Not just for kids: Nufonia Must Fall will teach you all about how films are made
Nufonia Must Fall provides an interactive look at how children’s films are made—a great example of new age children’s theatre. Complete with cameras, a DJ, a live four string quartet and lots of little puppets, the show kept the children’s interest and mine for the entire 90 minutes.
Created by turntablist Kid Koala, the story revolves around a robot and his love interest, Malorie. The show was directed by Oscar nominee K.K. Barrett (Her, 2016), and is based on the graphic novel by Kid Koala of the same name.
Kid Koala, who has toured alongside Arcade Fire and the Beastie Boys, hails from Montreal, along with most of the show’s production team, including the director of photography and Concordia alumnus AJ Korkidakis. Due to their Montreal ties, a lot of the scenes take place in the city’s well-known locations such as Mount Royal, where the robot and Malorie go on their first date, or Moog Audio, a music store on St-Laurent, where the robot gets a job. These small references make it exciting, and create a nice sense of familiarity for local viewers.
While this was marketed as a children’s show, the production and underlying themes are definitely of interest to an adult audience. In the auditorium, there were four cameras in place, along with various miniature sets built on top of tables and laid out along the floor. Each scene had a different miniature set, and the varied sizes of puppets were controlled from underneath the tables by strings or magnets. The puppets were made out of white pieces of fiberglass, and other bits of material. I think the creators were going for more of a modern look—the puppets faces seemed robotic and unmoving. It was fascinating to see where the cameras were set up during different scenes—it peaked my curiosity. Throughout the show, I tried to figure out how long the delay was between the camera and the screen.
The unique use of lighting really brought the story to life. For example, a car’s headlights were mimicked by the waving beam of a flashlight. The angles of the puppets combined with the backgrounds created various scenarios—a puppet that was angled backwards with a moving background gave the illusion that it was running very fast. Watching the story that the cameras were filming on the sets unfold from the sets to the big screen gave me an insight into how stop motion movies such the Wallace and Gromit series are created.
The story’s underlying themes of fear and love are relatable to viewers of all ages. Twice during the show, the robot gets fired from his job and begins to feel like a failure, but his love for Malorie later makes him realize that those jobs are not everything. While children cannot relate to losing a job, they do learn that work isn’t everything. With both the quintessential love story and a relatable plot, Nufonia Must Fall is a great show to see if you are studying intermedia, film production or you just enjoy seeing what goes on behind the scenes of stop motion films.
The show ran from September 2 to 5 at Place des Arts, but you can find the trailer on Kid Koala’s website.
The graphic novel Nufonia Must Fall, as well Kid Koala’s other works can also be found on his website.