Flying High, Longlist - Animation


Sean Pecknold


I wanted to make a film that acknowledged the fears and anxieties of the last year and a half. A simple journey that represented the ongoing struggles of so many, but also the steadfast heroism and kindness that emerged from people helping each other all around the world. So this film follows the journey of a lone Hawk who we meet ragged, tired and alone on an empty cliff. The entire world seems stuck in an eerie twilight as if the sun hasn’t risen in many months. Mustering all his remaining energy he sets off on a search for something better, but soon finds that his broken wing is going to make the journey nearly impossible. We follow the rising, falling, turning, and tumbling to the deepest depths on his quest for a new home and a reason to be hopeful about tomorrow. Featherweight is a stop-motion animated film created using paper puppets and hand-painted backgrounds. It was filmed entirely on a 4 x 8 foot multiplane animation table, which consists of multiple layers of glass with the camera shooting straight down through each layer of artwork creating the illusion of depth and parallax. The multiplane table was first used in the early Disney films Bambi, Snow White & Pinocchio, and by filmmakers such as Lotte Reiniger and Yuri Norstein. This is the same technique that we used to create 2 other Fleet Foxes animations The Shrine / An Argument in 2011 and Mykonos in 2009. Our production team was small but mighty consisting of artist Sean Lewis, animator Eileen Kohlhepp, puppet prototyper Emily Franz, and art assistants Cody O’ Neil and Patrick Blanchard.

Sean Pecknold is an independent animator, music video and film director from Seattle, Washington based in Los Angeles, CA. He has made the 1.4 Longlist twice. He uses analog filmmaking techniques to create stories about lonely shapes, people, animals, and objects. He enjoys wandering into visually strange and magical places. It’s not just girl meets boy. It’s girl meets boy then turns into a tree. His body of work includes award-winning films and animations for Fleet Foxes, John Legend, Netflix, Dreamworks, Dirty Projectors, Google, Sony, Lyft, Headspace, The New York Times, and the BBC. His work has been presented at film and design festivals all over the world and his animated film The Shrine / An Argument won the Best Animation at the UKMVAs in London. Sean is a proud recipient of a Young Gun Award from the Art Director’s Club of America. He runs Sing-Sing studio in Los Angeles with his partner Adi Goodrich and has taught stop-motion classes in NYC, Seattle, Los Angeles, and CalArts. He recently directed and animated stop-motion for Song Exploder on Netflix as well as stop-motion for Worn Stories also on Netlfix. He is a contributing columnist to The Smudge. He is currently working on a feature length stop-motion film called The Last Forest.