A big part of anyone’s life and personality is the hold of what usually remains unseen: the memories, the emotions, the mental prisms that seem to trap us, bind us to some preordained fate. The innate parts that always leave us asking: is there any way to break free?
Perhaps there is, declares Raymond McCarthy Bergeron, a graduate student at the Rochester Institute of Technology, if we give them form and life beyond our minds. Such is the premise behind Bergeron’s Re-Belief , a zoetrope animation he created with Autodesk Maya software and 3D-printed and handcrafted pieces. In spite all the new technology used, the animation has an eerily hypnotizing feel, in no small part because it was filmed at 24 frames per second, the speed of the world’s very first animations.
|Recommended by Rhys Dipshan||Thursday, January 21st, 2016||No Comments »|
If you follow the animation world you’ve probably already heard of Sarina Nihei’s short Small People With Hats, a 2014 graduation film that won the top prize at this year’s Ottawa International Animation Festival — a huge honor for a student film. Nihei’s strange short will most likely baffle most, and I understand that not everyone will like it, but her world of shocking weirdness speaks so deeply to me even though it’s both a truth and a lie. And if you’re wondering what that means, that’s the weird allure of Small People With Hats. It’s contradictory in its oddness.
But let me attempt to explain it anyway. Nihei illustrates a world where there are only two types of people: giant “normal” sized people and small people with large hats. The giants constantly mistreat the small people, but the small people have their own mission that delves into sporadic devilishness. “The story is based on ideas of despair and absurdity in a society,” Nihei tells Vice. “People are killed for irrational reasons, which always makes me feel despair. But when it comes to filmmaking, I make much of it entertaining and don’t want to make it too serious. That’s how the story ended up.”
I watched the short about three times and still came away feeling slightly different each time. However, my favorite thing about it is that it doesn’t preach. You know it’s saying something, but at the same time it’s saying nothing at all — that weird juxtaposition of meaning and absurdity is something you don’t see every day. If you have seven minutes to kill today, I highly recommend having your brain punched and stretched to this delightfully weird short film.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Tuesday, November 24th, 2015||No Comments »|
This 2008 short film by acclaimed director De Denis Villeneuve won numerous awards during its festival run. Now, you can view the film in its entirety online…for free (yay, Internet). Next Floor is a clever film that critiques society’s obsession with excess and overconsumption by showing an upscale dinner party having a particularly “meaty” meal. The film then takes a surprising twist that’s both smart, hilarious and, most importantly, not ham-fisted. Bon Appétit!
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Tuesday, October 6th, 2015||No Comments »|
There are a lot of things we love about summer: tank tops, iced coffee, being able to leave the office a few hours early. But regardless of what your ideal summer looks like, you can pretty much boil it all down to sound. Summer has a particular sound that makes it distinguishable from other seasons (the paralyzing heat also helps, too). In this whimsical short film by Lauren Sieczkowski, commissioned by Elite Daily and featuring musician Erika Spring, she explores the typical sounds of summer, from buzzing mosquitoes to panting dogs. It’s somewhat like an educational fashion film/music video. Can’t go wrong with that.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Friday, June 26th, 2015||No Comments »|
I recently watched Jim Jarmusch’s Night on Earth for the first time, and it reminded me of another similar film of his, Coffee and Cigarettes. The film is a compilation of 11 short films, all revolving around the theme of cigarettes and coffee. My favorite is “Cousins” starring the fantastic Cate Blanchett who’s so awesome that she gets to play herself. To make things even more interesting, she also plays the role of “Shelly,” a fictional cousin who comes by to visit. Blanchett perfectly captures the awkwardness of small talk, especially between two people who the only thing they have in common is being related. When I first watched the film, it took me a while to realize Blanchett was playing both characters. Is it just me or should she think about dyeing her hair black in real life? Just a thought.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Friday, May 22nd, 2015||No Comments »|
Director Colin Tilley is best known for creating music videos for people like Jason Derulo and Nicki Minaj, but he tries his hand with narrative in Mr. Happy, a delightfully dark short film with a twist ending. In the film, a depressed guy, played by Chance The Rapper, tries to kill himself. But too cowardly to do the deed himself, he turns to the Internet for help. One night he stumbles across a mysterious site called Mr. Happy. The site promises to deliver a quick and speedy death for only $10,000. Desperate, he whips out his credit card and picks his death of choice: a bullet to the head. The site promises to end his life on Valentine’s Day, and…things only get weirder from there.
Probably my favorite thing about the film is how it plays with conventions. The main character’s love interest starts off as a one-dimensional manic pixie archetype, but her character turns out to be more than she appears. Without giving anything away, the film excels at using tropes to lead you astray, only to surprise you when it goes in another direction. Warning, slightly NSFW.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Tuesday, March 31st, 2015||No Comments »|
I’m a big fan of director Terence Nance, whom we previously wrote about for directing stunning videos for Cody Chesnutt and Melissa Laveaux. Back in 2012 Nance directed An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, a critically-acclaimed opus with a film score by The Dig. Now Nance is teaming up with the NYC band again, directing a short film for the band’s You and I and You EP. The 7-minute short film is a magical-surrealist journey that features plenty of Nance’s signature motifs, like dancers, nature, and the family unit. In the film, a young family is followed by a troupe of dancers. After their child is taken away by a man in red, the couple run through the forest in search for each other, and themselves. Gorgeously abstract, the film proves Nance is a name you need to remember.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Thursday, March 19th, 2015||No Comments »|