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Eerie, hypnotic, and faithfully depicting the dismal reality that is 2020, a new short film by Lydia Cambron envisions her recent quarantine experience under the frame of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. In 2020: An Isolation Odyssey, the New York City-based designer recreates the 1968 version’s iconic ending as a way to “(poke) fun at the navel-gazing saga of life alone and indoors,” she writes in a statement.
Positioned vertically, the characters’ movements are synchronized perfectly, but while the original film’s Keir Dullea wades through the ornate home in an astronaut suit, Cambron sports a face mask and latex gloves. The reenactment is situated in the designer’s one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment, and while it maintains the domestic qualities of the original, it also features contemporary updates, like a MacBook sitting on the table rather than a lavish meal. She even parallels the minutes-long credits precisely.
Cambron notes that the contemporary version considers a similarly disorienting life. “Multitasking while #wfh, conjuring guilt or longing with unused exercise equipment, your entire being reduced to a measure of time—these scenes all illustrate the absurd comedy of trying to maintain control during this unprecedented and unpredictable time,” she explains.
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Taking eight years to complete, a new stop-motion short by Suresh Eriyat and his production company Studio Eeksaurus tells a heartrending story about family, mistakes, and forgiveness. “Tokri” features a young girl’s attempts to remedy breaking a precious heirloom by weaving and selling baskets to passersby. Chronicling her travails, the claymation winds through the busy streets of Mumbai, featuring an impressively large band of characters.
Part class commentary, “Tokri” was inspired by Eriyat’s own experience in the Indian city, after he dismissed a child who approached him while stopped at a traffic light. “As he drove off, he was hit with guilt, wondering what circumstance made the little girl sell baskets, and what if his brashness had done little but drag her situation for longer,” a statement from the studio says.
A behind-the-scenes video chronicling the creation process reveals a massive set replete with constructed shops and buses, cars, and other vehicles lining the streets. It shows animators constantly moving the dozens of clay characters who walk down the sidewalk and ride on public transit. “For the details of the ambiance, we photographed various little shops on the streets for references, as well as interiors of slum houses,” the studio said. “We tried to get every detail right, from the props inside the house to the model and make of the automobiles on the road.” The result is a lively, crowded cityscape with incredibly particular elements, like the old family photograph, patterned textiles stacked in the home, and the stray animals and refuse occupying alleyways. Expansive shots capture the magnitude of the miniature scenes.
Studio Eeksaurus is headed by both Suresh and Nilima Eriyat, the company’s executive producer. The prolific animator has created hundreds of films that have garnered him an Annecy Cristal, in addition to recognition from Clios and Cannes Lions. To dive further into the making of “Tokri,” multiple videos showing the pre-production, music, and sound processes are available on Vimeo. Find more of Eriyat and the studio’s award-winning work on Instagram. (via Short of the Week)
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A new short film by Optical Arts depicts what would be a dinner-party nightmare: ceramic plates and bowls shatter, red wine cascades from long-stemmed glasses, and sharp knives dive to the floor. Despite its explosive scenes, “Tocatta” subsequently shows the same dinnerware, drinks, and plates of boiled eggs seamlessly repair and float upward as whole objects.
A multivalent consideration of physical contact, the word “tocatta” both originates from an Italian form of “to touch” and refers to a musical composition designed to showcase the performer’s refined techniques. The reparative film is set to the opening section of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Toccata and Fuge in D Minor, one of the German composer’s most recognized works. Because of its discordant runs, the musical piece historically has been used in horror films, like Rouben Mamoulian’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931), Terence Fischer’s The Phantom of the Opera (1962), and Norman Jewison’s dystopic Rollerball (1975).
Written for organ, the eerie composition adds a foreboding element to the film. The dramatic piece explores “the nature of time, the relentless violence of entropy and creative energy and its relationship to music itself,” the London-based creative studio writes in a statement. Another nod to the iconic composer, the dark, opening scenes are shots from Eisenach, Germany, where Bach was born and lived for the first few years of his life.
Update: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the film as a CGI animation.
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A Transfixing Animation Utilizes the Optical Illusions of Pareidolia to Parallel Two Narratives About Birth
Created by London-based animator and artist Vier Nev, “A Mind Sang” plunges into an entrancing journey of life’s stages. The short film is centered on themes of transformation as it hypnotically shifts perspectives scene-by-scene. “It began with twenty drawings I had created about different cultural representations of birth and identity. I find that in my drawings I often come back to the same characters: queer couples, mothers, and, for some inexplicable reason, cats,” Nev said in a Vimeo interview.
Relying on pareidolia—the tendency to see objects or patterns where they physically don’t exist—each frame simultaneously depicts two different narratives. “I wondered if I could create a film that merged the stories of these characters into the same shapes and shadows,” Nev said. The characters seamlessly change from fully realized figures into amorphous shapes, animals, and single body parts throughout the illusory project.
Although Nev originally planned for the entire film to be black and white, he instead infused bits of crimson and shades of violet. “The two red moments are particularly special to me as they signal moments where blood (sangue) fills the frame,” he said. “First as fire and then as water, blood represents death or birth.”
“A Mind Sang” recently won a Staff Pick Award at the 2020 Annecy International Animation Film Festival. Check out stills of the transformative project on Nev’s Instagram, and follow his upcoming animations on Vimeo.
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In “Stickmatch,” a new short film, a matchstick-like twig lands onto the screen, and with one long strike, it spontaneously ignites flames. These sparks don’t manifest in their usual form, though. The flames are replaced with leaves from various trees that are colored all the hues of autumn, from bright green to amber yellow.
Created by William Crook, a London-born animator who now lives in Zürich, “Stickmatch” was an undertaking at a residency at Sasso in Italy. The sounds throughout the animation contain a mashup of crackling flames and crispy leaves rustling underneath feet. As the film plays, the miniature leaves dance to the “oxygen” around them, and the little twig becomes shorter and shorter until it’s no more.
To watch more of Crook’s animated projects, visit Vimeo.
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Animation director Patrick Smith ingeniously interchanges a variety of pills, capsules, and syringes with similarly shaped candy in a vertiginous new short film. Parodying the ubiquity of modern pharmaceutical use, “Candy Shop” opens by noting that there are a staggering 11,926 prescription drugs available to consumers. Smith shows only 2,863 as he juxtaposes them with individually wrapped sweets, boxes of Gobstoppers, and rolls of Hubba Bubba Tape, which are eerily comparable in size, shape, and color.
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