PUPPETS PROPS

PRODUCTION

“Eternal Hunting Grounds”received production support from The Norwegian Film Institute. We were over the moon, of course! I decided to stay in Tallinn and Nukufilm and make the film there. Medieoperatørene in Norway are the main producers, Nukufilm became co-producers. “Eternal Hunting Grounds” also got support from the Estonian Film Foundation. So now the film would be in three languages: Norsk, Eesti and English! So finally the production and shooting could start.

Set building for the first ever shot in the film - some seagull chickens breaking into the world!

Set building for the first ever shot in the film – some seagull chickens breaking into the world!

PUPPETS AND DESIGN

There are often three or more films being made at the same time at Nukufilm. The Nukufilm staff work on different films simultaneously and have an incredible ability to switch between different materials and mediums. The experienced craftswomen and puppet-makers change rapidly between projects. As I was doing both the design and direction of the film, it was a huge job! I had to prepare the design– drawings and give accurate descriptions of what I wanted at all times, which was different form freelancer-type collaborations I had done before. It was so great to see how beautiful the things become.The animation technique used is a combination between stop-motion and replacement animation. Replacement animation was not something the studio had done so much previously. Usually Nukufilm makes standing puppets with wires or armatures inside. And the camera moves around the puppet.
Replacement technique you don´t move the puppet. You basically replace each body part – heads, hands, eyes – and this creates movement and life in the puppet. Puppetmakers at the studio was joking that normally the camera moves around the puppet, now it was the puppet moving around the camera!

I first drew all the puppets’ heads and eyes in different positions. Then Heigo and Kaarel moulded the designs and casts were made from the moulds. The forms were then covered with paper and painted (if it´s a positive) or filled with plaster (if it´s a negative).

Moulds of the boys head

Moulds of the boys head

When the doll lies on the glass, the face has a slight relief and can cast shadow in a completely different way than if they had been made from flat paper. Each puppet has several different heads, and by replacing the heads, the puppet moves. It´s been a big job making all the puppet heads. The puppets come in three different sizes and all need replacement heads – 16 heads per size! The hair is made with handmade paper and with wires inside the paper. The eyes are cast in transparent polyester resin so that they can shine and look alive. The eyes also need a variation of eyelids, and pupils. The head, the mouth, and the eyes all have replacement parts in order to be animated. There are hundreds of small parts involved, and it´s a real challenge keeping them all organized!

Girls head with hair made of paper and wire

Girls head with hair made of paper and wire

The body of the puppets are made of paper covered with fabric, then painted. The bodies are not cast, but the fabric has texture, providing a 3-dimensional effect. Body parts are then added to make a complete doll, some are loose and some are fastened with wire. The bodies also have several replacement parts. Then there are the clothes. Külli has made the cape for the boy, the dress for the girl, and the hunter’s feather cape. The clothes also need to be constructed from various angles – front, half-side, full side, back. Since the hunter is a more extreme character, his perspectives are more extreme, so his outfits have strange angles – for example from above and below.

ENVIRONMENT: PAINTING MOULDING AND PAPER

The environment, the puppets and the animals are all made out of a combination of paper, fabric and paint. Also transparent papers and filters. Several different types of paper are used – luckily there is a fantastic papershop in Tallinn with a great range that we could visit frequently!

The glass plates that are closest to the camera contain natural and environment objects made from paper moulds. This means that the paper is molded into a semi-circular shape, then painted, so the environment, animals and puppets on the glass plates are not flat. They have relief and cast shadows when lit from the side. This makes it possible to have more dramatic lighting and provide a tactile, lush and unique look.

Puppets and props create complete environments placed horizontally on the glass

Puppets and props create complete environments placed horizontally on the glass

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We used mostly watercolour painting techniques, as well as airbrush painting.
Rosanna Vio is a very talented painter and artist based in Oslo. She worked with me in Tallinn the first three months of the project. Rosanna played a crucial part those first few months. She helped finding the right colours and atmospheres in the different scenes. We worked closely together on the films subject matters and different mood changes and how to get the certain atmospheres of the scenes in the film, as well as trying to capture the scandinavian light.
Rosannas website: http://www.rosannavio.com

 

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WILDFLOWERS AND STRAWS MADE OF PAPER

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As mentioned under the development menu – it was important for the flora and fauna to be true to the nature on Giske. One of the first things we started with was making flowers and straws out of paper, based around my floral findings that summer.
Take a look at these beautiful paper wildflowers! The stems have got wire inside them, so they can blow in the wind. These were used throughout the film.

 

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Wildflowers and straws made of paper

 

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Wildflowers and straws made of paper

 

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Wildflowers and straws made of paper

 

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Wildflowers and straws made of paper

 

 

FAUNA

Animals and birds

There are quite a few animals, insects and birds in the film.
Like the other puppets, we also made some of these from moulds, shaping the paper so the puppet slightly raises up from the glass when lying on the mulltiplane. It gets relief and a 3-dimensional effect.

The birds are made of both replacement parts and attached limbs. Some of the birds have bigger “roles” than others, so they have additional parts. There is a colorful gallery of birds in the film, relating to the types of birds you would find in the northwest coast of Norway.

 
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Cormorant