Stop! Frame! The Illusion of life

Stop! Frame! The Illusion of life is an exhibition by the BAFTA award-winning stop motion filmmaker Alan Platt. This exploration of Alan’s life and works will be exhibited at Mahara Gallery, Waikanae, from 10 April until 22 May.

Alan, born in 1941, began making puppets as a boy growing up in Blenheim, where he developed his craft by poring over books in the local library. By the age of 15 he was winning prizes for his hard work and artistry. At the age of 21, with only a small amount of money in his pockets, he travelled to Germany to study puppet art. With the decline of puppet theatre throughout Europe, Alan shifted to London and picked up a three month contract working for the BBC. That contract became a permanent job and he became attached to the school TV music programme, so was on hand when the idea to animate music was raised. Alan put up his hand to give it a go. He produced short animation segments during the day and made puppet figures at night, often working over 100 hours a week. His work was popular with audiences and began to win awards for its appeal.

Alan says: “I became attached to a school TV music programme that needed puppet, stop frame animation. I crossed my fingers, put my hand up, and said “I can do that”. In the end, all I could do was work hard, make mistakes, learn from them, and keep refining my craft. I would animate by day and make figures all night.”

In the 1990s staff cuts at the BBC encouraged Alan to look further afield. He joined the team at Channel 4 UK and was contracted to produce a children’s television series and short films of his choosing.

This resulted in the award winning Four Ways Farm series and a number of beautifully produced animations of popular stories and ballets.

In Alan’s words, “they were designed not to teach but to make the audience want to learn. To discover the uses and joys of literacy and to have the windows opened for them. Windows on to our wonderful heritage of great music.”

Alan retried to New Zealand after making a 30 minute animated short film based on

Wagner’s Ring Cycle in 2000. The film earned wide critical acclaim and won numerous awards, ending an illustrious career in film on a high note.

Now living on the Kāpiti Coast, Alan is surrounded by the 100s of figures he created for films. Stop! Frame! The Illusion of life exhibits approximately 50 of the figures, exploring Alan’s creative process and influences. A show reel of his award winning animations will also be part of the free exhibition.

Stop! Frame! The Illusion of life is an exhibition by Alan Platt. Opening 9 April at 5pm. Exhibition runs 10 April – 22 May 2016, Mahara Gallery, Waikanae. Free entry, all welcome.

Associated free events to watch out for:

13 April 11am Q&A with Alan Platt

20 April 10.30am-11.30am Anna Bailey string bean puppets: The Penguin and the

Sea Monster

21 April 10.30am-12pm puppet making workshop. Bring odd socks, buttons and

bobs to recycle.

22 April 12pm film screening: The Happy Prince by Alan Platt. Duration 30 mins

27 April 10.30am – 12pm puppet making workshop with Angelique Monaghan.

Bring odd socks, buttons and bobs to recycle