Posts Tagged ‘Handmade Puppet Dreams’

Yamasong Trailer

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

A year and a half ago I met with Sam Koji Hale a talented puppet maker and visual artist over a bowl of ramen and we talked about doing a short film based on one of the Ume in the Middle tracks. I had seen a table top bunraku production that Sam was involved with and was really taken by the artistry of the performance. When we got together it was clear that creatively we had much in common and that we should try to do something together. Sam then pitched the project to Heather Henson and she agreed to produce a short film through her production company IBEX.

After that it was off to the races. Sam put together a great crew and it was amazing to watch the whole thing come to life from initial character designs and sketches to models to puppets to the shooting and the post production work. At every step of the way my excitement grew as the film came together and now it’s finally finished! Sam is submitting it to film festivals now and we are also producing a DVD of the film with making of features and commentaries.

We’ve also built a website for the film at:

Meet Sam

Friday, September 11th, 2009

samfishkame_drawingThis is Sam, he’s a puppet maker, illustrator, animator and director of our first music video!  Music video is really too small of a title for what Sam is putting together.  His vision for the short film is quite epic and the entire endeavor is being produced by Heather Henson for her Handmade Puppet Dreams Film Festival.

On Tuesday I visited Sam while at Chiodo Bros studio to get a glimpse of what he’s been working on.  Ayumi and Brent took these great pictures and will be documenting the process.

There is something about puppets that is magical.  They are some of our first friends with names like Oscar, Cookie and my personal favorite Grover (let’s face it Elmo is just a wanna be Grover).  Recently my interest in puppets has been rekindled through being exposed to the great puppet theater traditions of Java and Bali.  What struck me was how easily I am transported to another fantastic world by the puppets.

I had a similar experience the first time I met Sam.  He was working with Tri-Pi Theater on a table top bunraku production called The Fox Lantern.  It was a really amazing production using very simple yet imaginative set pieces to create a completely engrossing experience.  The puppets were really beautifully made and I was amazed at how much the puppets were able to emote.  Their faces had such an expressive quality to them that you were able to read almost any emotion in them.

After our first meeting we kept in touch and talked about how fun it would be to do something together.  I knew he’d be great to work with after I sent him a copy of Ume In the Middle and and he sent back two or three video ideas per song in a matter of days.  The ideas were very imaginative and it was hard to narrow it down to just one but eventually we settled on “Yamasong”.

More to come later!

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