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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.

 

 

 



Photography

Stranded: Striking Aerial Footage Flies Over Iceland’s Fagradalsfjall Volcano as It Erupts

April 14, 2021

Grace Ebert

A few weeks ago we shared these dramatic photographs of Iceland’s Fagradalsfjall volcano as spews molten rock into the air, and a new short film by French director Stéphane Ridard hovers over the Geldingadalur landform to capture the eruption, which is the first in 6,000 years, in incredible detail. Shot on March 19, “Stranded” reveals spectacular aerial footage of rivers of lava pouring across the landscape, magma shooting upward onto the Reykjanes peninsula, and the smoky haze that blankets the site, which is located about 20 miles from Reykjavík.

Having just moved to Iceland a few weeks ago, Ridard shoots a variety of landscapes around the world, and you can find more of his films and photographs on Vimeo and Instagram.

 

 

 

 



Animation

Run Forever: A Figure Undergoes Metamorphosis as It Trudges Through Myriad Environments

April 9, 2021

Christopher Jobson

The team at Universal Everything is back with its latest video artwork, “Run Forever,” that stars a now-familiar nondescript figure as it gradually changes from material to material. While previous projects in the series have focused on structure and texture, this new short was created in collaboration with Hyundai Motorstudio as a metaphor for the group’s efforts toward sustainable design and green energy. “Run Forever” seems to turn its focus toward light, both as an artistic medium and as an energy source, as the figure suddenly blooms into a mass of plants. You can follow more of Universal Everything’s digital projects on Instagram.

 

 

 



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)

 

 

 

 



Animation Art

An Uncanny Animated Short by Fernando Livschitz Twists Mundane Scenes into Bizarre Alternatives

April 6, 2021

Grace Ebert

Argentinian director Fernando Livschitz (previously), who helms Black Sheep Films, is back with a surreal short film that envisions everyday activities and scenes with a slightly unsettling spin. Infused with Livschitz’s distinct penchant for humor and absurdity, “Anywhere Can Happen” is set to a rendition of “What a Wonderful World” by Reuben and the Dark and AG and descends into an uncanny universe of galactic rollercoasters, dimension-traveling trains, and oversized hands keen on manipulating the landscape. Watch the animated short above, and find more of Livschitz’s cleverly bizarre projects on Vimeo and Instagram.

 

 

 



Documentary Science

Chasing Ghosts: A Short Documentary Debunks a Long-Held Theory About What Pollinates the Ghost Orchid

April 5, 2021

Grace Ebert

What insect has the ability to extend down into the nearly foot-long nectar tube of the ghost orchid? For generations, that question has interested researchers who’ve speculated that the giant sphinx moth, which has a proboscis that often exceeds 10 inches, was one of few species with a tubular tongue that could reach the sticky pollen nestled inside the endangered flower.

Shot during the course of three years, a short documentary by Grizzly Creek Films follows researchers committed to proving this hypothesis. It draws on Charles Darwin’s 160-year-old studies about orchids’ evolution, particularly in relation to one species in Madagascar about which he famously said, “Good heavens. What insect could suck it?” In  “Chasing Ghosts,” the team wades into the buggy swamplands of south Florida alongside snakes and alligators to reach a grove of cypress trees, where the white flowers wrap themselves high among the boughs. There they installed cameras to capture the first-ever photograph of the giant sphinx moth probing the ghost orchid.

In total, the mission logged 6,800 camera hours and 52,173 images taken in both Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and Fakahatchee Strand and recorded five species capable of pollinating the delicate plant. Surprisingly, the same event that they sought to capture—the giant sphinx moth with its proboscis reaching into the elusive flower—actually debunked researchers’ long-held hypothesis and set them on a new course of study to determine how this plant continues to reproduce.

Watch the full documentary above, and find more of the Montana-based studio’s adventures into Yellowstone and the rugged landscapes of the southern United States on the Grizzly Creek Films’ site and Vimeo. You also can follow its discoveries on Instagram.

 

A giant sphinx moth near a ghost orchid

Peter Houlihan holding the giant sphinx moth

 

 

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