Six young animators create stop-motion short films to have fun and spend time with family

THUMB ANIMATIONKIDSThe Bum Family got started on their animation journey in 2011 when Zaiyah Dennie’s mother recorded her talking when she was a child. Her sisters and two other members of the Bum family, Medina and Maezy Dennie then did the drawings to go along with Zaiyah’s voice in their first film called The Birthday.

Their cousins Berlin, Ocean, and Sol Demuth soon joined the team. “I thought it would be fun to make animation with my cousins,” said Ocean.

Ranging from ages five to 12, the cousins do everything but produce their stop-motion animation films – they create the story ideas, voices, cut-out drawings as well as the animation.

Their most recent film Lilly’s Big Day, is loosely based on a puppet belonging to the Dennie-sister’s mother, Xstine Cook. It features a 10-foot tall orange monster named Lilly who goes to Wilma’s Super Salon to get a makeover for a special day.

“For Lilly [From Lilly’s Big Day] we got together and brainstormed ideas, my mom made a script of the ideas, then we storyboarded it, then we made all the art, which is cut out of pieces of paper,” said Medina Dennie.

Lilly’s Big Day was met with praise and laughter at the 2014 GIRAF Animation Festival in Calgary.. The comical and sassy nature of both Lilly and her stylist Wilma, were shown to the audience as Lily tries out a whirlwind of different “Looks.”

The film also won first place for best-animated short at the Youth by Youth Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) as well as the prize for best animation at River’s Edge Festival in Kentucky.

“It made me happy” said Sol Demuth, the youngest of the Bum Family about their big win at the CIFF.

But it’s not the awards or even the animation that makes these films so rewarding.

Maezy Dennie said, “[my favorite part of animating] is getting to see my cousins every day, working with them, and having fun.”

Along with getting to see each other every day, the Bum family animators enjoy a variety of activities while creating their animation. “[My favorite part of creating animation] is going to the park and eating lots and lots of food – like hotdogs, pizza, sandwiches and gummies. Riding our scooters down the hall,” said Zaiyah Dennie.

Though the Bum Family has a lot of fun creating their animated films together, Berlin and Maezy both agreed they don’t think they will take it anywhere.

“[I want] to make more films, but not as a career, just for fun, “said Berlin Demuth.

Thumbnail photo provided by Heather Cook 

To contact the editor responsible for this story; Garrett Harvey at

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