short film

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Photography

Snails Paint the Town in Miniature Scenes Crafted by Aleia Murawski and Sam Copeland

January 17, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Aleia Murawski and Sam Copeland, shared with permission

Illinois-based Aleia Murawski and Sam Copeland have a knack for creating miniature—and slimy—worlds just big enough for their tiny acquaintances to glide through. The creative duo is known for constructing realistic domestic settings featuring plastic covered furniture and a messy painting studio occupied by snails for its stills and short films. Now, though, the artists are pushing the critters beyond their comfortable homes for a fun night out. The snails are shot sliding up to a limo, basking under the glimmer of a disco ball, and gobbling up a cheeseburger in a quaint diner.

“It is a really fun challenge for us to come up with these scenes and to find different ways to execute it so it feels believable and lived in, despite its fabrication,” Murawski told Colossal. The bowling scene utilizes a ball controlled by a magnet that the creators shot frame-by-frame as it moved along the alley. That set took multiple days to get right, she says, from using coffee stir sticks to build out the floor to employing a vacuum-foaming machine to construct each chair.

Murawksi says the duo’s process is “very rooted in play and experimentation. We are always looking for new ways to construct different elements in a scene and trying varied techniques to create depth and motion in our work.” To keep up with the snails’ shenanigans, head to Murawski’s Instagram. You can even buy a print of their slippery adventures to add to your collection.

 

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Animation Craft

Wool Characters Share in Love’s Hardships in Stop-Motion Film by Anushka Naanayakkara

December 26, 2019

Grace Ebert

A new stop-motion film chronicles the excitement, messiness, and tragedy of love. Directed by BAFTA-winning animation director Anushka Naanayakkara, “A Love Story” depicts two characters who are made of wool, lace, and other fabric remnants as they navigate an entangled relationship. At the beginning, small pieces of string from each face weave into the other, altering their compositions with every interaction to demonstrate the relationship’s effects. Soon the two become so entwined that their faces exhibit completely different patterns and colors. Lastly, an ambiguous dark force appears to envelope the pair and ultimately severs their tangled bonds.

Although the film features love’s tribulations, the director said she wanted to “bring comfort to audiences who have been through a similar experience” in an interview with Short of the Week. The short film was produced by the National Film and Television School in the UK. More of Naanayakkara’s heartfelt projects can be found on Vimeo. (via Short of the Week)

 

 



Documentary Food

Déguste: A New Short Film Showing the Beauty and Brutality of Commercial Kitchen Work

November 1, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Alternating between sensual, almost biological macro shots of raw ingredients and the harsh, dully-lit environs of a commercial kitchen, Déguste captures the dual reality of working as a professional chef. The majesty, beauty, and limitless potential of natural ingredients—mushrooms, red meat, fresh greens—are right at hand for the commercial cook. But the unrelenting pace of orders in, orders up, dishing out multiple copies of the same meal at once, and juggling the dangers of sharp and hot tools cuts in again and again. Déguste gives viewers a glimpse at how the sausage gets made, so to speak, in the restaurant world, with an electrifying soundtrack of atmospheric sounds. Created by Paris-based studio Insolence Productions, the short has been lauded at multiple film festivals. See more from Insolence on Vimeo

 

 



Animation

Live Action, Sculptural Animation, and Painting Merge in the Dizzying Short Film ‘The Full Story’

October 2, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Two, three, and four dimensions commingle in “The Full Story” by filmmaker Daisy Jacobs and animator Chris Wilder. In their previous, highly lauded short, “The Bigger Picture”, the duo painted animations on walls, combined with sculpture components like moveable papier maché limbs, and regular ‘real world’ objects.

In their newest film, “The Full Story,” Jacobs and Wilder tell Colossal that they “really wanted to push [themselves] creatively and try new ideas.” In addition to all the elements the duo used in “The Bigger Picture,” the newer film also incorporates human actors to tell the story of two siblings’ experience of their parents acrimonious marriage.

In order to merge the real and imagined, Jacobs and Wilder explain that they made the sets more realistic and the actors more ‘painterly’ to find a stylistic middle ground. “To make the sets more realistic we emphasized textures and brought out shine with lighting and varnish. With the real people we did the opposite–painting their clothes, minimizing shadows on their faces with make-up and making them more graphic with wigs.”

Jacobs and Wilder only animate as a pair, and explain that their work is done “straight-ahead”. Each image is painted over as they animate, which allows no room for error or second takes. To complete the film, Huw Bradford created the soundtrack and a slate of random objects worked as Foley.

You can see Jacobs in action working on “The Full Story” in the time-lapse below, and see more on her Vimeo page.

 

 



Animation

Perspective Goes Out the Window in Dirk Koy’s Space-Warping Experimental Animations

August 14, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Experimental filmmaker and motion graphics artist Dirk Koy (previously) creates dizzying short films that upend viewers’ expectations of focus and perspective. In one, a high diver seems to remain static while the sky-filled frame twists and spins around him; in another, a building appears to be demolished and constructed with the simple drag of a computer cursor. Koy lives and works in Basel, where he graduated from the Academy of Art and Design. In addition to his own projects and commissions, Koy is also a lecturer on time-based media at the Academy. You can explore more of his unusual videos on Instagram and Vimeo.

 

 



Animation

A New Stop Motion Animation Chronicles a Captain’s Final Journey to the Moon

July 30, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

The Moon’s Milk is a fantastical stop motion tale by animator Ri Crawford that follows Captain Millipede on his final trip to extract milk from the moon as it begins to separate itself from the Earth. During the journey, relationships between the expedition members complicate, while enchanting connections happen in the liminal space between the sea and moon. The film presents two unique views—the one from the Earth, and the flipped perspective seen from the moon. The score for the film was created by Caroline Penwarden, the sound design by Richard Beggs, and singer Tom Waits served as the story’s narrator. You can take a look behind-the-scenes of film in the video below, and see more of his animations on Vimeo. (via Laughing Squid)

Update: The Moon’s Milk narrative is originally told in “The Distance to the Moon,” a short story written in 1968 by the iconic Cuban-Italian author Italo Calvino. You can listen to actor Liev Schreiber read the story in its entirety on Radiolab.

 

 



Animation

Negative Space: The Vast Emotional Landscape of a Father-Son Relationship Packed into an Animated Short

July 16, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

We’ve written previously about “Negative Space”, and the highly-anticipated stop motion animation short is now available in its entirety on Vimeo. Co-directors Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata explore a character’s relationship with his father over his life, from fanciful childhood memories to the somber realities of aging and adulthood. “Negative Space” is adapted from a poem of the same name by Ron Koertge, which centers on the rituals of packing one’s possessions, passed from father to son.

You can step behind the scenes in a making-of video to see how the heartstring-tugging, Oscar-nominated film was created. Porter and Kuwahata share more of their animated films, including personal and commercial projects, on Vimeo.