With last year’s shortlist revealing Mickey Please’s extraordinary BAFTA winning stop motion The Eagleman Stag upon my bewildered eyes for the first time, as well as introducing us to A Morning Stroll by Grant Orchard, I was once again expecting big things from the Animation Award nominees. I’m happy to report that this year’s shortlist didn’t disappoint, with my three favourite films from the category featuring two eagerly awaited animations from Dan Ojari and Jospeh Pierce and a recent favourite in Pythagasaurus.
Slow Derek – Dan Ojari
Having toured the world since its premiere at the Royal College of Art show in 2011, Dan Ojari’s Slow Derek – a film about a man struggling with the true speed of planet earth – is an animation with a reputation quickly gathering pace. Animation is not a medium renowned for its use of the slowly unwinding storyline, but with Slow Derek focusing on a man seemingly stuck in the mundane rigors of everyday life, the confident pacing of Ojari’s short really stands out. Set in a meticulously detailed industrialised world and shot using stop-motion techniques, Derek’s world suddenly catapults into life with the simple discovery of an informational card in his morning cereal.
Pythagasaurus – Peter Peake
If you know even a little about the animation industry in the UK, the name Aardman should be instantly recognisable to you. Infamous for their claymation work, the studio has been creating animations for over 40 years and show no signs of stopping in the near future. Whilst their feature films will always hog the limelight, the studio has also been producing some outstanding shorts in recent years (Luis Cook’s The Pearce Sisters being an excellent example). Featuring a maths-loving dinosaur and two hapless cavemen, latest short Pythagasaurus, from director Peter Peake features all the fun you’d usually expect in an Aardman film, whilst also injecting a huge dose of style with some beautifully realised animation from the CG department.
The Pub – Jospeh Pierce
I first stumbled across the work of Joseph Pierce at the London International Animation Festival back in 2008, where his short Stand Up blew me away with its dark humour and distinctive style. Pierce’s recognisable approach to animation is back once again in his latest short The Pub. The third in a trilogy of rotoscoped shorts, this latest instalment of weirdness from the award winning animator submerges us in the murky slipstream of a North London pub.