What: A festival for Lego fans featuring BrickFlix, a Lego film festival
When: 7 and 9 p.m. Wednesday for BrickFlix; festival is open to the public May 8 and 9
Where: Films are showing at the Carolina Theatre, 309 W. Morgan Street, Durham, N.C.; BrickMagic takes place at the Hilton North Raleigh, 3415 Wake Forest Road Raleigh, N.C.
How much: Films are $4.75; admission to the festival is $12 adults, $8 seniors and kids 4-16, free for ages 3 and younger (moms get in free on Mother’s Day with paying child or spouse
BY JEFF MARKER
Legos are practically a rite of passage in our culture. Kids go through a Lego phase the same way they go through a train or doll phase.
If you ever went through that phase or if, like me, you never really grew out of it, a little brick of heaven is on its way. The BrickMagic Festival, a weekend event where Lego fans geek out over each others’ creations, snaps into Raleigh, N.C., on May 8-9.
The festival includes programs and workshops on building techniques, creating Lego mosaics, starting a Lego League team and customizing minifigures. There will even be car and boat races.
Naturally, I’m most excited about the first-ever BrickFlix Film Festival, featuring movies made using Lego figures and stop-motion animation.
David Pagano is one of the best brick filmmakers and a special guest at the festival. I recently spoke with Pagano via telephone about the festival and his Lego filmmaking.
Jeff Marker: Which came first, Legos or animation?
David Pagano: Legos came first. I got my first Lego set when I was around 3, so that was always a presence in my childhood. When I was in middle school or so, my dad had one of those gigantic VHS cameras, so I started playing around with it and learning how it worked. Since I had all these Lego things built and could rebuild them into whatever I wanted, I found that that was a perfect marriage. Whatever I wanted to have in a movie I was making I could pretty much make within this system of toys.
JM: And for the last two or three years have you mostly been working for The Lego Group?
DP: Yeah, since 2009 I’ve been doing films for their website and for the Lego Club Show, which is a series they’re starting to develop now.
JM: What exactly will you be doing at BrickMagic?
DP: I’m helping put together the screenings. I’ve been tracking down some of the more prominent Lego animators in the online community and saying, "Your work’s awesome, do you mind if we show this?" I’ll also do two Q&A sessions, one at each screening, talking about the process and things of that nature.
JM: Which of your short films are you most proud of?
DP: The most well-known is this film called "Little Guys." It was my college thesis film. It’s an ’80s commercial parody in which I pay tribute to the toy commercials of my youth. Another would be "Playback," which is a film I did about two years ago about these characters who have a struggle over a boombox. That kind of lead right into me doing work for the Lego company, which is kind of crazy when I think about it.
JM: Where can we see your work?
DP: My website (www.paganomation.com) is constantly under construction, but there are links there to everything I’ve done. All my films are on YouTube and on Vimeo. Some of my work is also on the Lego Club TV YouTube channel. I’m also on the normal social networking outlets like Facebook and Twitter.