Local filmmaker to Premiere Latest Creation


“3 Keys” makes its debut 7 p.m. Friday at the Museum of Northern California Art, 900 The Esplanade.contributed photo

By Leila Rodriguez, Chico Enterprise-Record

POSTED: 04/11/18, 4:31 PM PDT

Chico >> Independent Chico filmmaker Josh Funk earned his place as a stop-motion monster movie maker, and now his latest creation, “3 Keys,” taps into the supernatural, subconscious fears of dolls. 

The spooky short film makes its debut 7 p.m. Friday at the Museum of Northern California Art, 900 The Esplanade, with themes appropriate for a Friday the 13th movie screening and may not be suitable for younger viewers. 

“3 Keys” follows a patient (Brigette Funk) plagued by recurring nightmares that always start with a peculiar door and three skeleton keys. Depending on which key she uses to unlock the door, the patient is transported into an unfamiliar world, and she recounts her terrorizing dreams to a psychiatrist (Robert Donnelly) which offers viewers a maddening psychosis. 

Stop-motion puppets, marionettes and miniatures bring this 15-minute spooky tale to life. 

Puppets and props from the production will be on display at the screening along with brief behind-the-scenes footage so viewers can get a better idea of how Funk made the movie. 

Concepts for the horror/fantasy film began shortly after Funk’s son was born three years ago.

The new father was eager to work on his next film and utilized the odd hours parenthood generously offers to work on his script. 

As his little one grew, Funk began drawing inspiration from his toddler, like how a prism in his son’s room reflecting light became the inspiration for fairy creatures. 

Beloved Muppet puppeteer, Jim Henson was a childhood favorite of Funk’s, but as a kid, he feared dolls and often had nightmares starring the stone-faced toys. 

“I was very interested in how these inanimate objects could be brought to life to scare you or to entertain you, and that was kind of the basis for (‘3 Keys’),” Funk said. 

For the last scene, Funk said he wanted to amp his frightful story, so he sat down with the star of the film, who is also his sister-in-law, to find out who or what spooked her the most as a child. 

Brigette Funk told him of an eerie clown doll, and Funk had every detail re-created down to every last ruffle fashioned from a puppet maker in Prague. 

This was also the first time Funk worked with marionettes. 

“We constantly did re-shoots to make it scarier and scarier because if you’re not a talented puppeteer, it’s hard to bring something like it to life,” Funk said. “But we made it work.” 

Working with family is common in Funk’s movie-making realm. 

Funk made a short film featuring his son Jonah last year, and Funk’s younger brother starred in “The Spaceman” which won Best of Festival at The Sundial Film Festival.

The full-time artist has garnered countless film festival awards for other projects like his first short film “Wormholes,” and locally, Funk has lent his talents to creating stop-motion music videos for Chico bands Michelin Embers in “Diggin’ On” and Severance Package’s “Scissors Gonna Cut Ya.” 

His creative playground in the world of animation and stop-motion holds no bounds and “3 Keys” is no exception. 

“When you work on something so meticulous for so long you don’t even know what you have,” Funk said. “I’m excited to hear what people think and it’s nice to hear it was effective in the way that I wanted it to be effective.”

Art show reflects 'Shared Visions' between adults, children

By Lindsay Holbrook, Correspondent

Chico Enterprise Record

POSTED: 07/29/17, 4:43 PM PDT

Josh Funk’s stop-motion film “Toy Box” brings to life action figures his 2-year-old son plays with.

Josh Funk’s stop-motion film “Toy Box” brings to life action figures his 2-year-old son plays with.

What does it mean to have a shared vision? Most would think it is just as it sounds. 

People often see things through their own point of view but it is only when these visions are expressed with others that people can share what they see and feel through the world of art.

“Shared Visions,” a new art show at the Chico Art Center, is taking this idea and melding it between both adults and children. 

It is an exhibit where both children and adults come together to express their art in more than just a visual manner. 

“The concept of shared visions is to connect adult artists with children and to play off of and be inspired by the creativity that children innately possess,” Erin Lizardo, the show’s curator, said. “By including children in the process of making art, we are validating that creativity and exploring an opportunity for connection that is often overlooked.”

Lizardo is a Chico artist and musician. She will be bringing her two sons Solomon and Moses to show how new perspectives can be brought through collaboration and working together.

Last year, she shared an art show with her son, Solomon Sarcona, at the Great Northern Coffee and Gallery.

For “Shared Visions,” her two boys will be making textile masks that reflect their zombie and monster drawings.

With the intuition of a mother and an artist and the open-minded creativity of two boys, something special is bound to be made.

Another Chico artist at the show will be animation movie director and writer Josh Funk and his 2-year-old son, Jonah. 

“I decided to create a short film where his decisions in choosing broken action figures determined what and how I would animate the rest of the film,” he said. “Using stop motion animation, I brought his creations to life.” 

Funk is a Chico State University fine arts alumnus. A couple of years ago, he created a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to help make his stop-motion film, “The Spaceman.”

He was able to surpass his original goal amount on Kickstarter and built the puppets and set by hand. He also helped Chico band Severance Package make a music video (https://youtu.be/5leMJH_n6zA).

For the art show, he made a stop-motion film, “Toy Box,” starring his 2-year-old son playing with the action figures which comes to life in the film.

The film will be played Aug. 11 at the Chico Art Center. 

For more on Josh Funk, go to www.joshfunk.com.

“Shared Visions” runs Aug. 4-25 with an artists reception, 5-7 p.m., Aug. 11.

A “Free Family Art Day,” will be held, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Aug. 12, with hands-on activities such as workshops and craft tables.

For more information, go to www.chicoartcenter.com or call 895-8726.