What it's all about
Allison Abbate is an award-winning film producer who has worked in animation for 23 years. Her latest film is Frankenweenie, directed by Tim Burton. Interview by Victoria Walden.
Q: Why do you think animation engages children so effectively?
A: I think its graphic nature is very appealing to the eye of a child. In Frankenweenie, the relationship between Victor and Sparky is something children can really relate to. It's important that children are the protagonists.
Q: How did you develop the message in Frankenweenie that scientific experiments are an antidote to ignorance and prejudice?
A: We had a panel of scientists in the US talk about the science in the film. Even though you can't actually bring your dog back from the dead, it's still good to talk about what science can do.
Q: And what about the theme that being different is good?
A: I think that's a perfect metaphor for the story of Frankenstein, which is essentially the story of a child, or a creature, being rejected for being different and not being perfect. Everyone thinks Frankenstein is the monster, but actually the scientist is.
Q: Tell us about the teaching resources attached to the film.
A: The film has a strong "power of science" theme, so the resources have a dual science and visual literacy focus. The upper primary science lessons focus on forces; irreversible and reversible changes; electrical circuits; and the conditions needed for life. Pupils can also explore how Burton creates meaning on screen using black and white in an interactive character-creation shading activity.
Try FilmEducation's Frankenweenie resource. bit.lytesFrankenweenie.