Barney & Quackers

April 25, 2013

Indie Film: Young director has her ducks in order


One of my chief joys of writing this column is the opportunity to talk to the Maine filmmakers of tomorrow.

click image to enlarge

Georgia Lobozzo’s claymation film, “Barney & Quackers,” was a winner at the recent Portland Children’s Film Festival.

Courtesy of Jayson Lobozzo




Monday: "Girl Rising." Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, Selena Gomez, Liam Neeson and Cate Blanchette are among the actresses lending their voices to this harrowing and ultimately inspiring documentary about various girls around the world overcoming some of the worst possible circumstances.

Tuesday: "A Place at the Table." The Nick brings in another thought-provoking documentary about children, this time concerning some of the one-in-five American kids suffering from "food insecurity" (aka not knowing where their next meal is coming from). From the producers of "Food, Inc.," and narrated by Jeff Bridges.

Or, you know, the day after tomorrow.

Meet Georgia Lobozzo, who won the Portland Children's Film Festival's young filmmakers contest, K-2nd grade division, earlier this month.

Her film, "Barney & Quackers," is a charming claymation short about a bear and a duck who are friends in spite of their natures and whose adventures include having a game of catch, getting into trouble with some bees and discovering a cave full of other animals all hiding from a scary alligator.

It's adorable and inventive (I especially like how she visualizes the animals entering doors), and was chosen out of the 49 films submitted to this year's PCFF in its age group.

I recently spoke to Georgia (alongside her dad, local filmmaker Jayson Lobozzo) over speakerphone.

Hi, Georgia. Thanks so much for talking to me.

OK. Are there going to be a lot of questions?

Not too many. First, can I ask how old you are and where you go to school?

I'm 6, and I go to the Pond Cove School in Cape Elizabeth.

How did you decide to send your film in to the festival?

Daddy told me there was a film festival coming up and we should think about it, and we did. That's that question.

What made you want to do a claymation film?

I've seen lots of claymation movies and thought, "I can make one of my own."

What are your favorite claymation movies?

"Wallace and Gromit." And "Chicken Run."

How did you come up with the story for "Barney & Quackers"?

The story -- usually I think of animals because I like animals. (Writer's note: Spoilers ahead!)

Barney asks Quackers to go get something, they walk past a bunny, and then they play ball, and then keep walking. There's an alligator in a cave, and then Quackers finds a door, and then at one part, I think, there's this giraffe, and then at the end, we see the bunny and a penguin, and they go and get honey, and a bee stings Barney on the head, and that's funny and then they go. The end.

Claymation takes a long time. How long did it take you to make the movie?

Georgia: Eight hours total, over a couple of weeks.

Jayson: Maybe a month total, all on the iPhone.

Georgia: We had to move it a lot, because my mom had to work out. We shot in the living room and the kitchen and the playroom. All on the coffee table.

Was it clay?

Play-Doh. We kept them in little cases so they wouldn't dry out.

The music is great. How did you pick it?

Jayson: We went to

Georgia: I like variety. Because the thing was so short, so I thought we could do different music. So we did.

Your movie was shown on the big screen. How was that?

It felt really good. It was at the Nickelodeon. There were a lot of people there, I couldn't count them all. I think they could have laughed. I forgot. (Asking her dad): They liked it, didn't they? Yeah, they did like it.

Are you going to make more movies?

Someday. I'm going to make some in paintings.

Like cartoons?

Yeah. I'm a pretty good drawer.

Grateful to be done talking to some weirdo over the phone, Georgia handed me off to Jayson, who talked about Georgia's creative process.

"I really wanted her to do some voices," he said, "but she was just so adamant about having it be what it was. We tried to keep the purity of her vision and have it be representative of what she wanted it to be."

Sounds like a real director to me.

Dennis Perkins is a Portland freelance writer.

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