A quiet bus ride home from the city library turns into an aural nightmare for a book-reading commuter. With every stop the bus fills with people and sounds, becoming a chaotic cacophony joyful to everyone but her. Only when the bus finally reaches her seaside stop does she find escape, slipping back into the watery silence of her natural habitat where we discover she is not the average commuter.
Filmed with live-performed puppetry on a multiplane stage, puppets made from pizza boxes move through cityscapes of vintage papers and painted cellophane, immersed in an ever-building atmosphere of sound.
- Writer & Director: Linda Wingerter
- Production Company: The Stringpullers Puppet Company
- Editor: Linda Wingerter
- Camera: Linda Wingerter
- Sound Design: Linda Wingerter
- Puppet Builder: Linda Wingerter
- Puppeteers: Linda Wingerter, Evgeni Nudelman
- Production Assistants: Evgeni Nudelman, Judy Wingerter
- Executive Producer: Heather Henson
- Producers: Jessica Simon, Alex Griffin, Linda Wingerter
- A Handmade Puppet Dreams film made possible with support from The Green Feather Foundation
About the Director.
Linda Wingerter is a third generation puppetry artist performing, filming, teaching, and building puppets and kinetic art as The Stringpullers Puppet Company in Ithaca, New York. Working primarily in cardboard puppets, marionettes, and shadow puppetry, she began putting her work on film in 2019. She received a Handmade Puppet Dreams Micro-Commission to create the short puppet film Misophonia in 2021.
How did you get involved in working in film and animation?
I was born into a puppet theater family, but worked as a picture book illustrator for 15 years before I became a puppeteer and made puppet theater myself. On a 2017 trip to Stuttgart, Germany to work with marionette artist Alice Gottschalk, I saw the puppets Lotte Reiniger made for her stop motion animation. Very inspired, I built a multiplane stage like Lotte used, and began experimenting with putting my live-action puppetry on film. I found that medium to be perfectly suited to to my dual illustration / puppet theater background. I never expected to become a filmmaker, but it turns out to be my ideal art form. Then, I was lucky to get a micro-commission from Heather Henson’s Handmade Puppet Dreams film series, where I and 7 other puppet artists received filmmaking training, support, and feedback for 6 months. That is where I made Misophonia.
What is one piece of advice you could give who is interested in going into film and animation?
An artist’s path is rarely a straight line. Though there is much to learn from devoting oneself to a single art form and aspiring to master it, for many of us being confronted with the new and unknown can break us out into unexpected ways of perceiving and thinking that will enrich our art and ourselves. I think of art not as “content” or “product”, but rather as a byproduct of a practice of learning how to see the world more fully. Whatever art form does this most for me is where I follow.
Why do you love animation?
I do love animation, especially practical stop motion animation, because I am endlessly enchanted by the motion of objects.
In my case, I’m an inhabitant of the strange liminal world of live-action puppets on film. It is not a widely populated field yet, aside from the muppet tradition. It still feels a little strange to see, even for me, a life-long puppet artist. And that’s what I like about working within it. It’s pioneer territory, without a set tradition. It feels like anything is possible. The audience rarely comes to it with set expectations. And I like the freedom it gives me as a performer to be able to capture my best work, to make magic and illusion with editing, to show my puppets up close.
To direct the viewers eye, as I did with illustration, but now with the addition of sound and movement. I like that it is so accessible. Grand worlds can be made with very little.
What is an animated film, you highly recommend someone see?
For animation, I would always recommend Lotte Reiniger and Yuri Norstein. For puppet films, I’d of course recommend the films in Heather Henson’s puppet film series, Handmade Puppet Dreams: highly original, unique, and fascinating work.