Swedish Director and animator Anna Mantzaris, whose film Enough has won over 15 international awards after a successful festival run, goes through a painstaking process to create the puppets for her stop-motion animation films.
"It’s a special process," Anna explains. "Not only do you need to be a filmmaker and director, but you also need to construct these puppets to work properly technically, but also to look nice, and then you have to make the sets, light and then animate it to come to life. It is a very long but very fun process!"
Anna starts by making a wire armature – a sort of poseable skeleton, then uses mattress foam to sculpt the body shape of the puppet, and different materials, such as felt sheets, are used for the skin. Each puppet takes at least two weeks to make, and depending on the complexity, can take much longer.
"When I make the puppets they need to be two things: they need to look the way that I want, and they need to be functional to animate," says Anna. "I like my characters to look sympathetic but also a bit awkward. Almost like they look the way you can feel when you are not having a great day."
Anna, who worked as an animator on Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs, is influenced by the live action films of Swedish director Roy Anderson: "I like his characters, they’re funny, awkward and sad at the same time. I like really imperfect characters, I think they are more interesting and relatable."
Inspired by her move to London, Enough is a two-minute film about our inner urges and impulses, showing the things that she secretly wants to do, but never would – like slapping a stranger on the bus when they’re talking too loudly on their phone.
The film, however, plays out these impulses and shows what happens when different people decide to act upon them. Enough has been released online as a Vimeo Staff Pick Premiere (which you can watch below), and her latest film, Good Intentions, will premiere at the BFI London Film Festival.
You can discover more of Anna’s puppetry work on her website.