SUMMARY: Ash Lad tries to build a flying ship for the King in order to win the reward of half the kingdom and the princess.
WHY IT’S HERE: An animation celebrity in his native Norway, where his brilliant 1975 feature animation ‘Pinchcliffe Grand Prix’ became the biggest box office hit the country had ever seen, Ivo Caprino is sadly little known elsewhere. This is a tragedy, as his magical stop-motion puppet films are instantly appealing to all age groups. Tapping into a classic folk-tale atmosphere, ‘Ash Lad and the Good Helpers’ is a fifteen minute gem which follows the adventures of the titular Ash Lad in his flying ship. The puppets are wonderfully life-like and the sets are incredible, creating the illusion of epic scope in miniature. Caprino’s direction is exquisite, brining the tale to life effortlessly in a way that pre-empts his astonishing work on ‘Pinchcliffe Grand Prix’, which is still a regular Christmas favourite in Norway, as are Caprino’s preceding shorts. I urge any animation fan to go out and discover him for themselves.