‘Dark Crystal’ creators will visit BAM for puppet film fest

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

When children’s film “The Dark Crystal” came out in 1982, it shook the public’s perception about puppets. Instead of cute creatures meant to make kids happy, the movie put forth melancholy and macabre visages that scared much of its young audience.

Now, the film and its creators will be honored for their ingenuity on the opening night of Puppets on Film, a Brooklyn Academy of Music film series running Oct. 24–26 that will explore how the fuzzy creations are used in the movies.

“Audiences find puppets immediate and visceral,” said legendary fantasy illustrator Brian Froud, who designed the creatures in “The Dark Crystal.” “People in the modern age are so used to looking at CGI that they do not know what they are looking at. The secret of it is that it is real.”

It took five years to create the aliens and worlds that the film’s characters Jen and Kira inhabited, said Froud.

“We had to make prototypes and scale them and figure out how to manipulate them,” said Froud, who lives in England. “The creatures changed a lot as time went on.”

At first, Froud found inspiration for his designs in his wooded home in the English countryside — which was what drew co-director Jim Henson to his work, he said.

“Jim liked the feeling of the rocks and trees and the moss, and he said he wanted that feeling in the film,” said Froud.

But when Froud moved with his wife Wendy to New York City so they could both work on the movie, his inspirations changed. He spend many days looking at the landscapes of Central Park and even started eating differently, he said.

“I would eat a lot of lobster because there were things about the shells and the bones that I found inspiratio­nal,” said Froud.

Puppets on Film is a collaboration between BAMcinematek and the Jim Henson Foundation. The Frouds will be on hand at the Oct. 24 screening of “The Dark Crystal” to discuss their work on the film. The series will also feature “Lessons Learned,” a short film made by Brian and Wendy’s son Toby Froud (who is perhaps best known to puppetry fans for his role as the baby in the 1986 film “Labyrinth”). Toby’s work very much follows in the family footsteps, said Brian Froud.

“It is in the same old style as our puppets,” he said. “There is certainly a family resemblance.”

The Dark Crystal Fan Fest at BAM Rose Cinemas [30 Lafayette Ave. near Ashland Place in Fort Greene, (718) 636–4100,]. Oct. 24 at 7 pm. $14 ($9 for members).

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurf‌ar­o@c‌nglo­c‌ or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitt‌‌Danie­lleFu‌r­faro.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: