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First Puppet Film Festival, ever...




Little Angel Theatre and Reel Islington announce London's first ever puppet film festival from 25-27 March 2011. As part of the ongoing 50th birthday celebrations of Little Angel, its intimate 100 seat theatre will be transformed into a cinema for this one weekend and the films shown will appeal to all ages.

The Festival's joint Directors are Peter Glanville, Artistic Director of Little Angel, and Louise Radinger, co-chair of Reel Islington. Louise, an award-winning short filmmaker and shadow theatre practitioner was drawn to puppetry when her daughter joined Puppet Club at Little Angel. She suggested a collaboration to Peter Glanville, who was happy to join her in creating this festival.

The Festival opens on Friday, 25 March at 7.30 pm with three films for adults: FAR AWAY FROM URAL (Finland, 2008) directed by Katariina Lillqvist; PROMISED PARADISE (Netherlands/Indonesia, 2006) by Dutch filmmaker Leonard Retel Helmrich and THE MUSIC OF REGRET (USA, 2006) by celebrated artist, photographer and filmmaker Laurie Simmons.

On Saturday, 26 March, at 2 pm The Paper Cinema perform their new show ROCK CHARMER followed by a workshop for young people and adults age 10+.

Later on Saturday afternoon at 4 pm the famous toy theatre film DANTE'S INFERNO (USA, 2007), written and directed by Sean Meredith and Paul Zaloom is a must for all graphic novel and paper cinema fans.

This is followed at 6.15 pm by a rare screening of the haunting and beautiful feature length film from Japanese puppet animation master Kihachiro Kawamoto, THE BOOK OF THE DEAD (Japan, 2005).

Saturday night at 8 pm is PUPPET SHORTS NIGHT. Our screening of some wonderful new short films contributed by a wide range of interested filmmakers and puppeteers from London and further afield. There will be a jury prize for the best short film at the end of the evening. Some of the films may have adult content.

Sunday morning, 27 March, at 11 am sees the screening of the rarely seen cult classic LABYRINTH (USA; 1986/suitable for all ages) followed by Q and A with Ronnie le Drew and Sue Dacre, two puppeteers who worked on the film.

What is a puppet film? At 2.30 pm on Sunday, 27 March Fozzie Bear, Elmo, Lamb Chop, Art Cat and many more puppets gather together in Carnegie Hall to hold a PUPPET CONFERENCE to discuss their role on television. A marvelous and inventive film by artist Christian Jankowski is followed directly by the human version! Dr. Dan North, film lecturer and specialist on puppetry and animatronics in film, will take us on a whistlestop tour of amazing puppet films and their themes from early film to the present day.

On Sunday at 5 pm we have a screening of Lotte Reiniger's masterpiece THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMED (1926) with live music from the unique Sawchestra, who will be handing out instruments for you to join in with the soundtrack creation. This is suitable for all ages (PG).

And, finally, the Festival closes at 8 pm with the UK Premiere of REHEARSAL FOR A SICILIAN TRAGEDY (USA, 2009) written by the Italian American actor John Turturro and noted puppeteer Roman Paska, who also directed the film. A love letter to Turturro's roots in Sicily, it explores the essence of that country through puppet theatre.  We are delighted to have Roman Paska joining us in person to introduce his film and talk about it afterwards with the audience.

Please check the Little Angel website for details of times and titles - - or ring the Box Office on 020 7226 1787.

Reel Islington presents a series of screenings throughout the year. It aims to reach a wide range of audiences, screening in local venues large and small, and encourages local filmmakers to show their work alongside work from around the UK and the world.

Little Angel Theatre celebrates its 50th birthday in 2011. It has, for all that time, provided high quality puppet theatre aimed at young people and family audiences. Recently the theatre has extended its range to puppetry for adult audiences and other art forms, such as opera and film. Little Angel not only produces show in-house but tours nationally and internationally and welcomes puppet companies from around the world to perform on its stage in London.

Further information from:

Anne Mayer

Press Agent for Little Angel

020 7254 7391 or 07764 192842

Louise Radinger

Reel Islington

07813 757934 or 020 7359 2248

Additional Notes

FAR AWAY FROM URAL (Finland, 2008) is a puppet animation film directed by Katariina Lillqvist telling the story of a former Finnish President, Carl Gustav Mannerheim, and the legend surrounding his affair with a young boy, calling him ‘butterfly.' The film caused great controversy at the time of its release - stirring up questions of sexuality, freedom of speech and Finnish history - and was nominated for best animation at the Tampere Film Festival in 2008. This showing is a UK Premiere!

PROMISED PARADISE follows the Jakarta based puppeteer and troubadour Agus Nur Amal as he tries to track down the men responsible for the bombings in Bali in 2002. Along the way we see Amal's unique way of dealing with painful issues via puppetry, compassion, humour, performing to children and holding workshops in a Muslim school.

THE MUSIC OF REGRET is a musical film with lyrics by Simmons sung by real-life Meryl Streep and a cast of puppets as they examine the ubiquitous status envy of modern life on exquisite dollhouse sets.

THE PAPER CINEMA WORKSHOP for ages 10 and up would suit families, young adults or anyone who loves Paper Cinema and wants to make a film using cardboard cut-outs, a camera and a screen.

DANTE'S INFERNO is an update of the epic poem. Melding the apocalyptic graphic novel with Victorian toy theatre using hand drawn puppets and miniature sets, we follow our hero into the underbelly of modern day America.

Reel Islington is thankful for the support of the Cripplegate Foundation without whom this festival would not have been possible.


The Venue

Little Angel Theatre

 14 Dagmar Passage

London  N1 2DN


£5 for all events (except ROCK CHARMER workshop - combined ticket for film and workshop is £35)

Box Office

O20 7226 1787

You can book online at


Friday 25 March, 7.30pm - triple bill, festival opening event:

FAR AWAY FROM URAL (Finland, 2008, 27min)- Controversial puppet animation directed by Katariina Lillqvist telling the story the legend surrounding a former Finnish President's affair with a young boy.

PROMISED PARADISE (Netherlands/Indonesia, 2006, 52min) - How can one believe that terrorism can lead to heaven? Following Jakarta based puppeteer Agus Nur Amal as he tries to track down the men responsible for the 2002 Bali bombings.

THE MUSIC OF REGRET (SA, 2006, 40min) - A mini-musical about love, loss and status envy in three acts and featuring Meryl Streep, The Alvin Ailey 2 Dance Company and a cast of vintage puppets.

Age: adult (uncertified, we suggest minimum15)

Tickets: £5



Saturday 26 March, 2pm

The Paper Cinema present ROCK CHARMER

Round pillars of the old quarry, an old man wanders scratching at the mysteries of the rocks... calling... what stories can be told by these weather blown sentinels? Unwrap geological time, explore the layers of the rock.

Followed by a 2 hour workshop for adults and young people age 10+

Tickets: £5 (film only), £35 (film and workshop)



Saturday 26 March, 4pm

DANTE'S INFERNO (USA, 2007, 88min)

An update of the epic poem of a lost young man's journey through the inferno, set in modern day America as a contemporary vision of hell. This famous toy theatre film is a must-see for all graphic novel and paper cinema fans.

Age: adult (uncertified, we suggest minimum12)

Tickets: £5


Saturday 26 March, 6.15pm

BOOK OF THE DEAD (Japan, 2005, 70min)

A chance to see the ravishing and haunting film from Japanese puppet animation master Kihachiro Kawamoto. A strange tale of love and longing set in the afterworld. A must-see for all stop-motion animation fans.

Age: adult (uncertified, we suggest minimum12)

Tickets: £5



Saturday 26 March, 8pm


From an open call for short films involving any and all kinds of puppetry, this evening we show the selected films. There will be a jury prize for ‘Best Short Puppet Film'.

Age: adult (uncertified, we suggest minimum12)

Tickets: £5



Sunday 27 March, 11am

LABYRINTH (USA, 1986, 101min)

Screening of the cult family classic by Jim Henson.  15-year-old Sarah accidentally wishes her baby half-brother, Toby, away to the Goblin King Jareth who will keep Toby if Sarah does not complete his Labyrinth in 13 hours. Featuring David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly.  The screening will be followed by a Q & A session with the puppeteers Ronnie Le Drew and Sue Dacre who worked on the film.

Age: family (suitable for all)

Tickets: £5


Sunday 27 March, 2.30pm

WHAT IS A PUPPET FILM? - A Presentation featuring the film THE PUPPET CONFERENCE (USA, 2003, 25min)

Dr Dan North presents ‘Puppetry in Film'

Fozzie Bear, Elmo, Lamb Chop and puppets from around the world gather together in Carnegie Hall to hold a PUPPET CONFERENCE to discuss their role on television.

Following the film Dr. Dan North, film lecturer and specialist on puppetry and animatronics in film, will present some of rare puppet films and look at what makes them particularly special.

Age: adults (uncertified, we suggest minimum12)

Tickets: £5



Sunday 27 March, 5pm


A screening of Lotte Reiniger's masterpiece film with live music from Sawchestra.

SAWCESTRA are an orchestra of saws, children's toys and unusual and found instruments. Audience members are invited to play along and create the soundtrack.

Age: family, classified PG

Tickets: £5



Sunday 27 March, 8pm


Intro with Matthew Cohen and the film's director Roman Paska followed by Q & A

A love letter to Turturro's roots in Sicily, the film explores the essence of that country through puppet theatre. Written by the Italian American actor John Turturro and renowned writer, director and puppeteer Roman Paska, this is a UK Premiere.

Age: adults (uncertified, we suggest minimum12)

Tickets: £5


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