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Friday, February 21, 2014

Talk to the Hand: Actor Papa Cloudy on BAMkids Film Festival

by Tamar MacKay and Akiko McQuerrey

This weekend, BAMkids, in association with the International Children's Media Center and curator Nicole Dreiske, will present the 16th annual BAMkids Film Festival, a weekend of fun, flipbooks, and films. We were lucky enough to catch up with Papa Cloudy, star of Papa Cloudy's Restaurant that will be featured in the shorts program Recipe for Love.

Photo: Akiko McQuerrey

Papa Cloudy, thank you so much for meeting with us today! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What kind of puppet are you?
Thanks for having me! It is really wonderful to be here. First of all―I will say that the title of your post, Talk to the Hand, is, in this case, inaccurate!  I am a stop motion puppet, and we have a very different structure to, lets say, a stuffed animal or hand puppet. The most important characteristic of a stop motion puppet is being able to bend and stay in the shape on our own―we don’t have a puppeteer. I am one of the many stop motion puppets that will be included in the film festival, which includes hedgehogs in Hedgehogs in the City and a chicken in Miriam's Kite!

Stop motion puppets really rain supreme! Can you tell us what shooting your film was like?
It takes a very long time to make a stop motion film. We took about 8,000 shots, or pictures, for the film. Then the animator put together the pictures to create the actions and movement of the story. It’s very important for a stop motion puppet to be durable enough to withstand the long shoots we go through.

What's it like being a film star?
I’m not rich and famous yet, so I haven't begun acting bizarrely! But who knows, you might see me on Page Six pretty soon! (laughs) I’m pretty much a working class clod―I mean―cloud. It’s been great working in film. I have been given an opportunity to travel and meet kids in different cities. I have traveled to Amsterdam, Providence, and Chicago so far. I suppose the sky really is the limit—maybe not even that!

What excites you most about BKFF?
I’m from Brooklyn so I'm looking forward to a screening in my hometown, and meeting the kids and families who have come to see some amazing screenings!

What films are you looking forward to seeing?
I loved the film Cloudette, about the little cloud in the sky. What a lovely wisp of condensation! The message that you can never be too small to make a difference really moved me―it made me misty. Also... do you think I can meet her?

The BAMkids Film Festival runs this weekend, February 22 & 23. Papa Cloudy and filmmaker Akiko McQuerrey will be at the festival on Sun Feb 23.

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