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Opening Night Gala

Frankenweenie 3D

In Tim Burton’s whimsical stop-motion 3D response to the Frankenstein myth, Victor’s beloved dog Sparky meets with a tragic end and the young inventor decides to bring him back to life.


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  • Director Tim Burton
  • Producer Tim Burton, Allison Abbate
  • Screenwriter John August
  • Voices Martin Landau, Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short
  • UK 2012
  • 87 mins
  • UK distribution The Walt Disney Company

Funny, dark and whimsical, this gloriously crafted, stop-motion 3D animation from Tim Burton – the reigning prince of outsiders – playfully turns the Frankenstein story on its bolted-on head. When Victor’s beloved dog Sparky meets with a tragic end, the young inventor devises an ingenious way to bring him back to life, inspired by a science lesson from the brilliant (if decidedly unhinged) Mr Rzykruski. Intuitively understanding that conformity rules the town of New Holland, Victor realises he must keep this incredible feat a secret from everyone, including Elsa van Helsing, the perfectly strange girl-next-door. Gleefully nostalgic – amongst its many cult movie references are a poodle with a Bride of Frankenstein beehive and a monstrous nod to Godzilla – the film returns to the territory of Edward Scissorhands in its theme of the creative loner struggling in alien small-town suburbia and is populated by a multitude of beautifully realised characters (at once unique and totally recognisable) brought to life by the voice talent of Martin Landau, Winona Ryder, Martin Short and Catherine O’Hara among others. A ‘pet’ project in more ways than one, Frankenweenie expands on Burton’s 1984 live-action short film of the same name, constructing in puppet-form characters that have developed in his sketchbooks over many years, the traces of which could be seen in MoMA’s recent Tim Burton exhibition. Filmed at the 3 Mills Studio in London, with hundreds of British craftspeople contributing to the production, the puppets are designed and created by Altrincham-based company Mackinnon & Saunders, who also fabricated the puppets for LFF 2009 Opening Night film Fantastic Mr. Fox and whose previous Burton collaborations include Corpse Bride and the martian designs for Mars Attacks! Stunning design, art direction and music from other Burton regulars Rick Heinrichs, Tim Browning and Danny Elfman round-out this truly wondrous cinematic experience.
Clare Stewart

Opening night around the UK

Audiences around the UK will have the exclusive chance to see opening night red carpet footage and a Q&A with the film’s creators beamed live by satellite into their local cinema and followed by a screening of Frankenweenie.

American Express pre-sale from 24 – 26 September.
Cineworld, Disney and BFI London Film Festival tickets can be applied for from 27 September.

For full details and participating venues please visit showfilmfirst.com/frankenweenie.

The Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition

Festival Village, Southbank Centre
11:00-20:00 (last entry 19:30), 17-21 October

Join us at the free exhibition on London’s South Bank showcasing sets and other artwork used in the making of Frankenweenie, giving audiences an exclusive glimpse into the stop-motion animation process used by filmmaker Tim Burton. Read more

Director statement

The reason I originally wanted to make Frankenweenie was based on growing up and loving horror movies. But it was also the relationship I had when I was a child with a certain dog that I had. It’s a special relationship that you have in your life and very emotional. Dogs obviously don’t usually live as long as people, so therefore you experience the end of that relationship. So that, in combination with the Frankenstein story, just seemed to be a very powerful thing to me – a very personal kind of remembrance. […] It was just something about the power of creating something out of nothing, which is again why I like stop motion. It is taking basically a lifeless puppet and making it come to life. There’s a beauty to stop motion, and there is something in it that mirrors the Frankenstein story of where you’re taking an inanimate object and bringing it to life. There’s an energy to that, that you can’t quite get in any other form. [...] The black and white is very much a part of the story, the character and the emotion of it, and that was always very important. There’s an emotional quality to black and white; like another character. Seeing this kind of animation that way, there’s a certain depth and a certain way people and objects go in and out of shadows that’s quite interesting, and again very much a part of the story. [...] I’m excited because all the elements – trying to capture the spirit of the drawings, the opportunity to do stop motion, black and white, 3D – all those elements together make it an original creation.
Tim Burton

Director biography

Born in Burbank in 1958, he studied character animation at California Institute of the Arts (alongside classmates including John Lasseter and Henry Selick), graduating in 1979, and taking up a proffered animation apprenticeship at Walt Disney. His personal style proved to be at odds with the studio's, and he took refuge in side projects such as the six-minute Vincent. His kung-fu version of Hansel and Gretel became his first live-action film, and the original Frankenweenie soon followed. In terms of his regular collaborators, he first worked with composer Danny Elfman on Pee Wee's Big Adventure, with actor Johnny Depp on Edward Scissorhands, and with future partner Helena Bonham Carter on Planet of the Apes. He was honoured with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Film Festival in 2007. He also wrote and illustrated the poetry book The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories, published in 1997, and a compilation of his drawings, sketches and other artwork, entitled The Art of Tim Burton, was released in 2009.

Filmography

1971 The Island of Doctor Agor [s]
1979 Doctor of Doom [s]; Stalk of the Celery Monster [s]
1982 Hansel and Gretel [TV] Vincent [s]; Luau [s]
1984 Frankenweenie [s]
1985 Pee-wee’s Big Adventure; Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Jar (TV)
1986 Faerie Tale Theatre: Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp (TV)
1988 Beetlejuice
1989 Batman
1990 Edward Scissorhands
1992 Batman Returns
1994 Conversations with Vincent [doc]; Ed Wood
1996 Mars Attacks!
1999 Sleepy Hollow
2000 Stainboy [s]
2001 Planet of the Apes
2003 Big Fish
2005 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Corpse Bride
2007 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
2010 Alice in Wonderland
2012 Dark Shadows; Frankenweenie

Read the Time Out review.

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