FRESH OFF THE TOAST
In this handcrafted epic puppet film, a lone samurai and his odd companion, a cursed severed head, seek vengeance in a haunted world.
'Lost in a bamboo forest, his Shogun murdered by an evil supernatural force, a lone samurai collapses to his knees with an anguished cry. Disgraced and humiliated at having failed to save his Master, the Samurai prepares to commit seppuku. But a voice stops him. A voice emanating from a cursed severed head who offers to guide the Samurai on a quest for vengeance. Thus begins the tale of...'The Haunted Swordsman'.
This short film is only a single chapter in an epic tale of a lone samurai and his odd guide, the cursed severed head of another samurai, as they traverse a world of mythical creatures and nightmares of folklore...
For each new short film chapter, director Kevin McTurk will bring together his team of professional puppeteers, camera and lighting technicians, top creature effects artists, amazing voice talent and phenomenal sound designers and musicians, to create a visually captivating tale of revenge, honor, love, and betrayal.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Kevin McTurk | Director
A professional creature effects artist, cinematographer, model maker, and puppeteer, Kevin McTurk has been working in the effects industry for over 20 years. In 1992 he began his career in special make-up effects at Stan Winston Studios, working on Batman Returns, Interview with a Vampire, and the Jurassic Park films. He has worked for many effects companies over the years, including the Jim Henson Creature Shop, Amalgamated Dynamics, Spectral Motion, New Deal Studio, and Weta Workshop in New Zealand. His most recent credits include The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance and Stranger Things. In 2011, Kevin completed his first puppet short film, a Jim Henson Foundation grant project, The Narrative of Victor Karloch. The film was a great success, playing in over twenty international festivals, and winning the 2012 BEST ANIMATED FILM at the DragonCon Film Festival. His follow-up film, The Mill at Calder's End was the result of a highly successful Kickstarter campaign and played in festivals around the world. This film won many awards including the Grand Jury Award for BEST ANIMATED SHORT at the Seattle International Film Festival.
Tab Murphy | Screenwriter
Tab attended USC Film School and has been a working screenwriter since 1983. His major breakthrough came with a writing credit on Gorillas in the Mist, for which he received an Academy Award nomination. Tab wrote a number of Disney feature animation movies including Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tarzan, Atlantis: the Lost Empire, and Brother Bear, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. In addition to his Disney credits, Tab has written several Warner Bros DC animated movies, including Batman/Superman: Apocalypse and Batman: Year One, based on the Frank Miller graphic novel.
Guy Davis | Production Designer
Guy is a Conceptual Designer and Storyboard Artist for film, television, and video games. His work can be seen in the Guillermo del Toro projects Crimson Peak, Pacific Rim, The Strain, Pinocchio, and the upcoming film, The Shape of Water. Guy has also contributed concept art for The Mill at Calder's End, Paranorman, Steven Universe, Gears of War 4, Evolve, The Simpsons: Tree House of Horror XXIV, and the Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival. He is also an Eisner winning comic book artist and the creator and illustrator of The Marquis(published by Dark Horse Comics).
Arjen Tuiten | Lead Puppet Sculptor
Accomplished Dutch sculptor and make-up artist, Arjen Tuiten has worked for Stan Winston Studio / Legacy Effects, DDT, and Rick Baker's Cinovation Studio. One of his greatest make-up contributions is the Pale Man character for Guillermo del Toro's masterpiece Pan's Labyrinth. He has now founded his own studio R-E-N and is responsible for the make-up effects for the films Rings and Wonder.
Paul Komoda | Puppet Sculptor
Paul Komoda is an artist whose dark dreams are manifest through sculpture and illustration. He's worked in the fields of film and collectibles, and for a time, had worked directly with the legendary surrealist, H.R. Giger. He is expanding into realms of graphic storytelling and fine art.
Mitch Devane | Puppet Sculptor
Mitch Devane is one of Hollywood's top sculptors who has contributed his artistry to many films including Bram Stoker's Dracula, The Ring, and Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, among others.
Eli Presser | Puppeteer
Extraordinary marionette puppeteer and creature suit performer, Eli Presser is a CalArts graduate in Puppetry Arts. Eli lead the team of puppeteers on The Mill at Calder's End. Eli currently serves as the Technical Coordinator for the Performing Arts Program at the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History.
Peter Abrahamson | Mechanical Designer
A skilled animatronic designer, Peter Abrahamson has been working in the film industry for over 20 years as a puppeteer, robot builder, and animatronics creator for such projects as Hellboy, Men In Black 2, BattleBots, and the Jim Henson TV show Dinosaurs.
Luke Khanlian | Mechanical Designer
Luke Khanlian is a Design Engineer who spent most of the 90's working as a mechanical designer and puppeteer on film and television projects including: Starship Troopers, Bicentennial Man and The Green Mile.
Tim Gore | Puppet and Prop Painter
Master painter Tim Gore has over twenty five years of experience in the make-up effects industry and has worked on many iconic films over the years including The Lost World: Jurassic Park 2, Hellboy, Lady in the Water, and Hellboy 2: The Golden Army .
Miyo Nakamura | Sculptor and Painter
Accomplished sculptor and painter Miyo Nakamura has worked on the films X-Men: First Classand The Thing (among others) for Amalgamated Dynamics as well as many giant sculptural pieces for Blizzard at Alliance Studio.
Spectral Motion | Associate Producer, Creature Design Consultants
Mike Elizalde’s Spectral Motion is one of Hollywood’s premiere creature-effects shops, making monsters for films such as Stranger Things, Hellboy, Hellboy 2:The Golden Army, and Pacific Rim.
Will Thomas | Composer
Will Thomas, a composer & producer based in Los Angeles, has released four albums under his minimal electronic moniker Plumbline as well as four albums under his song based project Dive Index. These have included collaborations with ambient innovator Roger Eno, as well as Joseph Arthur, Merz, Mark Gardener (Ride) and Ian Masters (Pale Saints) among others. Will has also composed music for commercials, film and TV projects including CSI, Johnson & Johnson, Smirnoff, Herman Miller, Cody, Nocturne podcast and BMW. He most recently produced the latest Helen Money album ‘Become Zero’, out on the Thrill Jockey label.
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