My love for short film and animation was honed in the late ’90s, back when channels like IFC and Sundance would play them all time. These days short films are just unleashed into the void of the Internet while people run around desperately trying to “curate” what’s there (kind of like what we do).
However, my favorite short film TV show of the early ’00s was SciFi (before it became SyFy)’s Exposure. I think that’s where I saw Shadow Puppets for the first time. Although I can’t remember exactly where I saw it, the film itself has stayed with me ever since. Earlier this week while clicking through a YouTube rabbit hole of rare animated shorts, I stumbled across Shadow Puppets for the first time in years and was immediately consumed with nostalgia. This is just one of those films you don’t forget once you’ve seen it.
Created by Chuck Gamble in 1994 for his thesis in computer animation, Shadow Puppets says a lot about society and our passion to be independent. What happens when society tries to dictate our personal freedom–our freedom to enjoy life, to be creative, to be anything but the norm? It’s a film that speaks to our inner need to break free from life’s constructs while, at the same time, showing the beauty of triumph in the face of adversity. But I think the less I say about this film the better. Just watch it for yourself and I promise you’ll feel a lot better about marching to work this morning.