This film is part of Free

Toys Will Be Toys

Barbie dolls in pink battle khaki killing machines in a Christmas animation that cocks a snook at the “Disney Doctrine”.

Animation & Artists Moving Image 1988 5 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


In 1988 the celebrated South Shields animator Sheila Graber was troubled by the stereotypes promoted in toys for boys and girls, and indulged in a little utopian dreaming. At the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, a rebel rock chick fairy subverts traditional gender mythmaking with magical music as children’s toys spring to life and do battle.

The guitar-wielding fairy in Sheila Graber’s film is probably a tribute to the important Venezuelan musician and composer, master of the cuatro (a small guitar or lute), Fredy Reyna, who gifted her the music on the film soundtrack and also had an extraordinary collection of historical toys. Graber stayed with the Reyna family whilst running an animation workshop at the Caracas Film Festival in 1987.