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A Brickfilm is a film made using Lego bricks, or other similar plastic construction toys. They are usually created with stop motion animation though computer-generated imagery (CGI), traditional animation, and live action films featuring plastic construction toys (or representations of them) are also usually considered brickfilms. The term 'brick film' was coined by Jason Rowoldt, founder of Brickfilms.com.
The first known brickfilm, En rejse til månen (Journey to the Moon), was created in 1973 by Lars C. Hassing and Henrik Hassing. The six-minute video featured both stop motion animation and live action, and was recorded on Super 8 film. The film was later shown to Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, who had a personal copy made, though the film was not released to the public until May 2013, when the creator uploaded it to YouTube.
The second known brickfilm, Lego Wars, was made in 1980 by Fernando Escovar. The 3-minute 8mm film was not released until its creator uploaded it to YouTube on April 2, 2007.
The third known brickfilm was made between 1985 and 1989 in Perth, Western Australia by Lindsay Fleay, and called The Magic Portal, a film shot on a bolex 19mm camera. It was captured on 16 mm film and features animated LEGO, plasticine, and cardboard characters and objects, mixing both stop motion animation and live action.Portal had high production values for a brickfilm, with a five-figure budget granted by the Australian Film Commission. However, due to legal issues with The LEGO Group, it did not see a wide release, though later, The LEGO Group would eventually back down on these charges.
The first brickfilm to be widely released was a music video for the UK dance act Ethereal for their song Zap on Truelove Records. Produced and released in 1989, the film was shown across the MTV network and other music channels and was the first time a brick film has been released across public channels. The film again attracted the attention of The Lego Group's legal department. The film was directed by filmmaker David Betteridge with animation direction handled by Phil Burgess and Art Direction by Daniel Betteridge. The story was an interpretation of scenes from Apocalypse Now adapted to the rave culture of the late eighties, following three heroic Lego men as they battle and overcome evil. The film's budget was £3000 enabling the filmmakers to shoot on 35mm film using a hand-cranked camera build in 1903 and modified with an animation motor. Originally scheduled to take two weekends, the film took three and a half months to complete. Promo magazine at the time declared it one of the best music videos ever made. It is available on YouTube
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