Peter & the Wolf (Polish: Piotruś i wilk, also known as Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf) is a short Polish-British-Norwegian-Mexican model animation film released in 2006. It was written and directed by Suzie Templeton, scenography - Marek Skrobecki, made in Se-ma-for Studios in Łódź, and has been shown both in cinemas and with live musical accompaniment.
The film is based on the story of Peter and the Wolf and is set to the music Sergei Prokofiev wrote for the story in 1936. In common with other animated shorts such as The Snowman the film has no vocals but relies on music and action to tell the story.
A new recording of Prokofiev's music was made to accompany the cinema and television release. The recording was made by the Philharmonia Orchestra and conducted by Mark Stephenson.
On the edge of the vast forests of Russia, where wolves still roam, lies a little cottage surrounded by a big, high fence. This is where Peter lives with his grumpy Grandfather. Pete is a 11-year old boy who is constantly picked on by the town's people and his Grandfather will not let Peter go out into the forest. Peter has a friend, the lovable Ducky (a runner duck in this version), with whom he hangs around Grandfather's yard. A Bird (a hooded crow in this version) with a broken wing arrives in the yard. Bird is very impatient with Peter and signals to go into the forest. His heart beating fast, Peter tiptoes into the cottage and reaches over his sleeping Grandfather and his snoring, overweight tabby cat. Ever so carefully Peter takes the keys to the gate.
Peter has the time of his life playing in the forest with his friends. He helps Bird to fly, using a balloon and some rope.
Then everyone skates on the frozen lake. Everyone, that is, except the cat. She lunges at the Bird to eat him, but is so fat that she crashes straight through the ice and into the freezing water. Grandfather awakes and sees that Peter is in the forest. Very angry, he grabs his gun and rushes outside. He grabs Peter off the ice, drags him back into the cottage and locks the fence. Suddenly the forest goes quiet. Peter looks out through a hole in the fence and sees the Wolf on the edge of the forest. The Cat manages to climb up the tree for safety, but the Wolf swallows the Duck whole. Peter slings a heavy net over his shoulder and climbs up the fence and into the tree. Peter falls from the tree and the Wolf attacks him. Eventually, after a long and fierce struggle, Peter catches the Wolf in the net.
Peter's Grandfather drives into town with the captured Wolf, Peter standing, triumphant, on top of the Wolf's cage. However, the people do not acknowledge Peter's success and his grandfather takes credit for the wolf's capture. The Bird's broken wing heals and is able to fly again. The town bullies (the very same who pick on Peter) arrive and chastise the defenseless Wolf with a gun. After looking into the Wolf's sorry eyes and having become disillusioned with both his grandfather as well as the town for its poor treatment to them both, Peter opens the cage and the Wolf races back into the forest.
The ending is a complete departure from the original, in which the wolf is presumably left caged in the zoo. Throughout the latter parts of the story, the duck can be heard quacking inside the wolf, implying it is still alive.
Production and distribution
Peter and The Wolf was a multinational production. The main producers were UK production company BreakThru Films, and the co-producers were Se-ma-for Studios in Łódź, Poland and Storm Studios, based in Oslo, Norway. Additionally TV UNAM (XHUNAM-TV Mexico) and ArchAngel SA (Switzerland) participated in its production. All of the puppet animation was completed in Łódź with a mainly Polish crew. Special effect shots were made at Storm Studios in Oslo. Detailed use of car makes including the 1962 GAZ M-21 Volgae are referenced throughout the film.
The film was made at Se-ma-for Studios in Łódź, Poland between February and August 2006. Digital post production was done at Storm Studios in Oslo, Norway. The live premier was held on 29 September 2006 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, accompanied by the Philharmonia Orchestra. Since then the film has toured with both live and recorded accompaniment around Britain, Hong Kong and Australia. The British television premiere was shown on Channel 4 on Christmas Eve, 2006, and was accompanied by pre-recorded music performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra.
The film received its North American premiere on 25 July 2007 at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts. This was a live performance accompanied by the Philadelphia Orchestra with an audience of approximately 9,000 people. Further shows are expected to be scheduled in the US in 2008. The film was broadcast in the U.S. on PBS's Great Performances series on 26 March 2008.
In January 2009, the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland presented the film with live orchestral accompaniment to a packed house at the Helix in Dublin. The reaction from the audience was ecstatic.
Response to Peter and the Wolf has so far been generally positive. Animation Magazine praised it for "the manner in which it works seamlessly in conjunction with the music", while Classic FM Magazine called it "a small masterpiece".
Peter and the Wolf has won several awards, including the Academy Award in 2008 for Best Animated Short Film, a British Animation Award (BAA) in 2008 for Best TV Special, the Grand Prize ('The Annecy Cristal') and the Audience Award at the 2007 Annecy International Animation Festival, the Golden Rose for Performing Arts at the 2007 Rose d'Or Festival, the Pulcinella Award for Best European Programme at the 2007 Cartoons on the Bay Festival in Italy and the Special Prize at the 2007 Krok International Animated Film Festival in Ukraine. It was also nominated for a BAFTA, a Royal Television Society Programme Award and the Cartoon d'or in 2007.