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A&E Spotlight

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Raleigh's First Friday gallery walk this week offers a unique opportunity to see the behind-the-scenes workings of a filmmaker's studio, when various set elements for a locally produced animated film will be on view at Litmus Studios in downtown Raleigh. The film, The Firefly Man, is a pagan fairy tale, told without dialogue, that embraces the cycle of life and death through Southern gothic symbols. Written and directed by Raleigh artist Todd Fjelsted (see the June 20, 2001 feature story "Foreign Exchanges," available at www.indyweek.com), the 12-minute short unites many of the media he has worked in over the years: painting, sculpture, assemblage, photography and the 18th-century form of Japanese puppetry known as bunraku. Fjelsted updates layering techniques employed in early Disney films like Pinocchio and Snow White by shooting the sets and puppets on digital video and layering them with 2D and 3D digital animation. The progress of the physical and digital models will be on view this Friday, as well as an early animatic (a sequenced storyboard version used as a blueprint for the final shots). Members of the growing production crew involved with the project, who call themselves Graveyard Machine, will be on hand from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. to present the work and take questions. Litmus Studios is located at the corner of McDowell and Cabarrus streets. Call 834-6582 for details.

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