“The World of Snowhorse Animation” Directed By Leila Chieko

By Mikel Fair / a few months ago
Oregon Documentary Film Festival Leila Chieko Snowhorse Animation Joey Ethridge

Joey Ethridge And The Amazing World Of Snowhorse Animation

The World of Snowhorse Animation, is a documentary film directed by Leila Chieko. This film is also an official selection of the Oregon Documentary Film Festival 2018. Furthermore, The World Of Snowhorse Animation, won the Best Picture Award at the Oregon Documentary Film Festival 2018. I heard the crowd laughing throughout the film. I think that Joey Ethridge has a great personality and a deep passion for stop motion animation. Also, I think that Leila took the right amount of time to show Joey's creativity and talent. Finally, what made this film more amazing, is that it was Leila Chieko's first film. Tagline "A glimpse into the intriguing work of Joey Ethridge, a stop-motion animator and puppet creator based in Portland, Oregon."

Synopsis: The World of Snowhorse Animation

Joey Ethridge, aka Snowhorse, explains how his origins in collage work influence the creation of his stop-motion puppets pieced together using found objects and discarded toys. The characters’ personalities slowly evolve as they feel out their new limbs or new heads, sometimes literally finding their wings to navigate Snowhorse’s dark, whimsical world. The film showcases this eccentric artist’s beloved and charmingly creepy one-of-kind puppets and his passion for bringing them to life with stop-motion animation.

Director Leila Chieko Interview: Part One

  1. Why did you think that the Oregon Documentary Film Festival was a good place to submit and screen your film? "I liked that it was based in Portland, where I live, and that it was specifically for documentaries."
  2. What is the title of your film and is there any special meaning to the title?
    "The World of Snowhorse Animation" - The featured artist, Joey Ethridge, goes by the moniker of "Snowhorse" when representing his stop-motion animation work. His characters are so unique and numerous, and seem to dwell in this otherworldly realm. I wanted the title to evoke the sense that we'd be entering a different world to learn about his craft."
Oregon Documentary Film Festival Leila Chieko Snowhorse Animation Joey Ethridge

Director Leila Chieko Interview: Part Two

  1. Why did you choose to tell this particular story? "I am a stop-motion animator myself, so the art form is something I'm incredibly passionate about. I've always been intrigued with Joey's custom puppets and his "creepy but cutesy" style of animation, so I thought it would be interesting to learn more about it and to share it with a larger audience. I also wanted to incorporate a lot of close-up shots so the smaller subject matter lends itself well to that."
  2. Did you discover certain story elements during the production of this film that you never expected to find in the planning stages of this project?
    Yes! I had no idea that Joey started out as a collage artist and how much that art form influences the way he creates puppets and develops characters in a piecemeal fashion. I also didn't realize how significant his main "cast" of characters are. They're very dear to him, with elaborate backstories, and they took the most time to build.
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Documentary Cameras And Gear

What camera(s) did you use to during the production of this film? Discuss any advantages or limitations that you may have run into, from an equipment perspective.

"The main interview, time-lapse footage, and much of the B-Roll was shot on a Canon C-100 Mark II. The C-100 also recorded the audio, so it was essential for the interview. I also used my personal DSLRs, a Canon 5D Mark II, and Canon 6D Mark II, to capture additional B-Roll when I didn't have access to a C-100. The 5D was difficult to use without a monitor, and didn't do very well in low light. I actually purchased the 6D toward the end of filming, which was a bit more user-friendly with its multi-angle LCD touchscreen. It was nice having that shallow depth of field on the full frame DSLR sensors for some of those macro shots though."

Oregon Documentary Film Festival Leila Chieko Snowhorse Animation Joey Ethridge Poster

Director Leila Chieko Interview: Part Three

  1. How did you fund this film? Did you use crowd funding? Do you have pressure to recoup the production costs somehow? "This was a student final project for my video production class at PCC. Camera gear and lighting were provided by PCC. My fellow classmate Vince Szczesniak volunteered his time to help shoot the interview."
  2. What kind of audience reaction are you getting to this film? Discuss any Positives or Negatives that you feel comfortable talking about. The feedback I've gotten from peers and instructors is that it is edited well, which is great to hear since it's my favorite part of production. Friends who have seen it seem to love it, and my mom thought it was kind of creepy, haha, which I can understand.
Oregon Documentary Film Festival Leila Chieko Snowhorse Animation Joey Ethridge

Director Leila Chieko Interview: Part Three

  1. Do you have plans for a sequel or future film that you are working on? I am currently editing a documentary on toy photographers who met through Instagram and traveled from all over the world to attend a toy photography meet-up in Seattle in 2016.
  2. You have completed a documentary film, which is a huge achievement. Do you have any advice for a future filmmaker that is about to start a documentary project? Advice that you wish you had been given before you started yours? Always be ready to roll cam. You want to capture your subject doing their thing in a natural, authentic way and not have to ask them to repeat it because you didn't get it on film. Invest in a nice video tripod.
About the author

Mikel Fair

My name is Mikel Fair. I am the Director of Film Festival Circuit Inc. First of all, we are a company that manages film festival events in Texas and Oregon. Furthermore, we like to have fun and celebrate independent film. I worked for 15 years in the television and film production as a location sound mixer and production manager. I have also worked in post production as an editor, post sound mixer and composer. Above all, watching independent films and reading creative screenplays is my passion.