In the Studio with Kirsten Lepore

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Kirsten Lepore is an artist and filmmaker who works with different animation techniques, including stop-motion animation and claymation. Creating personal short films and animated segments for clients such as Yo Gabba Gabba, Whole Foods, and MTV, Lepore is known for her hand-fabricated film sets and characters made from an eclectic mix of materials including clay, food, sand and snow. Her wildly popular food-themed film, Sweet Dreams, stars a butternut squash who shows a cupcake the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. The award-winning film is remarkable in its production design, art direction, and wordless storytelling style. We visited Lepore at her Los Angeles studio to learn more about the intentions behind her food-focused film, the unusual materials she works with to create her animations, and why she loves the laborious process of stop-motion animation.

Kirsten Lepore also gave us a hands-on demonstration of her preferred techniques for creating claymation. Lepore's technical set-up is sophisticated, but the animation process is simple and can be recreated using digital cameras and editing programs like iMovie and iStopMotion. Even flipbooks are a form of animation.

Check out Kirsten's popular films, Sweet Dreams and Bottle, and share them with your students after introducing her work in your classroom. Because these two films don't have dialogue, the possibilities for interpretation are wide open, and the films are perfect examples of media that is accessible to students of all ages that they can critically engage with. Check out more examples of Kirsten's amazing film work on her Vimeo channel.


Keep an eye out for KQED's next workshop in how to create stop-motion animation, and check out some of the claymation projects made by teachers in our past workshops.