The Clokeys (stewards of the Gumby brand and Clokey Productions/ Premavision Studios), were the Saturday night headliners at the Montreal Stop Motion Film Festival in October, 2013. The Clokeys, along with director Henry Selick (Nightmare Before Christmas), were the festival jurors.
What an inspiring event! It was a stop motion marathon—over 300 short films were submitted to the competition. Producers, directors, animators, puppet makers, writers, set designers and crew from around the world attended to premier their new films.
The Montreal Stop Motion Film Festival, which was launched five years ago, is the first festival in the world dedicated solely to stop motion animation. Founder Erik Goulet, an animation professor at Montreal’s Concordia University, frustrated with the lack of attention that stop motion films received at regular film festivals, decided to start his own. He has been generating international attention for this unique art form. Other stop motion animation festivals are now springing up around the world: Poland, Brazil and Mexico.
Festival goers learned more about stop motion pioneer Art Clokey and the impact Gumby had on the development of animation during the “Gumby through the Years” presentation. The montage included a sampling of Gumby and Davey and Goliath episodes and excerpts, Art Clokey’s art films and his early commercial work. While a few film and commercial makers were experimenting with stop motion animation in the 1950’s, Gumby was the first stop motion character to have his own TV series. Many of today’s acclaimed animators attribute their break in industry to Art Clokey, who was known for hiring and training young art school graduates. Gumby has inspired thousands in the animation business and continues to stir imagination and creativity.
Henry Selick’s presentation included a screening of Nightmare Before Christmas (celebrating the film’s 20th anniversary) and scenes from his features: Coraline, James and Giant Peach and Monkey Bone. Animation Director Anthony Scott, who learned to animate under Art Clokey and later worked on many of Henry Selick’s films, joined in the presentation to share his anecdotes and perspective on how stop motion has evolved in the last 20 years.
You can read more about the Montreal Film Festival and the winners at http://www.stopmotionmontreal.com/index.php/en/