goldberg, George Takei, Peter Weller, Freida Pinto, Abigail Breslin, Malcolm McDowell, Ed Asner and Bruce Davison and stir with a spoon made of dreams, and you may begin to anticipate what awaits you in ‘Yamasong: March of the Hollows’.
Can’t make the preview event? Don’t worry! ‘Yamasong: March of the Hollows’ is targeted for release in early 2017 – you can see the special trailer below. Until then, local art gallery Krab Jab Studio will also be exhibiting some of the film’s puppets in the flesh throughout November – a moment of pleasure not to be missed!