short film

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Animation

A Satirical New Animation by Greenpeace Swamps Boris Johnson in a Gushing Sea of Plastic

May 19, 2021

Grace Ebert

Greenpeace’s new campaign opens with a single bottle bouncing off Boris Johnson’s head mid-press conference before a waterfall of plastic overwhelms the prime minister and carries him out to the street. The satirical and pressing animation pours the equivalent of the 1.8 million kilograms of waste the U.K. sends to other countries each day into Downing Street, which topples Johnson and Michael Gove as it literally engulfs the British political landscape.

Wasteminster: A Downing Street Disaster” is the organization’s latest effort to put pressure on the government to enact new policies around recycling and the environment. “Much of (the plastic waste) ends up illegally dumped or burnt, poisoning local people and polluting oceans and rivers,” says Greenpeace U.K. political campaigner Sam Chetan-Welsh. “The government could put a stop to this but so far Boris Johnson is only offering half measures. We need a complete ban on all plastic waste exports and legislation to make U.K. companies reduce the amount of plastic they produce in the first place.”

Conceptualized and produced by Studio Birthplace alongside Park Village, the short film lifts actual quotes from interviews and speeches made by Johnson and the U.K. government, many of which boast about the nation’s success in combatting pollution. While the 3D figures resemble Johnson and Gove, directors Jorik Dozy and Sil van der Woerd say they’re not identical in order to “introduce some distance to these real politicians. After all, they are only dummies. Our intention was not to ridicule politicians, but to place their dummy-personas in a direct conflict with the invisible consequences of their own actions.”

Read more about Greenpeace’s initiative and the film’s production process, which involved lengthy research and the help of CG producers Method & Madness, on Studio Birthplace’s site.

 

 

 



Dance

Duplicate Figures Freeze in Motion as a Dancer Writhes and Contorts Her Body in an Entrancing Short Film

May 10, 2021

Grace Ebert

Weakness of the Flesh” is a captivating and eerie short film that appears to clone dancer Emma Rosenzweig-Bock, who twists and contorts her body amongst a sea of her own figure. Shot in Los Angeles, the disquieting piece contrasts Rosenzweig-Bock’s graceful sequences with more compulsive, Suspiria-esque jolts as she writhes and pulls her dirt-covered body from the concrete. As she dances, her doubles glitch and freeze in position, sometimes predicting her next move or remaining still in a previous bend.

Co-directed, animated, and edited by Kevin McGloughlin with a score by Max Cooper, “Weakness of the Flesh” was produced by Jacob Jonas The Company as part of Films.Dance, a series of 15 short films created during the pandemic that merge dance, film, fashion, and music. You can watch the other performances on Vimeo.

 

 

 



Photography

Years of Storms Rage Across the Sky in a Dramatic New Timelapse by Mike Olbinski

May 3, 2021

Grace Ebert

Grab your hat before pressing play on Mike Olbinski’s “Shadows in the Sky.” The Phoenix-based filmmaker, photographer, and storm chaser (previously) just released a turbulent film that shows funnel clouds pouring down to the ground, multiple tornadoes tearing across the landscape in a single blur, and the sky heaving and contorting in constant motion. The dramatic, sometimes dizzying compilation blends Olbinski’s favorite clips from the last few years and is set to Eric Kinney and Danica Dora’s foreboding “The Last Goodbye.” As the track builds in intensity about halfway through, “Shadows in the Sky” switches from monochrome to capture the circulating clouds in full color.

Find an extensive archive of Olbinski’s tumultuous timelapses, including many of the original films containing the scenes shown here, on Vimeo and Instagram.

 

 

 



Animation

A Heartwarming Animation Set to Poetry Reminds Us 'How to Be at Home'

April 27, 2021

Grace Ebert

As we collectively count down the days until we can safely enjoy post-vaccination visits with friends and family, a delightful animation has a comforting message for those of us struggling to reign in our anxiety: “If this disruption undoes you, if the absence of people unravels you…lean into loneliness and know you’re not alone in it.”

A collaboration between poet Tanya Davis and filmmaker Andrea Dorfman, “How to Be at Home” plucks some of the same scenarios from the duo’s wildly popular “How to Be Alone”—watch the 2010 film on YouTube and pick up the illustrated book from Bookshop—and translates them into quarantine terms fit for 2020: where benches and public transit once were spaces ripe for interaction, they’re now hazards to be avoided, and a lunch-time scroll through your phone is no longer a distraction but a welcome way to stay connected.

The animated scenes emerge from the pages of a book, an emblem closely associated with solitude, through a mix of live footage and stop-motion techniques. Set to the dulcet rhythms of Davis’s poem, the short film flows through ubiquitous pandemic activities like home yoga, watching long films (including all the credits!), and solo dance parties and reminds us how we’re all bound together even when we’re physically apart.

“How to Be at Home” is one of 30 pandemic-themed films created through The Curve, a platform supported by the National Film Board of Canada. To see more of Dorfman’s illustrations and animations, check out her Instagram and Vimeo. You also might enjoy Gemma Green-Hope’s animated portrait of her grandmother.

 

 

 



Animation

An Anxious Bird Braves His Fear of Flying in a Charming Animated Short

April 14, 2021

Grace Ebert

Dougal is a nervous little bird with an overwhelming dread for an activity he’s supposed to instinctively enjoy: he’s afraid to fly. A charming short film written and directed by Conor Finnegan follows Dougal as he hunkers down in the north for the winter. Throughout his journey, the anxious creature faces a multitude of obstacles, from a blustery trudge through a snowstorm to the threat of a thieving squirrel, before finally deciding to join his friends down south.

Seamlessly combining live-action puppetry and stop-motion techniques, “Fear of Flying” is a collaborative project—Finnegan details the entire process in an interview with Short of the Week—that involved Fallover Bros and Renate Henschke crafting the flock of wide-eyed avians and a larger team of 14 or 15 creatives aiding in production.

Watch more of Finnegan’s light-hearted animations, which include one detailing an unusual friendship between Rock, Paper, and Scissors and another about a dutiful character named Fluffy McCloud, on his agency’s site.

 

 

 



Animation

Save Ralph: A Stop-Motion Animation Critiques the Devastating Impacts of Animal Testing

April 7, 2021

Grace Ebert

Note: This video contains brief, simulated animal testing that might be disturbing.

Meet Ralph, a modest rabbit whose life revolves around his role as a product tester. A new stop-motion animation follows the creature throughout a typical day as he struggles to brush his teeth, shudders from back pain, and undergoes a painful round of trials for various beauty-related goods. Opening with his descriptions of the extensive damage already sustained to his hearing and sight, “Save Ralph” is the latest campaign for the Humane Society of the United States and a poignant and heartbreaking critique of animal testing.

Sprinkled with moments of levity, the mockumentary-style animation features a high-profile cast Taika Waititi voices the main character, and Ricky Gervais is the interviewer, with shorter vocal appearances by Olivia Munn, Zac Efron, Pom Klementieff, Rodrigo Santoro, and Tricia Helfer—and is a collaboration with Arch Model Studio. Watch the full campaign above, and find out how to fight the issue on the Humane Society site. (via Short of the Week)