The Very Merry Stop-Motion Xmas Extravaganza Potluck!

Co-Presented by Screen Novelties

Potluck begins at 11am! Rolling admission!

Deck the halls! Ring the bells! And prepare thine eyeballs n’ bellies for a feast of seasonal stop-motion joy! The very words “Christmas Animation” immediately conjure images of prancing puppets, given life through frame-by-frame magic – like Santa’s enchanted toys. So in the spirit of over-indulgent festive gorging, we’ve teamed up with our buddies, the stop-mo masters of misfit toys at Screen Novelties, to prepare a daylong, overflowing table spread of handpicked Xmas goodies, rarities and classics for you and your kin. We’ve made a list, checked it twice, and the pagecount is ridiculous! From antique adverts to wintry Euro masterpieces, plasticine pets to that green wedge-head and his pony pal, British kiddie critters to certain glowing royals of Yuletide classics – we’ll fill the screen as you fill your tummies. That’s right! It’s also a potluck, so bring your delicious dishes and we’ll bring the animated gifts – in excess! Spend the day with us for a nonstop marathon of mirth and merriment, with good grub, great films and glad tidings to all!

Featuring (and much, much more):

Will Vinton’s Claymation Christmas Celebration
In 1987, the king of Claymation, inventor of the term and reinventor of the art, gifted us with this endlessly charming chestnut. Hosts Rex and Herb, dino doppelgangers for a certain 2 thumbs-up duo, deliver the spirit of the season through a series of magical musical vignettes, lovingly rendered in Vinton’s inimitable (and, for many, overwhelmingly nostalgic) style. And you can bet that those singing, dancing sensations The California Raisins are along for the sleighride! A TV special worthy of seasonal perennial status alongside the Rankin/Bass wonderments, Claymation Christmas is a downright delight!
Dir. Will Vinton, 1987, digital presentation, 24 min.

Nutcracker Fantasy
In the late-’70s, Sanrio (yes, the Hello Kitty people) unleashed this wondrously unusual stop-motion confection that has sadly laid unsavored for ages. Ex-Rankin/Bass animator Takeo Nakamura was the lucky fellow called upon to employ the signature “Animagic” technique of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to this vaguely festive, awesomely bizarro sugar plum dream — one in which all the signifiers of Christmas fare are there, except Christmas is never once mentioned. The titular fantasy seems adapted from a German-to-Japanese-to-English translation of the original yarn, rather than the beloved ballet (though its melodies are employed on the Moog-drenched soundtrack to super groovy effect). Adding to the beautiful confusion are elaborate musical numbers, plus the voice talents of showbiz stalwarts like Christopher Lee, Roddy McDowall, Dick Van Patten and Jo Anne Worley (as the “Nut of Darkness”-wielding, two-headed rat queen, naturally). Rarely screened since its initial release, never on DVD and presented here on film!
Dir. Takeo Nakamura, 1979, 16mm, 82 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!