It’s not every day that you see a big star with real draw power getting involved in a reboot of an old children’s show. Okay, so there was that Garfield thing with Bill Murray, but we try to forget that one. But the year of 2015 brings us some rather interesting news. It appears as if Joseph Gordon-Levitt is ready to put his name on the Fraggle Rock franchise in more ways that one. Not only will he produce a movie adaptation, but he’ll also be starring in it. (more…)
That’s them. While this is still a Jim Henson Company show–just like the Fraggle Rock I grew up with and adored–THESE Doozers are CGI, not Muppets. Plus online video streaming service Hulu, who will be featuring the new series, seems to have the preschool audience in mind pretty exclusively. See the trailer and hear more from the Ghost Of Children’s Programming Past after the jump.
This is not a typical NerdBastards article, but this is something that we wanted to tell you about: a group of former Jim Henson Company puppeteers, people behind The Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock, who have come together to educate children in refugee camps through puppetry. They are No Strings International and they need a hand right now.
According to a report by NBC News, there are one million Syrian children living in refugee camps, displaced from their homes by a situation that may get worse before it gets better… if it ever gets better. 75% of those children are under the age of 11.
Some call them “The Lost Generation”. To borrow and contort a phrase, I can’t visualize what one million of anything looks like, but I can imagine the darkness caused by one million extinguished lights.
To save these kids from slipping away, there are certain things that they need: warmth, love, and food. These are basic things and there are living saints, aid workers, who are providing them, but they also need help coping with the shocking loss of everything that they have ever known.
Enter No Strings International, a not-for-profit organization with the ability to cut through language and cultural barriers while delivering a different kind of aid.
Comprised of puppeteers and aid workers, the people at No Strings are using puppets as a teaching tool in a way that should be familiar to anyone who grew up watching Sesame Street and similar shows. The difference is, these lessons are being taught in refugee camps all over the world and they are about land mine awareness, hygiene, HIV/AIDS, gender equality, natural disaster preparedness, and how to deal with trauma.
Created by former Muppet Show puppeteers Kathy Mullen and Michael Frith , and Johnie McGlade, an aid worker who stumbled onto the idea while using a puppet named Seamuss at a camp in the Sudan to communicate with both children and adults, No Strings International has made 13 short films in 24 languages for 14 countries.
Here is a look at some of their campaigns.
I had a chance to talk with Rosie Waller, the Programs Manager for No Strings via email as they try to secure financing for their work in the Syrian camps. Here’s Ms. Waller on what happens after these films are completed and ready to go to refugee camps in places like Afghanistan, Haiti, and Syria.
The next step is to host workshops in that part of the world, where we invite delegates from organisations dealing directly with children and young people, either in Syria, or living as part of the refugee community, so we can share best practice ideas about how to target the films and follow them up.
Our trauma-healing film in particular is very sensitive: children can respond on a profoundly emotional level because it deals with very difficult issues like loss and grief. It’s therefore vital that facilitators showing this film have the right additional tools so that it’s ultimately a very positive experience for those children. In addition, the No Strings workshop is co-led by a small team of exceptionally talented puppeteers, who share a range of techniques that local facilitators can use to help children explore feelings together in small groups.
With our peace-building film, puppetry is a tool young people can use to challenge the film’s inherent messages, and work through new ideas. These are techniques that we’ve shared in many parts of the world, and they’re a lot of fun as well as very effective.
As you can tell, No Strings goes above and beyond to craft these projects in a way that makes them as accessible as possible, and that extends to the look of the puppets that are used to reach the affected children. Here’s Ms. Waller on that process.
Working with a designer like Michael Frith, our puppets have a certain signature look. It’s important [that] they’re instantly appealing to children and full of character. There’s always a little whimsy to them, a charm, which draw audiences in. What’s also important is that they fully reflect the audience they’re designed for, and that they’re culturally appropriate, so we work closely with our partners in the field throughout the design stage.
To finish their latest batch of films and fully launch their program in those Syrian refugee camps, No Strings has taken to the internet and IndieGoGo.
With a little more than one day left and less than half of their $50,000 goal met, though, Ms. Waller is realistic when I ask her what will happen if they fall short of their goal.
We’re hoping to reach our IndieGoGo target, but we’ll be shooting the films whatever happens because we’re committed to them.
If you have an interest in checking out the No Strings International IndieGoGo, go here. To go to the No Strings website and read up on what they’ve done and why they do it, click here. You can also follow them on twitter.
As a possessor of somewhat odd tastes I rarely get to experience multiple things I like all at once. There is no baseball video game with a Tom Waits soundtrack and time travel puzzle solving, and rarely does porn include a healthy dose of 90s style sketch comedy or Aaron Sorkin written dialogue. Here though, below these meager words, lives a collection of assembled cool shit. A joyfulness jambalaya for me and those who dig what I dig.
Behold, Fraggles, The Ben Folds Five, a cute girl (Anna Kendrick), Nerdist, and Rob Corddry — all brought together for the Ben Folds Five video “Do it Anyway”. The cake icing? No Gorgs, man I hate Gorgs.
There, now wasn’t that amazing? It kinda reminded me of that old Weezer video for “Keep Fishing”* that had a horde of Muppets in it. Sadly, Weezer began sucking h-h-hard after the “Green Album” (or maybe during it), so here’s hoping Folds, Darren Jessee, and Robert Sledge don’t fall victim to the felt curse as well.
For those of you who are not quite sure what you just watched, here is a link to the Wiki definition of what a music video is. If you don’t know what Fraggles are, there is no help for you.
*I wrongly said the Weezer video was Island in the Sun. I was totally right about Weezer sucking now though.
Looks like we’ll be heading down to Fraggle Rock after all. The long road the Jim Henson Muppet creation has been taking to the big screen has seen a little movement according to The Hollywood Report. The Jim Henson Co. and Montecito Picture Co. are producing the big screen adaption and have hired writers Jim Byrkit and Alex Manugian to pen the script. The pairs best know project is last year’s Oscar-winning animated lizard based western Rango.
After the success of The Muppets, it goes without saying this project could be fast tracked to hit screens and make the cash register ring.
Source: Cinema Blend
Jim Henson’s other puppet related show, Fraggle Rock, has been in production hell since it was optioned as a film back in 2005. It’s been moved from studio to studio.The Weinstein’s were the last ones messing around with it. Today however, Deadline has reported that New Regency, the same studio behind the revived Alvin and the Chipmunks franchise, has won the rights to bring the Henson property to theaters. The Jim Henson Company and the Montecito Picture Company are serving as producers on the project.
Fraggle Rock first premiered on HBO in 1983, and ran for five seasons. The story followed “puppet characters Gobo, Wembley, Mokey, Boober and Red, who lived in Fraggle Rock. They interacted with humans who thought they were aliens.” Currently, there is no word on whether the film will continue the use of actual puppets like The Muppets or be a mixture of CG and live action filming. A writer is being sought now to properly craft the story.
Fraggle Rock was a little after my time. Still, I’ve loved what little I’ve seen over the years. Much like the Muppets, the fraggles have a HUGE cult following. Fan or no fan, I don’t think anyone wants this franchise to get the Alvin and the Chipmunks treatment (shit script/director, poor vision). Personally, I think only Brian Henson has any business directing this.
Best to see how well The Muppets does.
Once there was a time when not one but two muppet movies were going to be hitting the screen together this year, sadly this is no longer the case. Cory Edwards (Hoodwinked) was set to write and direct the film for The Weinstein Company which then stalled after the company wanted an older and edgier movie. You don’t screw with the true classics and Edwards thought the same causing the project to stall. The last we even heard about the film from the writer/director:
“There’s nothing to report except that The Weinstein Company has everything they need to move forward, and the ball is in their court. They’ve talked about getting a new writer, which I’m willing to do. They’ve talked about starting over from scratch, which I’m willing to do. But I have not heard a peep from their camp in almost a year.”
All isn’t lost however as it seems “The Rock” has started rolling once again from the most unlikely of sources: New York city’s own Scissor Sisters.
The big screen adaptation of Fraggle Rock has been kicking around pre-production hell for some time now. Why it hasn’t made any progress I don’t know, now is the time to adapt properties from the 80s, everyone else is. But it seems if we have anyone to blame it’s The Weinstein Company. Cory Edwards is attached to direct the Fraggle Rock movie and he’s made a post on his blog explaining the delay,
Many, many, many of you have repeatedly asked for some kind of update on the Fraggle Rock movie. The truth is, I got nothin’. There’s nothing to report except that The Weintstein Company has everything they need to move forward, and the ball is in their court. They’ve talked about getting a new writer, which I’m willing to do. They’ve talked about starting over from scratch, which I’m willing to do. But I have not heard a peep from their camp in almost a year. I completely sympathize with all of you that are waiting for a movie, but let’s all remember that the next best thing to making a Fraggle movie is avoiding making a BAD ONE. So at least we’re doing that. Until something new happens to awaken the project from its deep coma, we can at least enjoy the untainted TV series on DVD and The Hub Network. As for me, I’m already working on new things. I hope you’ll stick around and check in here… I’ll be announcing my next project very, very soon.
It’s also possible The Weinstein Company is waiting to see how Edward’s next film, Hoodwinked Too! a sequel to his the first Hoodwinked film he directed, performs before they make a final decision to go forward. Or maybe they’re waiting to see is Disney’s upcoming Muppet movie starring Jason Segal is a hit before they decide to make their own puppet movie. Who knows, it’s Hollywood and the logical answer is rarely the right answer.
I’d be thrilled to see a Fraggle Rock movie but I also fear they’d just muck it up. Fraggle Rock is brilliant as it is and attempting to gear it for more mature audience will only ruin it. Sadly, I’m sure to be in the minority because not making a Fraggle Rock movie also does not make money. In the meantime you can enjoy classic Fraggle Rock on channels like The Hub, so we’ve go that going for us, right?