The Kiwi animator behind Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs

The films of Wes Anderson have gained an almost cult-like status among his fans - and his decision to return to telling stories through stop-motion animation has been welcomed with open arms.

Leading the charge on his latest film Isle of Dogs is Christchurch animator Antony Elworthy. 

His plasticine creations aren't destined for his son's toy box, they end up in Oscar-nominated films directed by the likes of Tim Burton and right now, Wes Anderson.

Unmistakably quintessentially Isle of Dogs is a very different beast to his stop-motion classic Fantastic Mr Fox.

But at its heart, of course, this very same creative process fills the characters' veins, colours and drives the narrative - and ultimately brings his story to cinematic life.

Set in Japan 20 years from now, the heroes of this wagging tail are the dogs of Megasaki City banished to Trash Island.

"Well it's very Wes Anderson isn't it?" Mr Elworthy says.

"It's almost like with each of his films he gets more and more Wes. A lot of animators find it a little bit challenging, when they come into that world - in a lot of other jobs you're encouraged to make the movement as naturalistic as possible all of the time.

"Whereas Wes isnt really interested in that, no, he asks you to make a movement of a puppet that no natural critter would actually make."

Mr Elworthy says the process is "very simple" once you get to know what Anderson wants. He and his small team spend their days tucked away in a small studio in Ferrymead Christchurch making old-school animation.

And you too can fall in love with these handmade canine creations right now, as Isle of Dogs has just opened in cinemas in New Zealand.


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