short film

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Animation Documentary

Absurd Office Etiquette and Sincere Storytelling: Colossal’s Top Short Films of 2021

December 14, 2021

Grace Ebert

Suffice to say, 2021 has been an emotional rollercoaster, so it’s no surprise that the short films topping Colossal’s list span the gamut: there are uncomfortable situations of poor (and relatable) office etiquette, heartwrenching indictments of the injustices around us, and purely fun works of animation. We’ve listed the most-watched shorts here and included a few extras in case you need to escape from end-of-year work projects or family gatherings.

 

“Moonwalk” by Nalle Sjoblad

Nalle Sjoblad’s “Moonwalk” uses brutal Home Alone-esque sequences of poor planning, office rage, and failure to appreciate even basic spatial relationships in order to remind us that the most uncomfortable, humiliating scenarios only last for a moment.

 

“Career Limiting” by Anna Mantzaris

Swedish director Anna Mantzaris follows a mischievous character through a series of wildly inappropriate misdeeds and poor office etiquette. Created collaboratively by Passion Pictures and Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand, the lighthearted-turned-sincere short film compares snipping off a coworker’s tie or wreaking workplace havoc to the unfair penalties of being a mother.

 

“Voice Above Water” by Dana Frankoff

Each day, 90-year-old Wayan gathers his nets and mesh sacks and sets his small boat out on the coast of Bali, although he’s adapted his routine in recent years: rather than harvesting food for his family and community, he scoops up wrappers, bottles, and other refuse and carries the discarded material back to the beach for recycling. San Francisco-based director Dana Frankoff visits Wayan at his coastal home in her impactful debut “Voice Above Water.”

 

“Save Ralph” by Arch Model Studio

Created for the Humane Society of the United States, “Save Ralph” is a poignant and heartbreaking critique of animal testing. It follows a modest rabbit whose life revolves around his role as a product tester and chronicles his struggles to brush his teeth, back pain, and a harsh round of trials for various beauty-related goods.

 

“Dead Meat” by Adnan Peer Mohamed

Selfish, hungry, and more cunning than he appears, the zany seagull in Adnan Peer Mohamed’s “Dead Meat” sends feathers flying. The animated short opens with the creature scouring a boardwalk for food, and after mistaking a bolt for a snack, he snatches an entire hotdog only to find a fellow bird is after the same sausage.

 

We also enjoyed: Pascal Schelbli’s poignant animation that reimagines plastic waste as ocean life, Roman De Giuli’s mesmerizing timelapse of ink gushing across the earth like water, and Patrick Smith’s hypnotic short film that rhythmically spins through 3,745 masks from around the world.

 

 

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Animation

Two Curious Rats Endure the Disastrous Effects of an Experiment Gone Haywire in an Animated Short

December 1, 2021

Grace Ebert

What happens when a pair of curious (and hungry) rats find themselves in a kitchen of potions, tonics, and jars of strange preservatives? “Experiment” is a short film by Zoé Berton-Bojko and Susana Covo Perez—they produced the piece as part of their graduation project at the School of New Images—that follows two dueling rodents as they spar over a single dried mushroom. Once they each finally take a bite of the magical fungi, glass-shattering, fiery chaos ensues in a manner that’s as graceful as it is humorously bizarre.

Watch the full animation above, and find more student projects on the Avignon-based school’s Vimeo.

 

 

 



Photography Science

A Striking Short Film Documents the Otherworldly Organisms Living Just Beneath the Water’s Surface

November 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

With the aid of multiple microscopes, filmmaker and photographer Jan van IJken (previously) unveils the otherwise imperceptible maneuvers and bodily transformations of plankton. He focuses on a diverse array of underwater organisms, which all fall under the same taxonomy because of their inability to swim against the tides and are crucial to life on Earth, providing half of all oxygen through photosynthesis. Set against black backdrops, the marine drifters appear otherworldly in shape and color, and the filmmaker documents water flea eggs visible through translucent membranes, the spiked fringe of cyanobacteria, and the minuscule movements of various creatures as they wriggle across the screen.

Planktonium is accompanied by an audio composition by Norwegian artist Jana Winderen, which features sounds that are generally too difficult for humans to hear unaided, including the gurgles of water deep below the surface or the crackling insides of ice cubes. In addition to the truncated film shown above—find the full 15-minute version on Vimeo—van Ijken also released a photo series of the strange creatures, which are available in prints as part of a limited-edition boxset on his site.

 

Waterfleas carrying eggs

Copepod with diatoms attached

Echinoderm larva

Gloeotrichia – Cyanobacteria

 

 



Animation Art

Artificial Organisms: Shimmering Digital Creatures Undulate and Pulse with Light in Maxim Zhetskov’s New Film

November 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

In “Artificial Organisms,” Russian director Maxim Zhestkov (previously) enlivens machine intelligence to create palpitating marine organisms that radiate with vibrant bands of light. The hulking, life-like specimens, which are comprised of countless individual spheres, are presented floating in undulating masses or enveloping a stark white structure in groups evocative of a coral reef. Each piece fuses the artificial and organic, producing “a bizarre world of mesmerizing digital creatures,” Zhestkov says. “A combination of biological symmetry and impeccable digital matter, they are a representation of budding artificial intelligence.” To watch more of the director’s projects, head to Vimeo, Instagram, and Behance.

 

 

 



Animation

A Polar Bear Made of Ice Navigates a Melting Arctic Landscape in a Powerful Stop-Motion Short

November 5, 2021

Grace Ebert

A poignant short film by London-based animation studio Nomint is a stunning reminder that we can’t reverse climate disasters. Produced for WWF’s Arctic Programme, “We Can’t Negotiate with Ice” follows a polar bear as it traverses a landscape comprised of melting glaciers, rising seas, and a video-montaged backdrop with flashes of violent storms and wildfires. The stop-motion short is a plea for world leaders to take sweeping, monumental actions at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference and is a year in the making, having used more than 1,000 liters of ice to create 500 unique polar bear sculptures and their surroundings. For more from Nomint’s animated campaigns, head to Vimeo.

 

 

 



Craft Documentary

In ‘Raw Craft,’ the Late Anthony Bourdain Visits the Bay Area Press Utilizing 19th-Century Bookmaking Techniques

October 28, 2021

Grace Ebert

Regardless of its unabashed tech culture, San Francisco remains a hub for analog artforms, hosting an annual festival that uses a 7-ton steamroller to print linocuts and housing one of the last remaining publishers of its kind. Arion Press is dedicated to the age-old practice of bookmaking, and with a small team of type casters, proofreaders, printers, and binders, painstakingly produces artist publications entirely by hand.

An episode of Raw Craft, a film series produced by The Balvenie distillery, visits the publisher with the late Anthony Bourdain as host. For three seasons, the beloved chef, writer, and travel icon toured the U.S. visiting tailors, metal casters, saxophone designers, and myriad crafters devoted to traditional techniques. On his stop at Arion Press, Bourdain explores all steps of the bookmaking process, from using 19th Century technology to print each letter with metal type, proofing the text by reading out loud, and stitching each page by hand.

Dive into the publisher’s process in the episode above, check out some of its latest projects on Instagram, and browse publications, notebooks, cards, and other goods in its shop. You also might enjoy this film chronicling the last day of hot metal typesetting at The New York Times.

 

 

 

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Sailing Ship Kite