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Any parent knows that there are a TON of animated movies out there. Animation has always been popular with adults and children alike, but there’s more to animation than the traditional hand drawn or computer generated characters we’ve all grown so used to. One intriguing niche of animation is stop-motion.

Do you remember drawing little stick figures in your schoolbooks and flipping the pages to make him move? Then you know the basics of stop-motion! Stop-motion movies have been around since the dawn of animated films themselves, and they lend themselves to a great deal of creativity and style. They are meticulously created frame by frame, with minuscule movements being stacked together to make the subjects move. It is a unique style that captures the wonder of animation in it’s simplest, yet most intricate, form.

This Holiday Season, TIFF Bell Lightbox is featuring 30 features and 22 short films that showcase the best that stop-motion has to offer. Many of these films are Oscar nominated, spanning decades, and are sure to satisfy parents nostalgia while sparking children’s imaginations. You can view the full schedule here.

To celebrate this wonderful exhibition of cinema, TIFF and Attractions Ontario are giving away 4 passes to two different screenings. Click the links below to enter to win. You can enter once per film screening, and 1 winner will be chosen for each film. We’ll be picking our two winners on December 20th, so don’t miss your chance!

Image Courtesy of  Aardman Animations

Chicken Run
Directed by Peter Lord, Nick Park 

***Screening: December 22nd at 1pm***

This delightful “prison break” epic was the first feature film from Britain’s Aardman Studios, the home ofWallace & Gromit. At the Tweedy Chicken Farm in Yorkshire, most of the “inmates” spend their days doing clucking little to prevent their ultimate fate as filling for the evil Tweedys’ new line of chicken pies. But when “flying rooster” Rocky (Mel Gibson) crash-lands in the yard, the resourceful hen Ginger (Julie Sawalha) sees a chance to stage a mass breakout, by having the cocky cockerel teach all of her grounded brethren to fly. Offering an enchanting alternative to the CGI-animated films being cranked out at the time, Chicken Run features exquisitely detailed character animation and remarkable production design (the Tweedys’ pie-making machine is a Rube Goldberg nightmare). Tragically, many of the film’s sets, models and props were destroyed when the warehouse housing Aaardman’s materials was gutted by fire in 2005.

Image courtesy of Sony Pictures

The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Directed by Peter Lord, Jeff Newitt

***Screening: December 23 at 1pm***


Aardman’s first stop-motion feature in seven years, The Pirates! was also the company’s first film to be released in 3D. Hugh Grant voices The Pirate Captain, an inept but ever-hopeful buccaneer who leads a ragtag crew looking to make a name for themselves on the seven seas. Entering the annual Pirate of the Year competition — in which the top prize goes to whoever can plunder the most booty — the band of misfits make several unsuccessful hijackings; but just as they are about to consider a career change to baby haberdashery, the crew captures a ship bearing Charles Darwin, who sees something special in the pirates’ beloved pet bird Polly and implores the Captain to accompany him to London. Accentuating its gorgeous stop-motion animation with CGI-created backgrounds and sets, The Pirates! is “a curiosity cabinet of visual pleasures … so breezy and lightly funny that you may not realize at first how good it is” (Manohla Dargis, The New York Times).

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