Boyish Charms


Boyish Charms is a short film featuring a cast of original puppet characters that challenges and expands children’s current ideas of masculinity. A young boy named Kaz is sent on a quest by Brother Earth (son of Mother Earth) to learn what it means to be a boy. He earns charms by going through challenges that initially seem to reinforce traditional ideas of masculinity, but ultimately teach him qualities like asking for help, vulnerability, compassion, and emotional expression.

Movie with a Mission

It is a misconception that men thrive under the patriarchy. True, aspects of patriarchal society boost men above other groups; however, the patriarchy hurts men and boys in a unique way.

From birth, boys learn to be tough, to be strong, not to cry. To “man up.” Boys endlessly try to prove their masculinity to male peers. Current society determines “real” manhood based on a patriarchy-approved definition, creating boys and men obsessed with conforming to these conventions that harm everyone, including themselves. Boys who are taught not to cry grow into men with expertise in repressing their feelings. There is a dangerous trend in our world of men keeping their mental struggles to themselves rather than seeking the help they so desperately need. For many men, exploring a fresh, healthier masculinity feels threatening to their current understanding of manhood. They feel safer suffering in silence.

It is crucial to raise this next generation of boys, as well as children of other genders, to embrace a broader idea of masculinity that expands beyond its current outdated and dangerous definition. For once men understand their personal stake in the battle for gender equality, all genders will work together more effectively for change.

As a boy who never fit into the box, questions of masculinity always grabbed Yanniv’s interest. But in November of 2020, his explorations intensified when he uncovered traumatic, yet formative memories from childhood that shaped his understanding of his own masculinity. Immersing himself into this quest for understanding, he read Man Enough by Justin Baldoni, For the Love of Men by Liz Plank, Boys & Sex and Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein, and became a devoted listener of The Man Enough Podcast. With new understanding of the burdens of stereotypical masculinity, Yanniv decided to use his experience in puppetry to teach boys the lessons he learned and unlearned in an age appropriate and impactful way. Thus, Boyish Charms was born.

Meet the Team

Click for bio

Character Designs

Production Timeline

Click here to view the full production calendar.

  • October 2021 – Yanniv Frank decided his MFA project would be a puppet film teaching mindful masculinity to children and their families

  • December 2021 – Yanniv Frank created a plot outline, character designs, production calendar, and production budget for his film that he would call Boyish Charms

  • January 2022 – Boyish Charms was approved by the University of Connecticut School of Fine Arts as Yanniv Frank’s MFA project

  • March 2022 – Bart Roccoberton, Tlaloc Rivas, and Dr. Barbara Gurr joined as advisors on Boyish Charms

  • May 2022 – Susan Tolis joined as an advisor on Boyish Charms

  • May 2022 – Work on the screenplay for Boyish Charms began

  • June 2022 – Begin to write the first draft of the screenplay and work on puppet designs

  • July 2022 – First draft of the screenplay and preliminary puppet designs

  • August 2022 – Second draft of the screenplay, practice puppet build, and crew member assignments

  • September 2022 – Begin fabrication of the puppets for the film, host an informal reading of the second draft of the screenplay

  • October 2022 – Continue puppet fabrication, begin set build, complete third draft of the screenplay

  • November 2022 – Continue puppet fabrication and set build, begin storyboarding, announce auditions and cast the film. Begin collaboration with UConn Digital Media and Design students to assemble film crew and equipment.

  • December 2022 – Complete puppet fabrication, host first table read with the cast, screenplay locked

  • January 2023 – Final preparations for shoot (rehearsals, scenic, props), begin shoot at end of the month.

  • February 2023 – Finish film shoot, begin post production.

  • March 2023 – Finish final cut. Host Film premiere.

  • April 2023 – Publish film online, begin touring the film to schools, complete MFA Summary Book


Please fill out the contact form below to request more information about the project. Yanniv will get back to you as soon as he can.

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