MIFF 2019: Animation Shorts Program

Dance of the Dead (2019)

Director: Scarlet Sykes Hesterman

A bunch of animals lovingly made in felt lie in a display case. They all are extinct Australian mammals from the last 200 years. A new dead animal is wheeled in and the spirits of the extinct animals rise from their bodies to dance in the air and raise the new arrival’s spirit.

This was the graduation film from the director and it looks great. The felt animals were all made by different people and the animation of spirits works well with the stop motion of the felt.

There are 15 animals that are extinct that are show in the short and they are listed in the credits. The new animal is the first to become extinct from climate change in Australia. It was last seen in 2009 and only officially listed as extinct in 2019.

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The Grave of St Oran (2019)

Director: Jim Batt

Writer/Narrator: Neil Gaiman

Two men arrive on an island to build a church, which keeps falling down. Troubling dreams plague one of the men who has visions of himself killing the man and burying him in the foundation to keep the church falling down. Heresy is spoken and the church still stands to this day.

This short is based on a poem by Neil Gaiman who also narrated. It took six months to film with paper cut-out style animation and practical in-camera effects such as the flickering for the fire. Producing the movie took several years and was funded via Kickstarted.

I enjoyed this animation as it had a storybook feel to it with the drawing and animation fitting a picture book come to life.

Even though there is just the narrator you do feel the other character’s voices and the overall theme is good.

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Rules of Play (2017)

Director: Merlin Flügel

Mysterious figures in pink jumpsuits in strange landscape that turns out to be a playground. They have strange rituals to learn how to play on the equipment and various games that end of more esoteric.

Nice hand-drawn style animation with bold lines and geometric shapes. Only a few colours such as a pink jumpsuits but they work well and there was a lot of laughter from the audience.

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Reneepoptosis (2018)

Director: Renee Zhan

Mini Renees explore the world of Renee with orders not to eat themselves, but they do anyway.

Very nice hand drawn animation for the figures and painted backdrops.

There are many strange creatures and landscapes based on Renee.

All the sounds of the creatures are made by Renee and the dialog is from Renee.

Kind of hits you over the head with the metaphor, but still good none the less.

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Pulsión (2019)

Director: Pedro Casavecchia

In a series of scenes a young boy has a childhood trauma and become a disturbed adult.

It looks like a model of each scene but seems to be rendered in CGI, very well done and moody.

Disturbing tone and some supernatural elements in the story help sell this one. It was hard to watch in some places.

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Intermission Expedition (2010)

Director: Wiep Teeuwisse

Tourists in pastel clothes on holiday to strange landscape when foam appears and then keeps appearing, including erupting from a volcano, washing everything away.

Nice hand-drawn animation with good line work and complimentary colours on the outfits of the tourists.

Did not have any dialog but still managed to tell the story well.

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The Hunt (2018)

Director: Mateusz Jarmulski

A young boy goes hunting with a bow and arrow and tape recorder, he stalks a dog who then tracks him. He ends up going for a swim and hides from the dog, but something bad happens. Does not really have an ending.

Great digital painted style animation with bold colours.

Is some symbolism with the church scenes and the skull turning giant for some reason. Never worked out what the tape recorder part was about.

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And Then The Bear (2019)

Director: Agnès Patron

A young boy’s oedipal complex explained including a cowboy and a bear.

Great animation with chalk on black paper. What is missing suggests form more than if it was drawn. Of all the shorts I would buy frames of this one to put on my wall.

How to draw a cowboy:

  1. Draw a cowboy hat
  2. Draw the lit cigarette

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Daughter (2019)

Director: Daria Kashcheeva

The relationship of a father and daughter explored.

Stop motion animation using roughly constructed puppets, but there is a ton an emotion conveyed with no dialog.

This short had the most pathos out of all the shorts in the program.

Even though you know the puppets are not real they seem very alive.

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Entropia (2019)

Director: Flóra Anna Buda

Self-exploration in a psychedelic landscape with many strange creatures.

What is this a Frankie cover? I swear I have seen this style of art somewhere in their publication or related publicity before.

It all ends with lesbians because of course it does.

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