Friday, January 06, 2012

My trip to Prague! Part 1

Around June 2011, I got the chance to spend two weeks in Prague with a group of CalArts students. This was a joint mini exchange with FAMU (The Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague). It was an amazing experience and the first time I was in a foreign country.

Before I went I looked up more information on the whereabouts of Jiri Trnka puppets at this wonderful blog.
I never got a chance to see the Trade Fair Palace. (Another reason I need to visit Prague again :D) to make sure that they were there. I talked to Bretislav Pojar and he said most of his puppets and sets were in a private storage somewhere in an unknown place. It was quite disheartening to hear this, but I got to see Mr. Pojar's puppets up close to make up for it. 

Just a week after my school year ended, we headed to Prague. It took about 9 hours on the first flight to Amsterdam and then an hour to Prague. We stayed in FAMU's dormitory.
My FAMU dormitory
The gorgeous view from my window.

I really appreciated my stay there. It was about a 20 minute tram ride away from the main downtown of Prague. FAMU was in a nice historic building...mostly everything in the Czech Republic was in a beautiful building.

We had many lectures on Czech animation. It's amazing how much wonderful animation comes from this country. Here are a couple of animations that are available on youtube that really impressed me.

A Drop Too Much by Bretislav Pojar

Revolution in Toyland by Hermina Tyrlova

Duel by Pavel Koutsky

The Vanished World of Gloves by Jiri Barta  

We also had a chance to visit Jan Svankmajer's Studio Knoviz. Sadly, he wasn't there, but we got the chance to sneak around his studio. His studio kind of startled me because it was more like a mysterious attic with lost relics from his film. There were dark nooks and crannies that were illuminated by the natural light. If you watched his films before, his studio's look fits perfectly.

Studio Knoviz in the countryside.

Production notes for Surviving Life
Cut-out animation from Surviving Life

The flatbed where he edits his films.

I believe this is from his movie Faust.

The actual Little Otik!
I think these are mouth replacements for Little Otik. He's getting hungry.

His ceramic work

The two characters from Punch and Judy.

A plethora of film canisters!