The Muppets Take ACMI

The Muppets Take ACMI

The Muppets Take ACMI!


To commemorate the 25th year since Jim Henson's passing, the Muppets are taking over ACMI during September and October with a rich program of films, workshops, talks and live events exploring the unique and enchanting world of the greatest puppeteer of all time, Jim Henson.


Muppets™, Music and Magic: Jim Henson's Legacy

Monday 21 September – Sunday 11 October 2015

Tickets: $13 - $17. Member discounts available 


Coming direct from the depths of the Henson Foundation's vaults, Muppets™, Music and Magic: Jim Henson's Legacy dives into Henson's experimental films, TV commercials, animations, and work on arguably the most famous television program of all time, Sesame Street. Guest speaker Martin Baker (UK) from the Jim Henson Foundation will share his fascinating insights into the puppeteer extraordinaire in a series of introductions and Q&As throughout the film season.


Muppet History 101 (24 Sep – 27 Sep) features rarely-seen TV appearances from the 1950s, including the origin of the Muppets in Sam and Friends, as well as TV commercials, guest appearances and clips from the pilot of The Muppet Show. Martin Baker will provide introductions and participate in Q&As on 24 and 27 September.


Muppets 201: Rarities from the Henson Vault (22 Sep – 5 Oct) reveals Henson's dedication to achieving perfection through experimentation and audience engagement. Teeming with clips from the early days in local TV through to variety and game show appearances, Muppets 201 contains film test footage and excerpts from the rarely seen 1981 special The Muppets Go to the Movies.


Witness the magic of the Muppets as they come alive in Jim Henson: Behind the Seams (22 Sep – 4 Oct). Offering a rich compilation of rare and fantastic footage dating back to Super 8 and 16mm home movies, Behind the Seams unearths the growing complexity of Henson's work. Martin Barker will provide introductions and participate in Q&As on 27 and 28 September.


Though Jim Henson's work as a filmmaker and innovator are acclaimed, his talents as a performer are sometimes overlooked. As a puppeteer, he created indelible characters such as Kermit the Frog, Rowlf the Dog, Ernie and the Swedish Chef. Jim Henson: In Performance (24 Sep – 6 Oct) illuminates the development and evolution of his many characters, which are testament to Henson's versatility and imagination.


Jim Henson: Commercials & Experiments (26 Sep – 10 Oct) is a dazzling collection of Henson's inventiveness that includes excerpts from experimental TV programs (The Cube and Youth '68) and Time Piece, the 8-minute Oscar®-nominated experimental masterpiece directed by (and starring) Henson himself. Martin Barker will provide introductions and participate in Q&As on 26 and 29 September 2015.

No one can tell a classic fairy tale better than Kermit and his friends! Jim Henson's Tales from Muppetland (23 Sep – 11 Oct) is an anthology of classic Muppet fairy-tale and storybook moments, including some of Kermit's Sesame Street news reports, excerpts from The Muppet Show and condensed versions of Tales of the Tinkerdee, Hey Cinderella and The Frog Prince.

Jim Henson: His Sesame Street Story (23 Sep – 4 Oct) delves into the contributions of Henson and his early Sesame Street collaborators such as Frank Oz, Fran Brill (Prairie Dawn) and Caroll Spinney (Big Bird), and is filled with clips and interviews spanning the breadth of Sesame Street.


Music and the Muppets go together like pigs and frogs and the classical musical numbers in Muppet Music Moments (21 Sep – 10 Oct) feature top-shelf numbers from Elton John, Paul Simon and Debbie Harry, as well as side-splitting moments including Gonzo's version of the Village People's -Macho Man' and Linda Ronstadt singing -Blue Bayou' – all propelled by Statler and Waldorf heckling from the balcony with some riotous gags.


Mixing elements of Tolkien and fairy tales, Jim Henson and Frank Oz created a fanciful world in The Dark Crystal (27 Sep – 11 Oct) that was rooted in universal myth rarely equalled in any other fantasy film. When the hulking, dragon-like Skeksis shatter the Dark Crystal and enslave the elf-like Gelflings, two young survivors embark on a journey to heal the crystal and restore equilibrium to the world. Martin Barker will provide introductions on 27 and 28 September 2015. He will also participate in a Q&A on 28 September 2015.


The saying goes that 'every dog has its day" and Rowlf: A Dog's Life (23 Sep – 29 Sep) is dedicated to the Muppets' favourite hound, Rowlf the Dog. In 1963, The Jimmy Dean Show catapulted Rowlf the Dog to superstardom where he featured in commercial, educational and industrial films, variety shows and, of course, The Muppet Show.


There are celebrities, there are stars, and there is Miss Piggy. Miss Piggy: A Sow is Born  (22 Sep – 25 Sep) charts the porcine diva's rise to stardom from the chorus of The Muppet Show to starring roles in feature films. Don't miss this look at Piggy's career, exploring her diversity of looks and roles and her relationship with the frog in her life.


Once a pre-teen Muppet fan and now Executive Producer and key driver of Sesame Street, Kevin Clash rose from humble beginnings to become one of the most well-known puppeteers of his generation as the voice, mind and heart of our favourite red, furry Sesame Street buddy, Elmo. Clash's rise from self-doubt, experimentation and single-minded devotion to the past and present of puppetry is nothing short of inspiring in Being Elmo (28 Sep – 11 Oct).


Caroll Spinney is the man inside Big Bird, one of the most famous television characters in history, as well as Oscar the Grouch. I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story (27 Sep – 10 Oct) paints a deeply personal and wonderful portrait of an artist, performer, puppeteer and filmmaker who exudes warmth and humanity. I Am Big Bird includes interviews with many of Spinney's collaborators, including Jim Henson.]


Created before the advent of CGI technology, Labyrinth (20 Jun – 18 Oct) mixes Alice in Wonderland with The Wizard of Oz. David Bowie steals the show as the goblin king Jareth, whose glam rock wig and revealing tights give a nod to his former alter ego, Ziggy Stardust. Labyrinth's associate producer, Martin Baker will provide introductions and participate in a Q&As on 24 and 28 September.


This series is produced by The Jim Henson Legacy. Tour Executive Producer Irena Kovarova. Film and program notes courtesy of The Jim Henson Legacy. ™ & © 2015 The Jim Henson Company. JIM HENSON's mark & logo, characters and elements are trademarks of The Jim Henson Company. All rights reserved.


MUPPET, MUPPETS and the Muppets Characters are registered trademarks of Disney. All rights reserved. © 2015 Disney.


Sesame Street ® and associated characters, trademarks and design elements are owned and licensed by Sesame Workshop. © 2015 Sesame Workshop. All rights reserved.


Producing the Muppets: A Masterclass with Martin Baker

Sunday 27 September 2015, 2pm

Tickets: $20 - $25. Member discounts available


In Producing the Muppets: A Masterclass with Martin G. Baker (27 Sep), Emmy®-award winning producer, Martin Baker will speak about his producing career within the film and television industries, as well as the legacy of puppet master and creative genius, Jim Henson.


A special guest from the Henson Foundation, Baker has worked on film and television productions that are adored by young and old. His affiliation with the Jim Henson Company lasted 20 years, during which time he saw The Muppet Show rise to fame, received an Emmy® for his work as a producer on The Muppets Tonight, produced three Muppet feature-length films and was an associate producer for Jim Henson's 1986 feature film Labyrinth.


With over 20 years of industry experience, Martin provides invaluable insight into what's involved in producing film and television today and guides audiences through key stages of the production process offering expert knowledge on the various components.


Producing the Muppets: A Masterclass with Martin G. Baker includes a ticket to the 6pm screening of Muppets 201 with Commentary by Martin Baker.


Kids' Flicks

Saturday 5 September – Sunday 4 October 2015

Tickets: $7. Member discounts available


The story of Labyrinth (20 Jun – 18 Oct) centres around teenager Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) who lives in a dream world of magic and legend. When she teasingly wishes that goblins would take her brother away, her wish comes true! The only way to get her brother back is to find her way through the Labyrinth.


Big Bird loves his home and the colourful characters that live on Sesame Street including Oscar the Grouch, Count von Count, Bert and Ernie and his bestest friend, Mr Snuffleupagus. Despite this, Mrs Finch from the Feathered Friends' Board of Birds takes Big Bird far away. With a little help from his friends, in Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird (5 Sep – 22 Sep), Big Bird might just work out how to get to Sesame Street.


School's out for Kermit, Miss Piggy, Scooter and the rest of the gang in The Muppets Take Manhattan (23 Sep – 28 Sep). After the performance of a lifetime on the school stage, the only logical move is to take the show to Broadway! However, the New York theatre scene proves a lot harder to crack and while Kermit gets a job at a diner, the other Muppets leave town, waiting for the call.


Ship ahoy! The Muppets take to the high seas in Muppet Treasure Island (29 Sep – 4 Oct). In this adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel, Billy Bones (Billy Connolly) and Mrs Bluveridge (Jennifer Saunders) dispatch young Jim Hawkins (Kevin Bishop) along with the Great Gonzo, Rizzo the Rat and one-legged Long John Silver (Tim Curry) on the ship Hispaniola commanded by Captain Abraham Smollett (Kermit the Frog).


Creative Workshops

Monday 28 September – Friday 2 October 2015

Tickets: Free, $13 - $16. Member discounts available


Pop-up Puppets (21 Sep – 2 Oct) is a drop-in workshop in which kids cut out, colour in and create their own finger puppet characters. With five friendly figures to choose from, they will learn how simple movements will bring their tiny finger puppets to life. Finger puppets are a fun activity with the art of storytelling at its centre. Imagine all of the puppet lands your finger puppet could inhabit.


Recommended for kids aged 5 to 10. This is a free event. No booking required, drop into the ACMI Lightwell any time between 10am and 2pm. Workshops do not run on weekends.


In Sock Star Creative Workshop (28 Sep – 2 Oct), kids aged 9 to 12 will create their own sock-star characters full of personality and flair to be filmed on a superstar green screen stage. Kids will use an assortment of adornments to make their socks rock and their hands pop. The rock star sock creations will then make their stage debut using green screen technology and awesome backing tracks.


Each workshop runs for 2 hours at 10am and 1pm daily. Tickets: $13 - $16. Member discounts available. Copies of films produced can be taken home on a USB drive for an extra charge of $10, available on the day of the workshop.


Workshops fill up quickly so advanced bookings are recommended.