Guillermo del Toro Pinocchio exhibit at MOMA puts spotlight on stop motion animation

Sandy Kenyon Image
Wednesday, December 28, 2022
Del Toro's Pinocchio exhibit at MOMA spotlights stop motion animation
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Clay puppets and stop motion are front and center at the latest MOMA exhibit featuring Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio. Sandy Kenyon has the story.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Stop motion animation is a technique as old as cinema itself creating one frame at a time by hand using puppets moved ever so slightly between shots.

When shown one after another the frames create the illusion of movement.

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio breathes new life into the craft with the director's signature style elevated by a team of talented sculptures and stop-motion animators.

While the movie has gained the attention of viewers on Netflix, the Museum of Modern Art has a limited-time exhibit featuring the clay puppets used to bring the story to life.

Guillermo del Toro: Crafting Pinocchio gives movie buffs a peak behind the curtain with motion tests and time-lapse videos that capture the complex process of stop-motion animation.

Puppets in various stages of completion accompany props and sets that the team crafted by hand, in many sizes to achieve the shots they needed throughout the film.

Del Toro got his filmmaking start in stop motion animation and wanted to apply the technique to Pinocchio, a story that's fascinated the director since childhood.

"I love the possibility of making a Pinocchio that is disobedient, that doesn't have to change to satisfy others," Del Toro said.

The tale of a toymaker whose creation comes to life has a special resonance for a director who often injects fantasy into the real world of his movies.

This movie required what he called an 'artisanal' approach.

"In an era where everything is digital and people think when they see animation, they think computer," Del Toro said. "We are doing something hand-painted, hand-molded, hand-created, and animated."

Del Toro partnered with Director Mark Gustafson whose stop animation work can be seen in films like Fantastic Mr. Fox and A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas.

The duo wanted to bring together the best team to breathe life into the tale of Pinocchio in a way that only stop animators can.

"We go out and we find the best artists who can create these amazing props and sets, and they just pour themselves into this," Gustafson said.

The MOMA exhibit is a fitting tribute to everyone who worked so hard with tons of creative material on display to showcase the hard work that goes into making a stop animation film from beginning to end.

Anyone visiting MOMA with a general admission ticket is welcome to see the exhibit.

The exhibit is open now through April 15 with special showings of Pinocchio playing in the museum's theater running through January 4.

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AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File

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