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2D Puppet Filmmaking Part I: How I Found Puppets

Hi, my name is Noelle Duddridge; I am the new Programming Coordinator for the Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative, and a recent graduate of the University of Regina’s Media Production and Studies Department.  In the winter of 2011 I took an advanced production course taught by Gerald Saul where we wrote, fabricated and shot a sock puppet television series entitled, Sock-vile.  This experience was my grand introduction to puppet filmmaking.  As part of the art department, I helped design and fabricate the puppets, sets and props; later, during production I worked as a puppeteer.


In the winter of 2012 I took a professional work placement with the Filmpool to assist the artist in residence, Chrystene Ells, with the creation of her 3D puppet film, Gute Schone.  During this time I researched, fabricated, test-shot, and was able to learn by watching a master of puppets work on her craft.


Feeling inspired by the puppet medium, I pursued an audio-visual project in Dr. Christina Stojanova’s course, Horror and Mysticism.  Together with Sarah Huber, we created a 2D puppet film entitled, Siberian Maneater, based on a true Saskatchewan settler’s story we found at the Regina Public Library’s Prairie History Room.


These three experiences together helped to inspire me to explore the puppet medium further. As a recent graduate I have student loans to repay, which means that I don’t have a lot of funds to put toward my independent filmmaking endeavors. One of the many reasons that I love puppet filmmaking so much is the fact that I can afford it! A good amount of start-up puppet supplies can be found at your local Dollarama, (however I suggest upgrading to Michaels or Gales Wholesale if you have the money). Another neat thing about the puppet film medium is that just about anyone can do it. In Chrystene Ells’ puppet workshop series (This Big World) she had all types of artists coming together from all sorts of different backgrounds to create puppet films; visual artists, painters, sculptures, and print makers helping each other out and learning from one another. I can’t wait to check out what they’ve created when IPUFF 2013 finally rolls around (the International Puppet Underground Film Festival, April 6th-7th).


With the support of my coworkers here at the Filmpool and the help of Sarah Huber, Karen Elliott and Jared Gyeorick I am happy to say that I have completed another 2D prairie puppet film, A Gentleman’s Quarrel. In the next 3 blog entries to come, I will be giving insider tips on just how easily one can make a 2D puppet film of their own. So stay tuned folks!

-Noelle Duddridge

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