One look at the shortlisted films in the Animation category of this year Rushes Soho Shorts Festival and I instantly knew I was probably watching too many animated shorts. I’ve done very little animation in my time and in no way would I ever describe myself as an animator, but somehow writing for DN for all this time, animation has become somewhat of an obsession of mine.
Of the three animations shortlisted this year, I’d previously seen two and with the third I was already well acquainted with the director’s work.
First on the list was Mikey Please’s Bafta winning stop motion The Eagleman Stag, an exquisitely detailed and charmingly odd short about the discovery of the first known creature with the ability to re-grow fresh nerve tissue:
Peter’s life has been spent in both fascination and fear of his quickening perception of time with age. As he nears the end of his days, his interest turns to obsession and he undertakes progressively extreme measures to control and counter time’s increasing pace. Peter also discovers that if you repeat the word ‘fly’ for long enough, it sounds like you’re saying ‘life’. This is of no real help to him. His answers lie in the brain of a beetle.
If you want to know more about how Mikey Please made such a visually stunning film, check out the short timelapse piece below:
Next up was Nokia ‘Dot’ (featured on DN back in September), a film that set a new world record for the smallest stop motion animated character in a film. Produced by Aardman Animation and created by Sumo Science on the Nokia N8 phone, Nokia ‘Dot’ is the story of a 9mm girl called Dot and her breathtaking microscopic adventures.
Again, if you want to know about how the film was made, those nice Sumo Science guys have provided an insightful making of video:
Last, but by no means least comes A Morning Stroll by Grant Orchard, an animated short that switches styles three times throughout its almost seven minute duration. Produced by Studio AKA (the studio putting its weight behind Matter Fisher and other animated treats) and directed by Grant Orchard (creator of Park Football & Love Sport), this zany short pushes animation to its limits with its imaginative characters and worlds.
Each film has its own merits and all three are a perfect example of the heights you can reach when you explore the endless possibilities of animation. Saying that, I’d be very surprised if Mikey Please’s The Eagleman Stag didn’t win!