About the Show
Disenchanted with the women around him, a loner creates an idol of the perfect female and falls in love with it. His efforts to bring an illusion of reality to this fantasy relationship only lead to further isolation and despair, until he turns to an ancient goddess for help. IDOL is a live-action, solo puppetry short film whose actors and sets are made from recycled packaging materials and other byproducts of our consumer society. It offers a fresh look at the classical Pygmalion story, exploring contemporary issues such as objectification, consumer society, media culture, social withdrawal and hikikomori syndrome.
- Direction, screenplay, puppet & set creation, performance, lighting, camera, video editing, sound design & mix, musical adaptation & midi editing: Kris Fleerackers
- Author of the poem “Pygmalion” on which the screenplay is based: Publius Ovidius Naso
- Composer: Jean-Philippe Rameau
- Outside eye: Atma Frans
About the Team.
Kris Fleerackers is a Flemish-Canadian puppetry artist and filmmaker with a background in public television, video production, theatre and education. He is the founder and artistic director of Fallada Puppetworks. His puppetry projects, created under the umbrella of his company Fallada Puppetworks, have included solo productions, both live and for the web, a baroque puppet opera performed with the singers and orchestra of Vancouver’s Postmodern Camerata, a “flash” performance for a Radio-Canada online cultural magazine and the cocreation of a modern French fairy tale with author Michèle Smolkin. He has won multiple awards for his television and video work, including for two independent short films he wrote, co-directed and edited. He lives and works on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia, on the ancestral territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) people.
Publius Ovidius Naso aka Ovid (43 BCE – 17/18 CE) was a popular if controversial Roman poet. His story “Pygmalion” is part of the work he is best known for today: the Metamorphoses, a 15-book narrative poem referencing many of the myths of his era, each involving a supernatural transformation.
Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) was a one of the most significant composers of the French baroque. Though an influential music theorist, Rameau was also innovative and experimental. Apart from several volumes of works for the harpsichord, he composed a large number of ballet pieces and operas, including a “Pigmalion”.
Atma Frans is a designer, creativity teacher and author. Her writing has been a finalist for contests and has been published internationally in anthologies and literary magazines including in Arc Poetry Magazine, CV2, Understorey Magazine, The Dalhousie Review, Prairie Fire Magazine, Chiron Review, Obsessed with Pipework and Lighthouse Literary Journal.
An Interview with Kris Fleerackers.
How did you get involved in working in film and animation?
As a child I was obsessed with puppets and magic. One day I put on old white elbow glove I had found in the dress-up bin, put a small bicorn hat I had folded from paper and coloured with crayons on one of my fingers, and watched in bewilderment as Napoleon came to life at the end of my arm. At the time in Belgium, where I grew up, it was easy to find live puppetry to watch, and none of the puppets were muppets. There was also a good deal of impressive stop-motion animation on TV, mostly by Eastern-European filmmakers.
Later, in Canada, I ended up building a career in video and television, but puppets never left me alone for long. When I eventually quit television to dedicate myself to puppetry, I thought I had left film and video behind for good. But then the pandemic struck, and I decided to make a real puppet film, not just a recorded performance. It was surprisingly exhilarating to combine my media production experience with my passion for puppetry. Yet I chose for direct manipulation rather than stop-motion animation because I love the liminal power of puppetry: though you know it’s your own hand doing the wriggling it’s also really Napoleon, come back from the dead.
What is one piece of advice you could give who is interested in going into film and animation?
Think seriously about why you want to use animation. Puppets or animated characters have different capabilities from human actors, but also a different impact on the viewer. What is it about your story or its treatment that requires animation rather than live acting?
Why do you love animation?
If theatre allows us to witness the experiences of non-existent people, puppetry and other forms of animation allow us to experience an entirely different world, with its own look, its own laws, its own possibilities and limitations. Film adds to this a multiplicity of viewpoints: as a spectator you can be a fly on the wall, or a drone in the sky, or a thought in someone’s head. All this makes an animated film something as wildly fantastical as a dream but seemingly much more real: unbelievable though it is, it’s happening right before your eyes.
What is an animated film, you highly recommend someone see?
“Here and There” by Obom (Diane Obomsawin). Plus anything by Jan Švankmajer.