The Fox and the Chickadee

This charming stop-motion animated fable tells the story of a starving fox and a cunning chickadee, who find themselves trapped in a standoff. Without chance on his side, the chickadee turns the tables on the fox by proposing a plan that would feed him for the winter (instead of just a 'snack'). But there's a catch: the two will need to work together to steal the feast.

I wrote this children's fable back in 2008- around the same time I started working as a stop-motion animator. While building on my animation skills in a studio environment, I continued developing this story, until in 2011 I finally decided to go ahead to produce it myself.

Although I had made short films before, I knew I couldn't do this one alone in my basement. So, through my connection to Cuppa Coffee animation studio in Toronto, I put together a team of stop-motion specialists to work on this project. These dedicated individuals are the best in their field, and signed on to this project in support of a good story with a low-budget. This was also my first time running an IndieGoGo fundraising campaign, with which we managed to raise over $2000 from the generous support of friends and family. Along with some additional funding from the National Film Board of Canada, I secured enough to get started. Starting in July, we set up shop in a corner of Cuppa Coffee's studios, and shot the 7 minute film over the next 5 months.

The film premiered at the Montreal World Film Festival - 2012, and has since played in festivals around the world. There's a festival list below, along with a trailer and some making-of vignettes. The film is being distributed worldwide by The National Film Board of Canada, so you can follow the link below to watch the entire film.

Available online through the NFB, for a rental fee of $4. Click here to view.

Official Selection- Bristol Encounters Film Festival 2012 Official Selection- Ottawa International Animation Festival 2012 Official Selection- Burlington Animation Festival 2012 Official Selection- SoDak Animation Festival 2012 Official Selection- Austin Film Festival 2012 Official Selection- Montreal Stop Motion Film Festival 2012 Official Selection- Montreal World Film Festival 2012 Youth Audience Selection- Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival 2013 Official Selection- Madeira Film Festival 2013 Official Selection- New York International Children's Film Festival 2013 Official Selection- Flatpack Film Festival 2013 Official Selection- Real 2 Reel International Film Festival for Youth 2013 Official Selection- Viewfinders Internationl Film Festival for Youth 2013 Official Selection- TIFF Kids International Film Festival 2013 Out of Competition- Annecy International Animation Film Festival 2013 Official Selection- Northwest Animation Festival 2013 Official Selection- Boston International Children's Film Festival 2013 Official Selection- Toronto International Animated Arts Festival International 2013 Official Selection- Australian International Animation Festival 2013 Official Selection- Seoul International Cartoon and Animation Festival 2013 Official Selection- Waterfront Film Festival 2013 Official Selection- Curtas Vila do Conde 2013 Official Selection- Melbourne International Animation Festival 2013 Official Selection- LUCAS International Children's Film Festival 2013 Official Selection- Bumbershoot Arts Festival 2013 Official Selection- Milwaukee Film Festival 2013 Official Selection- KUKI International Short Film Festival for Youth, Berlin 2013 Se-Ma-For International Stop-motion Festival 2013, Winner of the Children's Jury -Special Mention- Sitges Film Festival, Barcelona 2013 El Meu Primer Festival, Barcelona 2013 Animax Skopje Animation Festival, Macedonia 2013 Tokyo Anime Award Festival 2014: Hero's Award

Trailer

  • Writer/Director/Animator: Evan DeRushie
  • Co-writer: Daniel Warth
  • Additional story: Zazu Myers
  • Starring: Kathy Philson and Paul Aspland
  • Puppets: Graham Read, Bonnie Burns and Karen Valleau
  • Additional animation: Mike DeCroock and Philip Eddolls
  • Sets: Winston Hacking
  • Props: Martin MacPherson
  • Paper design: Zazu Myers
  • Character design: Nataly Kim
  • Music: Bram Gielen

Making a Fable

A complete look behind the scenes of the short. Step inside the studio space at Cuppa Coffee, where we set up shop for 5 months, and see some of the people involved in the quiet craft of stop-motion. You'll also see the inner-workings of the fox puppet, and catch a glimpse of the paper-cutout set.

It's difficult to paint a picture of all the work that goes into an animated film, but hopefully this featurette highlights some of the more glamorous moments of this hand-made process.

Making a Chickadee

Building a life-sized bird puppet that functions like the real thing is no small task. While its an animator's job to bring the puppet to life, it's the puppet builder that engineers the movement. The puppets are the stars of our films, and they need to endure months of slow "performances," all while being dragged through the fake snow.

Here, armaturist Graham Read briefly talks us through some of the challenges he faced with the Chickadee. Check out his blog for in-progress photos of the puppets and more.

Making a Forest

The ability to see and touch the sets and characters of my film is the reason I love working in stop-motion. Standing inside of this set, with all of it's icy branches and fungi, it wasn't difficult to imagine myself inside of the forest; part of the story.

A closer look will reveal the illusion, though: cardboard, foam and cotton, all arranged by the careful eye of Winston Hacking, art director.

Other Work

Tell

Coffee Art

MTV Promo

Kraft Fruit Krisps

Conduit

Monsters!

Do Real Work.

The Boy with No Return Address

Pig Tale

Akasha

Fourth of July

Kid Dream

It Won't Be Long

Not So Perfect

Punch Drysdale

Don't Think, Just Hate