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Clay With Me

Behind the scenes with Wallace and Gromit.

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Wallace and Gromit got two thumbs up last month. First, the befuddled British inventor and his sensible dog, stars of Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, brought home an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature. And the Museum of the Moving Image announced its midwinter recess exhibit, “Get Animated With Wallace & Gromit,” where kids can learn about the painstaking process of constructing a Claymation film.

It took director-screenwriter Nick Park seven years to make A Grand Day Out, the first of the three short W&G films that preceded Were-Rabbit, and another five to make the full-length feature. Like-minded kids at the museum in Astoria will produce their own stop-motion animation, learn the art of audio mixing, and watch museum educators demonstrate the all-important editing process. For inspiration, the museum will screen all three W&G shorts, along with Were-Rabbit, throughout the week. “I think we’re at the top of our game,” says Park about the state of handcrafted animation, which dominated the Oscar announcements (the other two Best Animated Feature contenders are Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle, both of which also stick to traditional methods along with the use of computers). “There’s room for everybody, and there’s a future for Wallace and Gromit”—never mind that the movie was a relatively modest moneymaker. Will Park finally answer fans’ requests for a W&G TV series? “Way too demanding,” he says, adding that he can’t talk about the characters’ next appearance. “But I couldn’t imagine life without them.”

Museum of the Moving Image, 35th Ave. at 36th St., nr. Steinway St., Astoria (718-784-4520 or movingimage.us); $10 grown-ups, $7.50 seniors and college students, $5 kids 5–18, free for youngers.


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