Drawn by wee Brits, The Itch of the Golden Nit hits kids fest
As any parent knows, it’s hard enough to get two children out the door in the morning. Now imagine getting 34,000 British schoolchildren to create an animated movie from scratch.
That’s exactly what the Tate Modern gallery and Aardman Animation (the Brit team behind Wallace and Gromit) did for the Cultural Olympiad. And the wonderfully warped result is seeing its North American premiere here at the Vancouver International Children’s Festival from next Thursday to Sunday (May 31 to June 3).
“What’s special about it—other than the fact that children made it—is it won’t get a general release,” says festival artistic and executive director Katharine Carol.
The cartoon, called The Itch of the Golden Nit, is a twisted tale about an alien nit that powers the sun, complete with pirates, mermaids, and talking planets. In it, bored 11-year-old Beanie must save the Earth from an evil intergalactic villain named Stella. The kids’ detailed drawings are all rendered with rich, colourful depth, but the producers were careful not to interfere with the schoolchildren’s ideas: the kids took part in workshops at the four Tates and other galleries around Britain, as well as at a truck that visited 55 locations. It scored a Guinness World Record for the most individual contributions to an animated film.
“The biggest thing is the professionals involved so clearly kept the integrity of the children’s work,” Carol says. “When you hear the characters speaking—especially the dad, who’s so uncool and singing—you know that only a child could come up with that.”