Liberty and Justice – the movie!

LIBERTY and JUSTICE: A Cautionary Tale in the Land of the Free

What happens when a pair of lost citizens wander in the deep dark woods in search of a new leader? In this satirical take-off of the traditional folk tale, “Hansel and Gretel, the wordless story follows protagonists Liberty and Justice as they negotiate the challenges of today’s unique political landscape, while being shadowed by a persistent Twitter bird. The 13 min. movie is at the end of this post.

The film features an ensemble of old and new cast members from the Wee Folk Players theater troupe, who formed soon after the 2016 election. Other posts about the Liberty and Justice animation project include “Liberty and Justice” in process, All that Glitters, America First Ladystop-motion in action and Animated Film Logo. In this interview, I reflect on my foray into political satire and describe how speaking out through art has affected my work and life.

After about a year filming in the basement, where our animation stage is set up, my husband Rob Goldsborough and I are thrilled to share the fruits of our labor! It’s the first large joint artistic/technical venture we’ve undertaken in almost 40 years together. We used stop-motion animation to create the narrative, spending countless hours manipulating and photographing the characters and props so that they appear to move on their own when the series of frames is played in fast sequence.

We each had our field of expertise – I made all of the dolls and scenery and did the animating, while Rob contributed his talents in photography, lighting, computers and editing. Rob, a retired engineer from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has had a life-long interest in photography and film-making. He and I have wanted to bring my wee folk characters to life through animation for many years – we just needed a compelling reason to jump in.

For a framework, I drew a basic story board that grew and developed over time. Every night at dinner, we discussed ideas for different camera angles and how we were going to film the next shot. What was supposed to be a fun summer adventure, ended up becoming a big part of our lives for a whole year! The more we learned, the more invested we became in the project. Luckily, we are both detail oriented and not very chatty, so spending hours on end in silent concentration, filming what would become 5 to 20 sec. scenes was not a problem. I calculated that at 24 frames per second, our 13 min. 32 sec. animation is made up of almost 20,000 individual photographs. Even though the project was incredibly time consuming, we loved working this way and would like to make more animated films in the future. But right now, I have to get back to working on a new children’s book, which you can see progressing here.

A highlight of the project has been finding and working with the musicians who produced the original score for the movie. Rob and I filmed about 100 silent scenes, knowing all along that music and sound effects would be an integral part of the finished film. Through friends, we were lucky to connect with Matthias and Carlaa local Woods Hole couple who specialize in this kind of work. I mean, what are the chances of us living just a few miles from each other in a small town on Cape Cod?

We are thrilled with what they’ve created for the soundtrack! They took our movie and ran with it, blending together many layers and styles into a carpet of sound that propels the story along, creating the right mood for each scene. Their sound production company, Stellwagen Symphonette, creates evocative instrumental music for radio, film and computer games. Drummer and pianist Matthias Bossi, violinist Carla Kihlsted and guitarist and engineer Jon Evans bring together many years of experience writing, performing and recording music. If you listen to NPR, you’ve heard their music embedded in stories from time to time. Their clients include This American Life, The Moth Radio Hour, Atlantic Public Media, Transom.org and Frontline Dispatch. 

We hope you enjoy watching the movie!

To keep up with new posts, subscribe to this blog (top right column on the home page). If you’d like to see more frequent photos tracking the projects in my studio, please follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram.

47 thoughts on “Liberty and Justice – the movie!

  1. OMG!!! This is stupendous!!! I love the movie so much! All you work has paid off. This needs to be out there!! I am sharing!!!!!

  2. Congratulations! You did a wonderful job depicting how we got into this mess with politics in America. I hope we can still have a happy ending in our future. Love the Mike Pence character.

  3. Salley — That was marvelous… and chilling — an ingenious way to convey such a disturbing chain of events. I know this video entailed an enormous amount work, but it was clearly worth the effort. And the musical accompaniment was absolutely perfect in every way. (I wonder whether the perpetrator-in-chief will be tweeting vicious messages about little dolls stitched from felt some time soon.)
    mb

  4. Wonderful, a true labor of love! I hope your film is nominated for an Oscar. If there is not a category for it they need to create one for your film. Wonderful, just wonderful!

  5. Salley, the effort you and Rob put forth to make this film is so admirable. I’m in awe of how you have used your artistry to create such a potent commentary about the state of our country. Mike Pence made me laugh out loud, but then cringe. The use of the sheep to point out the racial and cultural divides is brilliant. Bravi to you both!

  6. Just tried the links on YouTube and Vimeo..neither worked..Sure it is a glitch that you will fix …can’t wait to watch Cheers Jacqueline

    Sent from my iPad

    >

      • Glad you are entering it in festivals. This film deserves a wide audience. It makes a point (and the dolls themselves and sets are amazing).

      • Ah… I was going to suggest that you enter it. It’s amazing! I can’t even begin to imagine what goes into something like this… What a team you two are! Your work, of course, is always exceptional, but how cool that your husband has the perfect skills to partner with you on this. Fantastic!

  7. Thank you, dear Salley and Rob! Also for the fun showing at your house on Sunday. Quite amazing, the whole movie!!! Cheers, Maria

  8. Hello Salley,

    I cannot watch the video on youtube, but your email suggests that it could be. Will that link be available later?

    Thanks, Thea Church

  9. You and Rob have created something that’s truly amazing!! The message comes through loud and clear — thank you.

  10. Watched your film. So much work and all conveyed sooo much. Loved Melania’s figure, her shoes and wiggling foot! Trump certainly looked like trump – with his cheap looking red hats I hate.
    Putin was fantastic!! And the costuming on trump as all the “rulers” were fabulous. I will watch again. Congratulations on a wonderful commentary.

  11. Your work is absolutely amazing and it really sets an amazing dark mood through the woods. It’s very realistic and wonderful three-dimension! I can only imagine the time and patience you both gave to this project. So, so fabulous! And thank you for the message…

  12. I’d love to watch it but both Vimeo and YouTube said it was not available. Is anyone else having that problem?

    Judy Gaynes Sebastian

    >

  13. 😆. if you ever have time (?), ck out her previous political scenarios. she did a whole bunch of vignettes, and the creation of the figures and the set ups are amazing. i saw the birds in person and it would blow you away. coming over soon? friday?

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  14. Even though you’ve been teasing us for ages with your work-in-progress photos, nothing could have prepared me for how magical the finished movie is. The animation takes the characters to a whole new level. Brilliant. Well worth all the hard work. Definitely going to watch this again and again.

  15. Wow, Salley and Rob, this is really astounding. It is so beautiful to look at (I love moving through those forests), funny (that elephant scene with Pence and his bucket of sh*t), and so impressively skilled, as always (beautiful stitching, uncanny likenesses). And the soundtrack is perfect! I’m glad you will enter this in festivals so that it can reap the honors it deserves. Since you began this project I have been inspired by your urge to use your gifts to make a statement. What a labor of love. Thank you.

    Filled with admiration, Elizabeth Stubbs

  16. Wow!! So many little touches–the Burma Shave sign; the sheep with the red hats; the Russian nesting dolls and the troll dolls–Just fabulous!! I hope you will submit this somewhere so you can get national recognition–Hollywood would love this!!

    • Thank you Ann, I’m glad you like it. Right now, the movie is set up to only be seen on this blog, within the context of my artwork. You may share a link to this post, if you like.

  17. Congratulations Sally and Rob on an amazing piece of art. From an outsider (British!) this really does depict the situation you find yourselves in over the pond. The costumes and animation are incredible. Your hard work has paid off. Good luck with the film festivals – if I were a judge you would win, hands down! Well done!.

  18. Ditto to all of the comments above. I must say, you have created an amazing piece of work! It was well worth the wait. We need to make the Academy of Motion Pictures aware of this superb stop-animation video. It is that good. It is great! Happy that you have submitted to the film festivals (plural?) Someone will take notice of this amazing body of work, both in the film and stitch world. I’m going to pass it along to those who appreciate political satire along with stitching. You are simply amazing. Such a talent!

  19. Congratulations! You and your husband have managed to say mouthfuls in a short non verbal piece. Can’t imagine the time and patience put forth from beginning to end. It’s great.

  20. Congratulations on your achievement! You folks put together something amazing. I showed it to my husband, who wasn’t familiar with your work, and he was blown away by both the medium and the message. Apart from being wonderstruck by all the incredible work and thought that went into the film, I’m really caught by how irrelevant Bannon has become since you started the project, and how Putin looms large as ever. It just goes to show how mercurial the whole situation is.

  21. I’ve watched this multiple times now, each time admiring a different detail. I realized today that Stellwagen Symphonette did a terrific job of providing “evocative” music and sound effects. It all fits into the movie so seamlessly. It adds just the right touch of added dimension to the story without being overwhelming or distracting, as a good soundtrack should. Every detail of the movie was well thought out and rich with meaning. Enjoying it immensely.

  22. Wowza!! The detail in both your fiber art work – wee folks is outstanding! The lighting, filming & story is very creative & incredible!
    I’ve been following you for awhile Sally !!!
    This is truly an outstanding work of art & heart!!
    Thank you sooo much for posting

    💗💐🌼🌸🌹🌼🌷🌺💐💗

  23. Just absolutely wonderful. Even with reading your posts and watching your progress, I am amazed at the amount of work and planning that went into this project. It’s fabulous. Thank you!

  24. Enjoyed seeing your work on the costumes and background, however, it’s hard for me to understand how you could work for a year developing this video with so much hate. Do you
    know that hate is very unhealthy for your well-being, it’s destructive. Also, what are you teaching
    children that hate is okay, sad! sad!. I would definitely never let my grandchildren view this video,
    respect for one another is a thing of the past, how unfortunate.

    • Thank you for expressing your opinion, Theresa. I find it curious that you describe the movie as hateful. It tells the story of our time, as a cautionary tale with a warning not to be fooled by false promises. I certainly respect your judgement about what is appropriate and what is not for your grandchildren. Is the movie critical? Yes. Is is full of worry and concern for the future of our democracy? Yes. But hateful it is not.

  25. Absolutely loved it, Salley and Rob! I think my favorite part was at the end when Trump changes into all the different characters/tyrants! Bravo! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s