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SCENE STEALER

Puppets take the stage in 'Paper Heart'

July 16, 2009|Patrick Kevin Day

Charlyne Yi, who co-wrote, executive produced and starred in the low-budget indie comedy "Paper Heart" (which screened at the Los Angeles Film Festival earlier this summer and will see limited release Aug. 7), came up with an inexpensive way to illustrate the true-life love stories of the interview subjects in her film: She used puppets, which she made herself. "I always enjoyed making puppets as a kid," Yi said. "I put on shows for my family. I'm sure they didn't think they were as interesting as I did." After shooting the live-action portion of the film -- a love story combining documentary and fantasy -- Yi holed up in her house to build the puppets for the vignettes throughout the film. Her father, Luciano Yi, helped her build the sets and, after much experimenting, they figured out the best way to pull off some ambitious effects. Over a series of 12-hour days in a rented warehouse, Yi used rear projection, marionettes, hand puppets, sock puppets and a complex wood contraption that simulated a flowing river. "My dad helped me with that," she said. "He cut all the wood for me." To see clips of two of the puppet vignettes, go to latimes.com/scenestealer.

-- Patrick Kevin Day

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