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“My Life as a Courgette” Behind the scenes of an Oscar-nominated film

The Swiss stop motion animation “My Life as a Courgette” involved months of work and painstaking attention to detail. Every second of the Oscar-nominated film was carefully created, and even the puppets had their own costume designer. (RTS, swissinfo.ch, cp)

The animated film by French-Swiss director Claude Barras tells the story of a nine-year-old boy who is sent to a children’s home after the unexpected death of his mother. There, he finds a new group of friends he can rely on.

The film used 54 puppets and took ten months to complete. It was made using stop motion animation, which involves capturing one frame at time, and editing the images together afterwards. It means that physical objects, such as puppets, have to be moved for each frame, thus creating the illusion of movement when the sequence of captured images is played together at speed.

The puppets used for “My Life as a Courgette” are about 25cm high (10 inches) and made by hand from different materials like latex foam, silicone and resin. The puppets also had clothes made out of fabric – Vanessa Riera was one of the costume designers.

“My Life as a Courgette”, known in the United States as “My Life as a Zucchini”, has already been honoured with the European Film Award for Best Animation Film and was also the first film by a Swiss director to be nominated for a Golden Globe. Now it has been nominated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Best Animated Feature Film Oscar. 

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