Christina Heurig

images · art direction · set design

Production design: fantasy film “PUPPETS” (set design; pt.1)

Shot Oktober 2019 in Basel/Switzerland.
A fantasy satire set in the 1890s: A dollmaker’s son falls in love with a sweet handmaiden who is held hostage by her cruel, creepy master (which favorite food is maggots). Including puppets that come to life.⁠

All sets in the expanded post!




The alchemy basement

In this room, the evil master brews his delicate elixir for everlasting life.
We staged the set in the old pharmacy museum in Basel – but not in the exhibition area but an historical basement, kept away from public. It was amazing because we got to use smoke, haze, boiling water and dry ice to make a visual, chemical MESS on screen. ⁠



This manor’s dining room is the place where the master eats (better said: denies delicious food made with love by the innocent handmaiden just to eat his maggot-snacks!) and where he will get killed by the dollmaker’s main puppet while sleeping.

This set is intentionally cozy and with blood-red tapestry to foreshadow the murder – just like a victorian dream. We dressed this room in an older mansion at the center of Basel/Switzerland, including wall decor. It was basically one of my favorite sets EVER because I got to dress it like my home (except that my home is a smaller version, HAHA). I am to DEATH in love with the taxidermy specimen and the AMAZING food styling we got from @leissingsonja!⁠


The handmaiden’s dressing chamber

An innocent space, quite rich in details as the handmaiden lives in a not-so-poorly furnitured room inside the mansion. This rooms shows that the master, who is deeply infatuated with her, actually grants her a small amount of luxury. Build on-location.


The dollmaker’s workshop

We were so lucky to include the puppet theatre in Basel, which still stage play with historical marionettes. I spent many hours there to actually dress the set and make the modern workshop into an historical one. I am in awe with all these beautiful puppets and actually engaging with the puppeteers there (which I admire to a great amount!)

set before dressing:

The dollmaker’s sale studio next door:



The graveyard encounter

Here, the master is buried after his gruesome death (just to re-arise from the dead), but we got to establish the story with many extras and built a grave where the hand (hand-double) escapes from. We could not change the set drastically, but still a nice experience. Included: a wonderful 1900s coffin carriage from a museum and some handmade wooden coffins (for the poor) that we ordered.



some more locations and behind the scenes footage:


director: Michael Flume⁠
2nd AD: @ikbenbenfrancesco⁠
2nd camera: @marcbackmann⁠
the VERY BEST partner in (set)crime: @es.egli⁠
production supervisor and maid-of-all-work @klemenstrenkle⁠
…and many more!⁠