An innovative combination of textures, colours and music used to invoke an array of emotions, the SHORTS…TO ANIMATE is a collection of eleven animated films lasting between two to eleven minutes long. Their stories range from the fanciful to the informative, creepy to calming, paper animation to chalk drawings.
Perhaps the most striking among them is MR. DEER (directed by Mojtaba Mousavi). Set in what appears to be a dystopia, where the people have animal faces, MR. DEER takes a dark look at a broken world where those struggling to be and do good are fighting a losing battle. The realistic animation type is accompanied by eerie music which perfectly enriches the atmosphere, creating an all-encompassing sense of dread. The use of animal faces is a genius way to express the characteristics of each person, showcasing their undesirable qualities such as the greedy pig, or the parasitic vulture. MR. DEER is an excellent example of an animated short done right.
At first the concept of ROOM (directed by Michal Socha) didn’t seem all that appealing but it is capable of proving everyone wrong to deliver another memorable short. The narrative follows a bearded head who is stuck in a box-like room and wants to get out. That’s it. And yet this little surrealist doodle had the entire auditorium captivated. The humour was brilliantly timed and had everyone in the audience chuckling throughout, especially when the bearded hero briefly enters a trippy space world filled with vibrant colours and dreamlike logic. ROOM certainly is an unusual idea brought to life.
A final short that deserves a mention is YOUR MOTHER IS A THIEF (directed by Marie-Josee Saint-Pierre). These chalk drawings contain some very adult themes, specifically emotional abuse and manipulation among family members. The narrative follows a small family who have fallen apart, when the father gains custody over the young child the child begins picking up on all of the father’s negative attitudes concerning the mother. YOUR MOTHER IS A THIEF contains some shocking moments and bold, flashing images, and yet there are also many heart-warming moments too. It is certainly a highlight of the collection.
The SHORTS TO…ANIMATE program is a fascinating assortment which will leave you stunned, questioning reality, and smiling all the way home.
The SHORTS…TO ANIMATE program screens again at Cambridge Film Festival on Tuesday 30th October, 5pm at the Arts Picturehouse.