Del Toro's lifelong commitment to turning the creatures of his vivid imagination into physical realities, makes his choice to direct a stop-motion feature a long overdue and perfectly suitable one. The history of stop motion animation is almost as long as that of film itself: The very first stop motion film produced was 1898's The Humpty Dumpty Circus, a short film made using dolls with jointed limbs to simulate the movements of circus acrobats. Though the basic techniques remain similar, Del Toro and his team take this art form to a whole new level.
One can't help but marvel at the superb craftsmanship in every detail. Every hair strand on Geppetto's head, the wrinkles in his weathered hands, or the material of his garments are minuscule strokes of genius. The design of Pinocchio himself feels elemental, with organic blemishes of real wood, sporting a mischievously adorable face and an explosive hairstyle... leaving us all to wonder: How did they do this? How did filmmakers create a classic from a classic?
"Handcarved Cinema," edited by Chris Salters, holds many of these answers. With mesmerizing footage and time lapses of animators at work, this behind-the-scenes special captures the artistry of a unique tale years in the making.
When Chris was first approached about the piece, he felt torn: "Taking on this project meant putting my branded marketing and commercial editing focus on the back burner for anywhere from 4 to 6 months. Not an easy decision.", says Chris. "But being a sucker for animated movies in general, and having this feature helmed by a true master filmmaker, I didn't really have a choice."
Once things got rolling, the biggest challenge outside crafting the story was managing the sheer amount of data. "The project amassed over 30 terabytes of media.", Chris remembers. "It took a robust workflow to keep it all accessible and easy to edit with."
But along with logistical challenges, came an embarrassment of riches, with a vast amount of footage containing time-lapses, and 59 individual 4K or 6K multi-cam interviews. The short documentary will be a treat for any fan of stop motion, animation, puppeteering, and truly great cinema.
Shoot Chris a message to find out more, and stream "Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio: Handcarved Cinema" on Netflix now.