Private Project

The Story of Henny Penny

Dark adaptation of a traditional cautionary tale for children and adults alike. The five characters- Henny Penny and her four companions who she meets on her quest to save the world from the falling sky- are puppets made out of found objects that symbolise their flawed personalities such as obsession with celebrities, gambling and non existent fortune reading skills.

The characters follow a mysterious Red Button manipulated by sinister Red Gloves whose owner hides in the shadows. They soon leave the limited safety of the 2D world to enter the 3D world of the charming thief and murderer Foxy Woxy whose button-hole eye is curiously missing a button.

  • Dagmara Rudkin
  • Charles Rudkin
  • Dagmara Rudkin
  • Wendy Pye
  • Richard Morson
  • Simon Yapp
    Sound Effects
  • Richard Clarke
    Camera (live action)
  • Dagmara Rudkin
    Animation and Artwork
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Short, Student
  • Genres:
    fantasyanimation children and adults
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes 40 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 1, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • MA in Sequential Design and Illustration Show
    United Kingdom
    September 18, 2015
    MA Graduate Show
  • Punched Festival at the Marlborough Theatre
    United Kingdom
    December 17, 2015
    UK Premiere
  • 'Upstairs at the Ritzy' Giddy Aunts production festiVAL
    United Kingdom
    January 16, 2016
Director Biography - Dagmara Rudkin

Dagmara Rudkin is a Polish-born, UK-based animator, film director, painter and puppet and prop maker based at the Phoenix Brighton studio, Brighton. She studied Fine Art Painting and Glass Design at Wolverhampton University. She then worked as fine artist and a tutor.
In September 2015, she completed an MA in Sequential Design and Illustration at the University of Brighton and was awarded a Distinction.

Dagmara is interested in telling stories by exploiting the narrative potential of mundane and discarded materials and objects to create intricate and tactile characters and environments for children’s tales and stories directed at adult audience.
‘The Story of Henny Penny’ is Dagmara’s first animation, which she completed as part of her MA course. The animation is based on a traditional English cautionary tale while the style is a tribute to traditional Eastern European animations and old-fashioned puppet theatres.

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Director Statement


1. Materials and objects.
Materials cannot fulfil their original purpose–for example red feather boa becomes a fox’s tail because foxes don’t have feathers but it cannot be used to represent roosters’ plumage.
2. Hands and Gloves.
In the spirit of my hand made approach and, as homage to children’s theatre, a puppeteer’s hand is used in each of the five characters, but a different part of the body in each puppet. Foxy Woxy’s who belongs to a different realm, is exempt from this rule(see below).
3. Individual shots and group shots.
When shown individually, as life size puppets, Henny and her companions are attached to a black velvet background- like eccentric jewels in their velvet display caskets, ready to be picked up by Foxy Woxy.
To make the animation of group shots less complicated, when shown as a group, Henny Penny and other four characters take a form of lollipop sticks puppets. The transition from the 3D life size puppets to a paper lollipop stick figurines in the paper environment is facilitated by the paper theatre/hearse structure wheeled in by the Red Gloves. Foxy Woxy who can be interpreted as a director and a puppet master of this play, is exempt from such rules and is always shown as a 3D puppet in its true size and in his 3D world. It is possible that some viewers can associate his presence with the mysterious Red Gloves that appear at the beginning of the film.

4. Lighting
Dramatic lighting is used throughout the animation to emphasise traditional theatre play as its inspiration. As the five characters are either flat or attached to a flat board, only straight shots are used. Foxy Woxy is photographed from both high and low angles, with the later exploited to show his threatening presence.
5. Choreography
Foxy Woxy can move effortlessly, and often almost as if having supernatural powers. His movements are inspired partially by a real fox but also movements of a dog, a cat and a human. The rest of the characters are bound to their 2D worlds and, even when in the Foxy realm, their movements are highly limited- not unlike their understanding of the world.
6. The Red Button
The Red Button acts as Foxy’s device to initially trigger Henny’s act of hysteria. It also gives compelling reasons to each animal on why they need to join the quest and finally, it is used to guide the quest so that different characters can be recruited before they come to Foxy’s Big Black Forest.