ENJOY THE SHOW
"If it isn't the town's newest hero…" It's time to meet Speedy the Turtle! This fun, 2D animated short film is made by a Dutch filmmaker named Nigel Lievaart as his graduation project at Utrecht School of the Arts in 2018. He now works at a studio called KLOMP! in the Netherlands. Speedy the Turtle is a "Saturday Morning Cartoon"-inspired short about a speedy hero who runs more like Sonic the Hedgehog than a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race turtle. He must battle a big bad Tiki god named Tori. Starring the voices of Jacob Barrens. Nigel originally came up with the character when he was a kid, but brought him back for his final animation project. He did almost all of the animation himself, then worked with a team on other aspects. "The film stands alone as a short, but with the team's love for the old Saturday morning cartoons they've set up the story as a pilot, dreaming that one day Speedy could unfold into an animated series." Enjoy the short.
Don't let grief get the best of you, it can consume good people. This radical animated short definitely isn't for kids. Coyote is an animated short made by the Swiss filmmaker Lorenz Wunderle and the animation studio YK Animation based in Bern. The film's story is about a coyote tormented by fear, anger, and grief after his entire family is killed by wolves. "Besides grief and delusion, evil takes up more and more space." Lorenz explains he was inspired "by so much TV animation, movies or comics from my past", mainly Ghost in the Shell, when he first realized animation could also be violent and not only for kids. Not everyone will enjoy this short, but that doesn't matter, it's a story he wants to tell in this way. And we're happy to feature shorts that are this ambitious and impressive - in style and substance. Just watch out - it's gory and violent.
"I fell in love with my human's scent." GKids has unveiled the new official US trailer for the indie animated film titled Marona's Fantastic Tale, made by Romanian filmmaker Anca Damian (A Very Unsettled Summer, Moon Hotel Kabul) with graphic design by Brecht Evens. This French feature premiered at the Annecy Film Festival last year (here's the first trailer), and is finally getting a virtual release this summer. The film is about a little dog who, at the end of her life, looks back on her life and tells the story of her various owners. She has loved them all unconditionally, but of course life hasn't always been easy. The film is beautiful not only because it's told from the perspective of a dog, but also due to the strange, entrancing, imaginative animation style that mixes techniques to create something unique. Featuring the voice of Lizzie Brocheré as Marona. It's a rather lovely one-of-a-kind film that I'll recommend to intrepid fans of cinema.
Time to get super weird! Armstrong is a mesmerizing, one-of-a-kind animated short film from filmmaker Russ Etheridge based in Brighton, England. The story is about a woman working in a factory who watches her crush from afar. One day, the moon disappears and her world breaks into pieces like a jigsaw puzzle. Etheridge explains the idea "came from our desire to tell a fantastical story in the vein of Hindu mythology, where anything can happen and celestial bodies often interact with human beings. In an episode of Hindu epic narrative the Mahabharata, the moon is stolen by one of the gods. This made us wonder - how might the sudden absence of the moon affect the world? We began to experiment with the idea of things falling apart, into their component pieces and the story began to take shape." But it's the visuals and the geometric shapes that make up this world that make the short really stand out. Utterly delightful, and just a bit funky.
"I don't know if all this is real or just a dream." Who is the crazy one here? Decorado is a fascinating short film from Spanish animation filmmaker Alberto Vázquez (also of Birdboy: The Forgotten Children). This premiered at festivals back in 2016, but is finally available to watch online for free. Decorado is described as "an ironic and existentialist fable about the meaning of life and our relationships. A hybrid between a horror story and a subversive comedy… Beyond the argument or the existential content, contains an unusual and risky formal commitment – the use of an aesthetic that imitates the classic engravings of the 19th century." The film is about Arnold the bear, who starts to wonder if everyone he meets is putting on a performance to undermine his sanity. It's astonishing and also quite trippy, but that makes it unique. Click [cc] for subtitles.
Turn off that TV, put down the remote, and get out and help the world. There is hope. If you know where to look for it. MOM (or is just Mom?) is a gorgeous animated short film made by a talented young filmmaker named Kajika Aki Ferrazzini now based in France. She briefly studied at the Gobelins school, but then left to work on her own personal projects - this is one of her first creations and it's spectacular. Short of the Week describes it beautifully: "There is a sense of lyricality to the senseless tragedy of the film's plot that is best described by mono no aware, a Japanese concept that is deeply embedded in the country’s artistic culture, where a beautiful sadness is spurred by the recognition of the impermanence of all things." Indeed.
"You're burning! Be careful!" KimStim has released an official US trailer for an experiential animated film titled The Wolf House, the English version of the original Spanish name - La Casa Lobo. The 75-minute film is animated using the paint / repaint stop-motion technique with various real-world objects and rooms worked right into the visuals. The story is very strange - it's about Maria, a young woman who takes refuge in a tiny house in southern Chile after escaping from a German colony. "Using stop-motion techniques and combining elements of various fables, photography, drawing, sculpture, and stage performance, Joaquín Cociña and Cristóbal León have created a nightmarish shapeshifter of a film." Starring Amalia Kassai and Rainer Krause. It is supremely weird and trippy, and gets to be a bit much, spiraling into utter madness.
Don't mess with mother nature…! Or it will mess with you back. Wild Love is a hilarious, wacky animated short film made by a group of five filmmakers from the École des Nouvelles Images animation school in Avignon, France. If you enjoyed the short Hors Piste (from last year), this is made the same school and has a fun style and dark humor just like that. A young couple heads to the mountains for a romantic getaway in nature. When they accidentally end up killing a furry little rodent, the animals rally and go for revenge. It's rather nice to see the animals getting some respect, for once, but man does this get brutal once they go after these two humans. Ha! But that's exactly what makes this such a unique and crazy wild short film. Have fun.
Woof woof! If you put dogs (or a dog) in your short film, it's an absolute guarantee that I'll watch it. More dogs in cinema, the better! Peripheria is an animated short film (or rather it's an "illustrated" short film) made by French filmmaker David Coquard-Dassault. It originally premiered back in 2015, and won tons of awards including at the Annecy Film Festival and other fests. Now it's available online to watch for free - so you might as well give it a look. Peripheria is a much darker and contemplative short that seems to act as a metaphor for society and some of the problems plaguing our world. We follow various stray dogs as they run around various buildings. The filmmaker is "fascinated" by urban developments, and sets this film in a mesmerizing world of an abandoned housing project where the dogs roam wild. There isn't a clear narrative in this film, but it's still an impressive and thought-provoking experiment in visual storytelling. View below.
How far would you go to make sure you're always on top? This amusing short film titled Second to None explores the themes of ambition and dominance. Frederick Butterfield is determined to be the oldest man alive. The only thing standing in his way is his twin brother Herman, who is older by a mere minute. Their lifelong sibling rivalry culminates with a deadly competition. Get ready for a good laugh. Made by the Irish filmmaker Vincent Gallagher, this animated short is a fairly quick watch and entirely worth your time. The ending will leave you with a sly smirk. Starring Morgan C. Jones as the voice of Frederick Butterfield. Not only is the animation itself quite unique, especially the quirky old dudes character design, but the story itself is absurd and dark but still so much fun. It's obvious that trying to take out others only leads to self-harm, but mostly this is just an enjoyable animated story about two old dudes battling it out to be the oldest.
"What could go wrong?" As we all know, the answer to that question is: everything. Bendito Machine 6: Carry On is the sixth and final episode in the epic animation project known as "Bendito Machine". Created and directed by Spanish animation filmmaker Jossie Malis (aka "Zumbakamera"), this animated saga first launched in 2006 with Episode I titled "Everything You Need". Now 14 years later, Malis has finally finished and debuted Episode VI online for us to enjoy. The concept of Bendito Machine involves using animation to show how "simple-minded organisms" (read: humans) abuse their relationship with machines / technology. Similar to "primitive shadow theaters, Bendito Machine is a combination of industrial mechanization and hysterical humanity, battered as it faces its own evolution, at the mercy of technological advances and unknown forces." Most of all, it's an amusing animated saga of how squishy creatures have lost their way on the path of evolution. If you've never seen any Bendito Machine before, dive in. If you have, enjoy the finale.
So what do mushrooms sound like? Does anyone know…? Are they squishy or buzzy or just silent? This fun experimental animated short film titled Sounds Good follows a curious boom mic operator "on a journey", trying to record the sound of mushrooms. Made by young Estonian animation filmmaker Sander Joon, the short film goes to some seriously strange and trippy places. Of course, there's some excellent sound work in this, too. Joon was inspired to "experiment with audio in his work" after rewatching the classic Man with a Movie Camera. There isn't a clear narrative here, but doesn't matter, as there are still plenty of interesting ideas interpreted in Joon's minimal animation style. Any & all animation fans should give this short a look.