Short Australian documentary: The Puppeteer

The Puppeteer posterCaboolture film maker Gabor Kukucska set himself a challenge to make 52 short documentaries in 2017. That’s one per week! These documentaries are about inspirational people. And one of these people is Queensland puppeteer Brett Hansen – founder of Larrikin Puppets.

From childhood bullying and awful workplaces to personal difficulties like unemployment and the end of his first marriage, this 13 minute film tells the whole story. Strong encouragement from his loving family helped shape Brett’s life, and eventually he met the love of his life Elissa Jenkins, whose support has meant the world to Brett in the continuing growth of Larrikin Puppets.

The film also talks about the types of bookings Larrikin Puppets receive, including puppet shows and puppetry workshops. We learn about the Small Business Development Conference in Melbourne, and Brett’s advanced training in the USA with puppeteers from The Muppets and Sesame Street.

This is the teaser trailer that was shown in the lead up to the film’s official release:

The full 13 minute film is available to see now for free at https://inspireflix.com/docos/the-puppeteer/ by creating a free (and quick) login or signing in with Facebook. The login gate is because film festivals don’t accept films with full public access on YouTube or other such video sharing sites. We would love to see this film accepted and screened at festivals around the world. But we would also love you to login and see the film here and now at the InspireFlix website (formerly My Doco Club). 

Here’s the preliminary video from Facebook starring Troggg the blue monster: https://www.facebook.com/InspireFlix/videos/1795284477458119

NOW LIVE at https://inspireflix.com/docos/the-puppeteer/ – “The Puppeteer” – Brett’s dream to become a working puppeteer, and the struggles and triumphs along the way.

The Puppeteer poster

FILM CREDITS

Brett Hansen, Elissa Jenkins, Ross Hansen, Sandra Gartner, Troggg, Freerange the Chicken, Frazzamatazz.

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Production – Buyah Media
Cinematography – Gabor Kukucska

The Puppeteer

 

 

 

Kev (Brisbane puppet film) shortlisted for Tropfest 25

Kev Poster1Kev – The film that our very own puppet star Frizzby starred in (with the help of his handler Brett Hansen) – was shortlisted for Tropfest 25. It didn’t make the finalists, but to be on the shortlist is a great achievement in itself.

Kev (a Griffith Film School student film, written by Branden J Wittchen, directed Luke Angelo-Roberts & Branden J Wittchen, and produced by Emma Giddins) is not for children, as it contains adult themes and course language.

Puppet Cop from KevBrett performed the puppetry for two characters in the film – Kev (a bigoted Aussie orange monster played by Frizzby) and a bumbling puppet Police officer who has his priorities all wrong.

You can see and read more about the film at the official Kev Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KevShortFilm/

Kev EvilPhotos from the set of Kev can also be found in a photo album at the Larrikin Puppets Facebook page here.

Kev poster

Why Not? Films and Griffith Film School presents ‘Kev’. A Luke & Brando Film. The film stars Candice Hill, Ryan Hance and Abhi Mehta, along with Brett Hansen as the puppeteer and voice for both Kev and the Cop.

Fun Fact: Much of the filming of Kev took place at Shaw Road News, a popular community news agent store in Wavell Heights, Brisbane. Writer/Director Branden J Wittchen was a staff member of the store, and was able to secure the permission to use the store after hours as a filming location, and the main setting of the film itself.

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened
The birds began to sing;
Wasn’t that a dainty dish,
To set before the king.
The king was in his counting house,
Counting out his money;
The queen was in the parlour,
Eating bread and honey.
The maid was in the garden,
Hanging out the clothes,
When down came a blackbird
And pecked off her nose.

Larrikin Puppets in The Bribie Islander

Larrikin Puppets in The Bribie Islander:

Towards the end of our stay in New York, Elissa and I decided to base ourselves on Bribie Island upon our return to Australia. I wrote a post on a Bribie Island community Facebook page about our decision, and was approached via that page by a journalist in The Bribie Islander who was interested in writing a story about Larrikin Puppets and the puppet adventures we had in the USA. This is the article that was printed in the September 2016 edition of The Bribie Islander – Issue 26. Click on the article below to zoom in and read it:

The Bribie Islander - Bribie Island - Larrikin Puppets

Working as a journalist for a community paper has proven to be a wide and varied creative experience! It’s rare to have an interview with a puppeteer! Rare and magical, it immediately brings out the child in you! Brett Hansen gave us a demonstration of his incredible gifts as we watched in awe and fascination! Brett has just returned to the island from New York and was gracious enough to share his experiences with us.

Brett attended the ‘Beyond the Sock Workshop’ featuring puppetry teachers: Marty Robinson (a Jim Henson puppeteer famous for performing Telly Monster and Mr. Snuffleupagus on Sesame Street), Pasha Romanowski (puppet builder who made the characters on popular New Zealand show, The Moe Show), and Noel MacNeal (a Jim Henson puppeteer famous for performing the lead character on Bear in the Big Blue House). He held a solo puppet show at the Puppetry Arts Festival of Brooklyn – an annual festival in New York celebrating all kinds of puppetry. “I had a really big crowd on the day”. His main character Troggg (that’s Troggg with three Gs, the middle G is silent) – is pictured here posing with New York puppet troupe ‘Team Lopez’. “We attended so many night time puppet shows for adults and the theatres were packed! It’s part of the culture over there that puppets are not just for children. Grown adults flock to see these shows”. Team Lopez performs ‘improv’ comedy (known in Australia as ‘impro’ or ‘theatresports’). While we were based in New York for most of the three months, we did spend a week in Los Angeles and a week in Texas. The Beyond the Sock workshop was held at the University of North Texas. And in Los Angeles, I spent some time with some Jim Henson puppeteers over there – Grant Baciocco and Russ Walko.

Brett’s business Larrikin Puppets is available for bookings locally. He is available to perform puppet shows for birthday parties, childcare centres, libraries, fetes and festivals, seniors clubs and nursing homes, and primary and high schools. Schools are also able to book him for Puppetry Workshops. He is also available to perform as a Puppet M.C. for wedding receptions, film festivals, product launches, talent nights, gala dinners and media launches. So if you want your event to stand out from the crowd, you can contact Brett for bookings.

Article by Kellyanne O’Hare in The Bribie Islander. Issue 26, September 2016.

The Bribie Islander website – https://issuu.com/thebribieislander

The Bribie Islander Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/thebribieislander/

3 Days of Fun with NYC Puppets

NYC PuppetsFor three days in a row, Troggg, Brett and Elissa immersed themselves in New York’s puppet culture. In NYC puppets are all the rage! From professional film and TV puppeteers to small businesses to hobbyists – everybody loves puppets!

NYC PuppetsOn Friday night, (20 May, 2016) we went to see “Team Lopez” – a puppet improv troupe – at Broadway Comedy Club in the theater district. They were part of a big night of improv comedy called “Pre Game Happy Hour Improv Comedy”. After the show, Troggg got a photo with the puppets, then we all went out for drinks.

NYC PuppetsOn Saturday morning (21 May, 2016) we attended “Morning with The Muppets” as part of the Vulture Festival at Milk Studios in Chelsea. We got to see a panel discussion starring Muppet performers Steve Whitmire (Kermit, Ernie, Wembley Fraggle, Rizzo, etc), Eric Jacobson (Fozzie, Piggy, Bert, Grover) and Peter Linz (Walter from the recent Muppets films), and of course the superstars themselves Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear and Animal.

NYC PuppetsBrett asked a question of Steve Whitmire during the Q&A session about the difference in atmosphere between working with the original team of puppeteers (Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, etc) and the team of the last 25 years (incl. Matt Vogel, David Rudman, Peter Linz, Eric Jacobson, etc). He gave an amazing, heartfelt answer reflecting on the magic of being surrounded by those amazing people in the early days. NYC Puppets

Afterwards, Steve had a quick little examination of Troggg, and mentioned that they will be visiting Australia in a few months! He was whisked away before we could find out where and why. Maybe a Supanova or Oz Comic Con?

NYC PuppetsBrett and Troggg also got to meet a few fellow puppeteers and Muppet enthusiasts, including Zach Woliner (with Wally Wackiman) and Sam (with Mo Monster from web series The Mo Show). NYC Puppets

NYC PuppetsOn Sunday (22 May, 2016) we went to Kaufman Astoria Studios, where Sesame Street is filmed! Yes – Troggg found his way to Sesame Street! Sadly the Sesame Street Muppets are all on Summer vacation. But the studio lot was open for a street fair. So Troggg spent time entertaining the families and posing for photos.

NYC Puppets

NYC PuppetsNext door to the Kaufman Astoria Studio is the Museum of the Moving Image, where Craig Shemin (President of the Jim Henson Legacy) and Karen Falk (the Head Archivist of the Jim Henson Company) hosted a special compilation screening of some old and rare films by Jim Henson from the 1950s and 60s that had been restored. The event was called, “Henson in High Definition: The Early Years”. Troggg of course attended and met some new friends. While we waited for the presentation to start, a small crew from a New York marketing company asked if Troggg could appear in a quick video for them. NYC Puppets

After the screening, Brett and Troggg met up with John Papovitch and Milo J. Monster-Smith in the foyer. Many people posed for photos with the two monsters. Brett also spoke briefly with another Henson puppeteer, Noel MacNeal, who will be one of his teachers at the upcoming ‘Beyond the Sock’ puppetry workshop in Texas. Noel is most famous for performing Bear in “Bear in the Big Blue House”.

Squad Photo

NYC Puppets

A great weekend of puppets and Muppet fun in New York City!

NYC Puppets

 

StarNow and LinkedIn

Brett Hansen’s StarNow profile lists details on the various puppetry projects he’s been involved in through Larrikin Puppets, and in theatre, film and TV: http://www.starnow.com.au/LarrikinPuppets

The Larrikin Puppets LinkedIn company profile can be found here. You are most welcome to follow and share these profiles on social media.

 

 

4BC interview: ‘I Am Big Bird’ – Raising funds for cancer research

4BC radio interview – ‘I Am Big Bird’ – Raising funds for cancer research

September 2, 2015

Nick King

4BC radio interview

Troggg, Clare Blake and Brett Hansen in the 4BC Studio

 

 

4BC Afternoons would like to introduce you to Brett Hansen and Troggg.

And just to clarify Troggg is the blue one and yes, the middle ‘g’ is silent!

Both Brett and Troggg are from Larrikin Puppets and they dropped by to tell Clare Blake all about an upcoming film screening that will raise money for a very good cause.

The award winning film ‘I Am Big Bird: The Carroll Spinney Story’ documents the man who has played Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street since 1969 and understandably is very close to the hearts of both Brett and Troggg.

The screening aims to not only provide a night of entertainment but also to raise funds for The Queensland Centre for Gynecological Cancer Research.

A worthy cause which has touched Brett on a very personal level.

“My mum passed away in 2010, She had a very short battle with ovarian cancer, she went to the doctors with a sore tummy and by that time it was too late.”

“There isn’t any early detection methods and she had nine months from that diagnosis of ovarian cancer.”

This special screening will be hosted by Troggg (and Brett) and will be dedicated to the memory of Helen Jean Hansen.

                  Larrikin Puppets Presents ‘I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story

                                              7pm, Monday 14th September

                                 Event Cinemas, Myer Centre Brisbane City

                      Tickets are pre-purchase only and available by clicking here

Listen to the full interview with Clare Blake on 4BC Afternoons here.

I Am Big Bird: Brisbane’s only Screening!

I Am Big Bird Comes to Brisbane for One Night Only to help with Ovarian Cancer Research and Awareness

I Am Big Bird Brisbane

Larrikin Puppets presents Brisbane’s only screening of the award winning, “I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story”. This heartwarming film chronicles the life of Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who has performed Sesame Street’s Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since 1969.Where: Event Cinemas Myer Centre – Level 3 Myer Centre, 91 Elizabeth St, Brisbane.
When: 7pm, Monday 14 September 2015.

Tickets: $20. Only online at https://www.tugg.com/events/40270. There are currently 71 tickets remaining, and less than two weeks to secure those seats!

Funds being raised for ovarian cancer research and awareness through a raffle prize and 5% of ticket sales. The event is held in loving memory of Helen Jean Hansen (Brett’s Mum), who lost her very short battle with ovarian cancer in 2010. Chosen charity: QLD Centre for Gynaecological Cancer Research.

MC: Troggg (Brisbane’s own ‘Muppet’). He’s honoured to introduce this film about his heroes Big Bird and Oscar. Troggg’s handler (puppeteer Brett Hansen) is the eldest son of Helen.

For over 4 decades, Caroll’s characters have been cherished by generations of children. At 81 years old, the tenacious and enthusiastic performer has no intention of slowing down. I AM BIG BIRD features incredible footage of Spinney’s earliest collaborations with Jim Henson as it traces Caroll’s journey from bullied child to celebrated performer. This loving portrait peels away the instances that inspired his creation of Big Bird and as the yellow feathers give way to grey hair, it is the man, not the puppet, who will steal your heart.