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Heather Henson to Bring Handmade Puppet Dreams Film Festival to UCA




August 19, 2011

CONTACT: Holly Laws, (501) 450-5778;





College of Fine Arts and Communication Media Office


CONWAY — Heather Henson, artist and puppeteer and the daughter of the late Jim Henson, will open the University of Central Arkansas’s 2011-12 Artist in Residence Series with the Handmade Puppet Dreams Film Festival Sept. 12-15.


Handmade Puppet Dreams is a touring festival of films, produced by Henson and created by independent artists. The films, which focus primarily on real-time performed puppetry including marionettes, finger puppets and paper cutouts, showcase a new generation of cutting-edge puppeteers who embrace film as a medium of artistic expression.


“Puppetry is such a wonderful cross-disciplinary creative art,” said Holly Laws, assistant professor of art and the faculty sponsor of the residency. “I am thrilled to have not only Heather Henson, the founder and producer of the festival, in attendance, but three of the featured artists who will share with us a behind-the-scene look into their process.”


Henson is one of the owners of the Jim Henson Company and serves on the board of the non-profit The Jim Henson Legacy as well as The Jim Henson Foundation. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in animation, she attended the California Institute of the Arts and founded IBEX Puppetry in 2000. The Orlando, Fla.-based entertainment company is dedicated to promoting puppetry created for stage, gallery and film. IBEX has toured throughout the United States, Europe and Canada.


Public events of the residency — all free at 7 p.m. in Stanley Russ Hall 103 on the UCA campus — include:


• Sept. 12, Film Screening: Volume 1 Handmade Puppet Dreams, hosted by Henson and Tim Lagasse;


• Sept. 13, Film Screening: Volume II Handmade Puppet Dreams, hosted by Henson;


• Sept. 14, Film Screening: Volume III Handmade Puppet Dreams, hosted by Henson and Lyon Hill;


• Sept. 15, Film Screening: Volume IV Handmade Puppet Dreams, hosted by Henson and Sam Hale.


Each volume runs 75-90 minutes, with individual films running from one-to-two minutes to 15-20. All are suitable for all ages but are geared for an adult audience.


For additional information on the featured films, visit


Henson will also host a screening of Handmade Puppet Dreams Children’s Program at the Faulkner County Library, 1900 Tyler Street, Conway, at 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 17.


Lagasse, a puppet master, filmmaker, editor and television director, has designed and built puppets for PBS, Nickelodeon, Disney and Comedy Central, among others. He performs puppet characters on such shows as Sesame Street, Chapelle’s Show and Between the Lions, as well as being the title character on Oobi.


Hale is an illustrator, sculptor, puppet designer and builder. His credits include the short film Yamasong, Playhouse Disney’s Commander Clay, as well as the TV movie Ahoy! Captain Sid, that earned him two regional Emmy nominations. Hale received The Kennedy Center Award for his puppet design and construction on The Inland Emperor’s New Clothes.


Hill has been a puppet-maker and puppeteer with the Columbia Marionette Theatre since 1997. His paintings and puppets have been shown in numerous galleries, and his puppet shows have been performed at regional and national puppet festivals.


“We will also be offering three separate workshops featuring Sam Hale and Tim Lagasse focusing on puppetry and film,” Laws said. “Any UCA student interested in attending may contact me for further information about the workshops.”


For more information, contact Laws at (501) 450-5778 or


The Artist in Residence program is funded by UCA’s arts fee and is administered by the College of Fine Arts and Communication. For more information, call the Office of the Dean, College of Fine Arts and Communication, at (501) 450-3293 or e-mail