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Puppets in Film

Jubilee Exhibition Celebrating the 50. Anniversary of the Founding of the DEFA Studio for Animation Film Dresden

In Nukuteater (Puppet Theatre) Lai 1, Tallinn
26 November 2006 - 7 January 2007

Opening 26th November, 4 pm

On 1 April 1955 when the DEFA Studio for Animation Film was founded on the western heights of Dresden city, barely a handful of the employees came from a film background. Graphic artists, stage designers, puppeteers and cross-over artists coming from other artistic professions took their first enthusiastic steps and gained initial experience in the field of animated film. They built up a film production company from which 1,500 animated films for the cinema and television followed until the state-owned film studio was closed down in 1992. Not only were these animated films from Dresden popular with audience in communist East Germany, they were also exported to more than one hundred countries and regularly screened at national and international festivals where some of them went on to achieve great success.
The studio worked with all classic animation techniques. In addition to cartoons, silhouette and puppet animations, these included glove puppet films, clay animations as well as films employing a mixture of techniques. From the very beginning this state-owned film studio gave priority to children’s films which accounted for ca. 70% of the annual productions. These were joined by an ever-growing number of films for adult audiences. Such films were primarily screened in the cinemas as pre-films to features films.
The Puppets in Film exhibition has taken a selection of the most beautiful puppets from the history of DEFA in order to document the diversity of these artistic imprints and designing skills. Marked by the Era of Romance, the characters in "Novella" made from fine Dresden porcelain, the exotic and courageous puppets in "The Shadow Falling", the crudely funny "Clever Farmer’s Daughter" as well as the witty puppets in "Heinrich the Foiled One" can be viewed together as a kind of tryst. In this manner the exhibition is providing an insight into a chapter of German history and into the genre of puppet animation film with its rich tradition, one which is still greeted with boundless enthusiasm by young and old alike today.

Organized by German Institute for Animation Film (DIAF),
supported by Cultural Endowment of the Federal State of Saxony, DEFA Foundation and Goethe-Institute Tallinn

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