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A mini exhibit of puppets used in film and TV from the COPA Collection, curator Alan Cook


formerly The Conservatory of Puppetry Arts (COPA)

1062 N. Fair Oaks Avenue - Pasadena, CA 91103
phone - fax: 626-296-1536
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Public Relations - Articles


The Reel Story of Puppets;
Bringing Puppets to Films

Coordinated by Heather Henson and The Conservatory of Puppetry Arts, a project of Community Partners, in conjunction with the Newport Beach Film Festival took place on Saturday, April 23, 2005 at 9:30 am-11:30 am at The Edwards Cinema, Fashion Island, Newport Beach.

A Panel Seminar on Puppets in the Media
Independent filmmakers, working puppeteers and a puppet historian will discuss their perspectives on the art of bringing puppets to film.

Panelists included: 

  • Independent filmmakers, Heather Henson, Hoku Uchiyama,
  • Genevieve Anderson, Tim Lagasse and Steve Ritz-Barr, Mark Caballero and Seamus Walsh
  • Puppet Legend: Lyle Conway, lead designer on Henson projects including Dark Crystal and many others.
  • Historian and curator of COPA Alan Cook
  • Film Puppeteers, Christine Papalexis and Rob Saunders

The Newport Beach Film Festival is offered a full day of puppet related events, including a
workshop with Heather Henson celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Henson Co. and
screenings of Jim Henson’s films, including Dark Crystal and The Labyrinth,
presentation of a citation to the Henson Co by the mayor of Newport beach and a cake cutting.

George Kurtin, Beth Fernandez, Jackee Marks, Evey Brown, Heather Henson, John Waite, Gail Schluter, Alan Cook

Puppet Seminar and Puppet Films Presented at Newport Film Festival

Advocate and artist Heather Henson, presented a selection of short puppet films by independent artists exploring their puppet craft, specifically for the camera.

Henson's goal is to nurture a new generation of puppeteers who will embrace film as a medium for their individual expressions. Henson said, “I have looked for films that focus primarily on real-time performed puppetry, with an emphasis on character work. In doing so, I have pulled together an eclectic collection of contemporary artists who carefully weave both the craft of filming and puppetry in their work.”  Continuing, Henson added, “The films allow for artists to build their vision then breathe life into their dreams.” 

Before showing the films, Henson conducted a panel seminar including independent filmmakers; Hoku Uchiyama, Genevieve Anderson, Tim Lagasse and Steve Ritz-Barr, Mark Caballero and Seamus Walsh; puppet legend, Lyle Conway, lead designer on Henson projects, including Dark Crystal; historian and curator of COPA, Alan Cook;  and film puppeteers, Christine Papalexis and Rob Saunders.

The event was a learning experience on the rich diversity of the use of puppets in fillm. COPA would like to make these talented professionals more available to a larger audience by scheduling an encore event. T is an important and interesting subject for puppeteers and their advocates.

Please contact COPA if you would be interested in joining us for an evening of  puppet films and in meeting artists associated with puppet film production.


Throughout 2005, The Jim Henson Company will reach out to various communities around the US as well as several international outlets to honor the company’s continued mission to “make the world a better place by inspiring people to celebrate life.” The kick off for these plans will be at this year’s Newport Beach Film Festival
( on Saturday, April 23 rd, where two of Henson’s classic fantasy films The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth will screen at Edwards Island 7 Cinemas in Fashion Island along with a collection of short pieces by Jim Henson. Originally released in 1982 and 1986 respectively, the two innovative features were well ahead of their time in technical achievements for visual effects and have remained favorites for audiences around the world.

About The Jim Henson Company…

The Jim Henson Company, an established leader in family entertainment for half a century, is recognized worldwide as a leader in puppetry, animatronics and computer graphics. Best known as creators of the world famous Muppets (the rights to which are now owned by The Walt Disney Company), Henson is the recipient of nearly 50 Emmy Awards and nine Grammy Awards. Additionally, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™ has received two Academy Awards for the visual effects and animatronic builds for the 1996 smash Babe, and the invention of the Henson Performance Control System—a powerful, custom-built puppeteering mechanism. Recent projects include the Emmy nominated Farscape, the family film Good Boy! and the features Five Children and It and MirrorMask . Headquartered in Los Angeles with offices and production facilities in New York and London, t he company is currently in post production on the preschool series Francesand the television feature Muppets’ Wizard of Oz. The Jim Henson Company’s website is located at:

For more information contact the festival at (949) 253-2880

To continue the important job of conserving this world class puppet collection, IPM needs more storage space! We are looking for a unit or units to install on Alan Cook’s back lot. If you have or know of a source for clean and secure units that are free or reasonable, please contact : IPM (626) 296-1535


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