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Small Birds Singing

2007 // Comedy, Student Film, Stop Motion


Dir: Linda McCarthy

What is the film about?

Every day is Monday at Small Birds Singing, the country home of the Unbelievable family.  Tiny elephants, arguing apples and a body in the hedge…just another ordinary day at Small Birds Singing.

What influenced it?

Steven Appleby created the cartoon strip ‘Small Birds Singing’ which ran for eight years in the Times Magazine.  He cites Edward Gorey and Mervyn Peake as influences. Personal influences, apart from Steven’s work, include Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas and Jan Svankmajer.

A little background information...

This film was made as my graduation film for a BA in animation at Glyndwr University in North Wales. Small Birds Singing was always one of my favourite cartoon strips from Steven’s portfolio, and I was delighted when he agreed that I could adapt it into a stop motion film. Steven had regular input as the 3D version of Small Birds Singing developed.  Ultimately he was very happy with the style.

How was the film made?

The characters have exchangeable ceramic heads and many of the props and sets are made from fired clay. They are coloured using metal oxide and are rich in texture. The puppets have bodies made from foam latex, baked over an armature. Attention to colour and lighting, and creative arrangements and size of props and hills, contribute to the spaciousness required for the World of Small Birds Singing.

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