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‘Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio’ co-director namechecks Manchester puppeteers in BAFTA acceptance speech

Gustafson, speaking, and del Toro, right, at the BAFTAs. BAFTA/YouTube

The co-director of Guillermo del Toro’s film adaptation of Pinocchio thanked the Manchester puppet makers who created the film’s characters while picking up the Best Animated Film Award at the glitzy ceremony at London’s Southbank last night.

Collecting the award alongside Oscar winner del Toro, co-director Mark Gustafson turned his attention to Altrincham-based MacKinnon and Sauders when he said: “This film required hundreds of people and we poured ourselves into this…The team in Guadalajara and also in Manchester, our puppet makers, it’s a huge effort.”

Gustafson and del Toro at last night’s awards

Mackinnon and Saunders made the original puppets for the film, and first began working on it way back in 2008, when the longstanding puppeteers behind the likes of Bob the Builder and Mars Attacks! made early prototypes for del Toro and co.

In his own acceptance speech, del Toro said: “Animation is not a genre for kids. It’s a medium for art, it’s a medium for film and I think animation should stay in the conversation.” He went on to thank Netflix “for thinking that a musical of Pinocchio, about life and death, where everybody dies at the end, during the rise of Mussolini, was a good idea.”

The film was also nominated for Best Production Score and Best Score, which it lost to All Quiet on the Western Front and Babylon, respectively. It is also up for Best Animated Feature Film at the Oscars next month.

Look out for an exclusive behind the scenes look at the making of Pinnochio’s puppets in Prolific North soon.

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