Alexander Bulkley and Corey Campodonico interview: ‘Pinocchio’ producers
“The story is very different from a lot of the other stop motion films that have been done over the years,” reflects Corey Campodonico about working on “Pinocchio.” He produced the film with Alexander Bulkley, who also joins our recent webchat. Campodonico continues, “It’s a really intriguing window into films that could come from this film in the future.” Watch our exclusive video interview with the pair above.
The film retells the classic Italian tale of a wooden puppet who is brought to life. It is directed by two-time Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro (“The Shape of Water”) and co-director Mark Gustafson. The film is made with stop-motion animation where wooden puppets were moved and filmed.
Bulkley explains, “What Guillermo and Mark both did with ‘Pinocchio’ was take stop-motion as this magical ingredient into the storytelling. It became the only way to tell this story. It became that tool of magic that allowed a wonder and awe in its execution. The audience is responding to something that is exciting and innovative. ‘Pinocchio’ is a great example of form enhancing the content.”
The film mixes sharp humor with heartfelt themes of acceptance and purpose. Campodonico says, “The thing that moves me the most is the simplicity of it. The connection to the simple truths we all think about but don’t focus on. What’s important? What are we trying to do with our relationships? That’s the core of any great story: figuring out the ‘why’ of human existence. But in this film, it’s so simple yet all the characters go through a journey to arrive at that answer. What’s right in front of them is so important and they already have everything they need.”
Bulkley and Campodonico have known each other since grade school. They are co-founders and co-owners of the animation studio ShadowMachine. The production company was founded in 1999 and has done many stop-motion projects. In 2010, the duo won an Emmy for their work on “Robot Chicken.”
Bulkley reveals, “Guillermo wanted to empower the animators to perform. A lot of innovation in stop motion has come from replacement faces and 3D printing as a way of really smoothing out the rough edges. Guillermo was adamant that we treat the animators like actors. They would go onto their stages and perform. They would have a lot of latitude to bring their best skills, talents and insights into the story and characters. That was really exciting.”