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FIREFLIES - a stop motion children's film made in PDX, OR's video poster

A sweet, if slightly wild, five-year-old Liza Wolfe redeems herself in Depression-era Boonetown, Kentucky. Read more

Portland, OR Animation
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pledged of $6,000 goal
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This project was successfully funded on June 8, 2012.

A sweet, if slightly wild, five-year-old Liza Wolfe redeems herself in Depression-era Boonetown, Kentucky.

Portland, OR Animation
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About this project

As storytellers and filmmakers, we are in love with stop motion. We love holding the actual set pieces, the puppets, making them, creating a performance one frame at a time, and not really being able to go back once you start, just going with it.

Fireflies will be the second major stop motion project for studio.pebble, a creative film and media collaborative based in Portland, Oregon. The first Oh Buggy! was three minutes long and took over a year to complete. Using what we learned on that production, we hope that this piece will bring our work to another level.

The short film tells the story of a sweet, if slightly wild, five-year-old Liza Wolfe in Depression-era Boonetown, Kentucky. A bit of a tomboy, she loves nothing more than to run free and chase fireflies in the fields around her home. But when Liza’s seemingly innocent mischief hurts someone close to her, she has to find a way to redeem herself.

Written and directed by Emily Wahl, it is partly based on her own experiences growing up in Kentucky. The other members of the team include Eric Macey, her husband and Key Animator/Co-Director; kollodi, Production Designer; Edie Wyrick, Lead Modeller and Assistant Animator; John Shrum, Editor and Key VFX Artist; Brian Mazzola, Sound Designer; and Aaron Wong, Producer and Cinematographer.

But for all of us this a personal endeavor; we are doing this out of love.

The reason that we are creating a Kickstarter is because we want to "up our game." Our process is DIY (or DIO, Do It Ourselves) - we ask neighbors if we can cut tree branches to use for our set, we use plumbing pipe for rigging, our sandbags are recycled water jigs. We enjoy finding innovative ways to use our available resources; it is very much the Portland, Oregon way. But by doing this Kickstarter, we hope it will enable us to bring a level of polish to the film that the story deserves.

The money raised through Kickstarter will mainly go toward the purchase of lighting and grip gear, a motion control rig, puppet supplies, and additional materials for our sets. These are things that we did not have on last production and had to find ways around. By using Kickstarter to raise our funds, studio.pebble is able to maintain a DIY, independent spirit, as well as engage and contribute back to a supportive community. One way we can give back, a key principle of studio.pebble, is through the expansion of StopMotionPDX (, an internet resource for animators originally created by students in a class taught by Will Vinton at the NW Film Center.

We have already been working on the film for over six months and we would love to finish this film with you. Thank you for taking a look at our project.

Please subscribe to the Fireflies mailing list for updates and visit for more information.

About the Team:

Emily Wahl
Writer / Director

Emily Wahl grew up in a rural parsonage on an idyllic hill in southern Indiana, where she spent most of her time running wild outdoors, or reading, drawing, and making music. 

She went on to study Literature and Creative Writing at Bard College, and has collaborated with many filmmakers, artists, and musicians over the years. She has also worked extensively with children. 

Fireflies is based on the bittersweet memories of her own lost but not forgotten childhood.


Production Designer

Born in Honolulu, kollodi has lived in Portland, Oregon and London, UK
for much of her adult life.

She enjoys crossing between theatre, stop motion, and filmmaking,
finding ways to combine aesthetics and storytelling aspects unique to
each medium and expressing them in others.

Over the years kollodi has created critically acclaimed and award
winning designs, and collaborated with genre bending artists from
around the world.  She still holds her high school weight lifting
record, won a National Science Foundation Scholarship, and runs a nine
minute mile.


Eric Macey
Lead Animator / Co-Director

He has worked as a professional freelance filmmaker in the Pacific Northwest of the United States as a Director, Cinematographer, Stop Motion Animator, and Editor. He also found he liked working as a Book Seller, Musician, and at some point, Cigar Salesman.

He studied Cinematography at the NW Film Center's School of Film. He went on to join studio.pebble in 2010 and directed and animated the short claymation "Oh Buggy!"   

And finds that coffee and books go well together, but not coffee and long walks, nor books and long walks. He finds long walks should be left to themselves and his imagination.

Fireflies will be his second animated film.


Edie Wyrick
Lead Puppetmaker / Animator

Raised in Portland, Edith Wyrick started animating in 4th grade when she was enrolled in the North West Film Center School of Film childrens animation class taught by Sharon Niemczyk. She continued taking classes from Sharon at NWFC through high school producing many strange and imaginative shorts. In collage Edith took a break from animation to study Philosophy and Dance at the University of Oregon earning her BA in 2007. 

However, animation and film making kept calling to her. In the fall of 2010 Edith answered the call and returned to NWFC to take the intro to claymation class taught by Will Vinton as well as the advanced claymation class in winter 2011. This is where she met Aaron Wong. 

After struggling to complete a claymation short on her own Edith contacted Aaron and began working on Fireflies! She is delighted to be part of such a passionate and creative team of artists and film makers.


John Shrum
Editor / VFX

Lately John J. Shrum has been the fulcrum at the center of a swirling insanity -- a pregnant wife, a precocious two-year-old, and two perpetually misbehaving pooches. He emerges from the unseen to fill whatever role is necessary at studio.pebble.

Before, before... Swam the English Channel with his father and sister :: Fell for Magnolia, The Passion of Joan of Arc, and Rushmore :: Testified to the power of Rock in the garage

Now and forever... Active, Pacific, Playful


Aaron C. Wong
Producer / Cinematographer


Brian Mazzola
Sound Designer


Jean Herbold

Assistant Producer


Brooks Fuentes

Graphic Designer


Colleen Rowley
Set Construction



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    81 backers

    a Big Thank You Email! from the team, a link to digitally download the finished film, an invitation to our release party

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    22 backers

    a nice 5x7 printed frame grab (we'll give ya some choices + we'll sign it!), plus everything at the $10 level

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    28 backers

    a signed DVD copy of the finished film, a thank you in the credits, plus what you would get at the $10 level

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    8 backers

    a 8x10 framed still from the film or a limited edition studio.pebble T-shirt, a signed DVD copy of the finished film, a thank you in the credits, but also the all the rewards at the $10 level!

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    6 backers

    a displayable handmade hand (clay!) equivalent to we had to make many times over for the film, a signed DVD copy of the finished film, a thank you in the credits, and the ability to say that you got the same thing as those people that donated $10

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    a handmade replica of the firefly in a resin jar, a signed DVD copy of the finished film, a thank you in the credits, as well as, you guessed it, the $10 level reward

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    1 backer

    we will paint your portrait into one of the paintings within the Wolfe family's home and feature it in the film, a signed DVD copy of the finished film, a thank you in the credits, and that $10 level goodness

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    executive producer credit, an invitation to visit the set, plus all that other good stuff at the $1000 level, oh and our eternal gratitude...actually that would be included at any level

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Funding period

- (45 days)