KręciołLa Nostalgia del Sr. Alambre

"Peter and the Wolf"

Prod. 2006

Directed by Suzie Templeton

Written by Suzie Templeton and Marianela Maldonado

This Oscar-winning film was based on the music of Sergiej Prokofiev. The hero is a young boy named Peter, who feels lost and unwelcome in the stark reality of the modern Russian province. Peter is raised by his strict grandfather, and rejected by his peers- but he has one dream: to make it over the fence and into the magical forest clearing. We see him longingly peer through the holes in the fence at the frozen lake, the rocky hillside and the forest. Finally, he disobeys his grandfather and steps through.

What he does not expect is the danger that will meet him there.

Young Peter's only friends were the Bird and Duck, and were it not for their help, the film may have ended differently. The Wolf is caught, but in the finale, Peter realises that a wild animal cannot be kept in a cage, and lets the beast go.

The work I performed on the puppets for this film cannot be described in a single term. Sewing costumes, preparing props, applying hairpieces, eyes, and in case of animals, fur and feathers- this is but a short selection.

I was the supervisor of a team of artists who create all the objects mentioned above. I was responsible for selecting the fabrics, furs, and materials, for choosing the finishing technologies. I also personally finished the Wolf and Bird puppets in both scales, applied the make-up for the human characters, made the eyeballs and the costumes.

The process of creating a puppet is long. It consists of many stages and involves many people. I am always delighted to be able to personally take part in the last stage of work on a puppet and creating its final look. This is a responsible, but also pleasant job. Seeing the result on screen, we often forget the work of sculptors and constructors that has gone into creating the puppet.

The Peter and the Wolf puppets were made in two scales: 1:5 and 1:3.

The bodies were mainly latex foam covered with a flock layer, fur (the Wolf and Cat) or feathers (Bird and Duck). The human characters the bodies were also made from latex, and the visible parts that were to imitate human skin were silicone.

The 1:3 scale Wolf's head was made in a rather spectacular manner.

No detailed designs were ever made, and we as the puppetmakers relied solely on suggestions from director Suzie Templeton, in addition to a single mood mock-up of the main cast and reference photographs of real animals. Much time was spent searching for the right colour and texture of the fur, of working out how to apply it to the puppet. The results were unsatisfactory, and the final look for the puppet was failing to come into focus. I began to doubt our success.

As luck would have it (and whether it was good or bad, I couldn't say), the deadline was unexpectedly changed to "Immediately!". The Wolf's head prototype in 1:3 scale had to materialise instantly. So, materialise it did: in all of one day and one sleepless night's hard work. The result surprised everyone, myself most of all.

The Wolf's coat was applied by hand, tuft by tuft, from muzzle to tail. To achieve a realistic colour blend, I used five kinds of furs which differed in length, colour, and texture. The technique fortunately turned out to be resistant to the animator's touch, and the puppet's hair did not move during the shot.

The Wolf is my favourite puppet. I think it may be the nicest one I have ever made. Oddly enough, out of all the fur and coat samples I gathered in my attempts to find the right one, the cheapest and lowest quality materials proved to be the best. I am very fond of the Wolf, and I wonder if I will ever have the opportunity to make a better puppet.