Media That Matters: Good Food

Terminator Tomatoes

5:00 min
Director: Suzanne Twining
Producer: Suzanne Twining


More About Terminator Tomatoes from Director Suzanne Twining

Suzanne Twining’s five minute animated short film, Terminator Tomatoes, was completed in 2001. In 1999 Suzanne had moved to Portland, Oregon to work for Will Vinton Studios on an animated television show called The PJs. Between the show’s second and third seasons there was a hiatus of six months and everyone at the studio was laid off. In an effort to keep the employees in town, the show’s producer offered the employees use of the studio space for personal projects. Suzanne seized this opportunity and made Terminator Tomatoes. With to access 35mm film cameras, huge set spaces and deluxe lighting packages the film took on a look that Suzanne could not have accomplished on her own, in her small garage space. She had to quickly flesh out the idea she had been kicking around for a long time, a comment on genetically modified foods. Suzanne grew up on a farm, and her parents are still farming today. She had been following the GMO controversy and was constantly distressed about the pressures that big chemical companies, like Monsanto, were putting on small family farms in America.

When the storyboards and designs were done, she began building the stop-motion puppets. She hired Steve MacDougal, also an employee Will Vinton, to do all her camera work and lighting. Other favors were called in to help with sets, puppets, and prop building. Suzanne did all the animation for the film, which took three months. On the days she wasn’t animating shots, she would be dressing the sets, building props and setting up for the next day’s shot. Dielle Alexandre did the editing of the film using the studio’s Avid and helped prep for the negative cutting. When all the footage was shot and a rough cut was made, Suzanne began researching for a grant to finish the film on 35mm. She received a grant from The Puffin Foundation for finishing costs and to make the 35mm film prints. Since it’s completion Terminator Tomatoes has gone on to show in festivals all over the world, helping people think about the dangers of genetically modified foods.


Media That Matters: Good Food, family & society, environment
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