Best of Stash 2021: Short Films
Removing client briefs and budget concerns from the creative equation can result in paralyzing indecision or, in the case of these eight short films, it can spark a confident quest for narrative and visual innovation.
From poetic stop-motion ice sculptures to frantic sci-fi comedy/adventure, the variety of treatments and techniques showcased here provide ample proof that the short film genre continued to thrive during another taxing year.
Brussels-based animator Soetkin Verstegen calls her attempt to use ice for a stop-motion film “the most absurd technique since the invention of the moving image.”
“Through an elaborate process of duplicating the same image over and over again, it creates the illusion of stillness.”
“THE LONELY ORBIT”
Directors Frederic Siegel and Benjamin Morard at Team Tumult in Zurich: “The first visual ideas for the film were the two images of a satellite in space, burning up in a huge fireball and a man walking through a bar, burning up in the same way.
“We were intrigued by the metaphor of a human, living his life mirroring the life of a satellite, even sharing its fate of gloriously bursting into flames in the end.”
Ezequiel Pini and Sebastian Baptista at Six N. Five in Barcelona: “An empty, immaculate high-end residence. Every design object and piece of furniture occupies a specific, calculated space.
“But there are other objects that escape that standard, that are of a different kind. These are the ones who break into the aseptic landscape and take it by storm. A blow worthy of a class struggle, where a useful minority rebels and sets out to tear down its symbols.”
Nominated for a 2021 VES Student Award, Time’s Down by five recent graduates from French digital arts school ArtFX mixes blazing action, snarky dialogue, and seamless execution into a fabulous cyberpunk romp.
The directors describe the premise as “A thief with the ability to slow down time is being chased by the Time Police. He tries to make it out on the rooftops of a gigantic futuristic city.”
YELLOWSTONE 88 “SONG OF FIRE”
Director/designer/animator Jerry van de Beek at Little Fluffy Clouds: “The fires that took hold in Yellowstone in 1988 were huge and complex. There were so many elements involved, affecting both animals and people and the very nature of the land.
“The narrative poem, penned by my partner Betsy De Fries, combined with the way it is read by the actor Peter Coyote, has a very unique rhythm. For us, the most challenging thing was which part of the story to tell and what feeling we wanted to capture and communicate.”
Clément Soulmagnon, director at Eddy in Paris: “For many years I have wanted to transpose my illustration style into 2D animation. The challenge for our team was to create a watercolor render that didn’t vibrate too much but which didn’t look too digital either.
“I wanted to create something simple, light, with lots of white that leaves a space for the viewer’s imagination and interpretation, for their dreams and fantasies.”
Aira Joana and Luca Struchen, student directors at HSLU in Lucerne, Switzerland: “CONCRETE was our diploma film, so we had (almost) total freedom to create what we wanted – the only condition was that it needs to be no longer than 10 minutes.
“Our goal was to build a visual world with a dense atmosphere, which would act as a blank canvas in the viewer’s imagination, without losing any narrative impact.”
Co-director Claire Sun at Gobelins in Paris: “This is our graduation movie made in our last year of studying conception and direction of animated filmmaking at the Gobelins School in Paris.
“The school left us creative freedom and we quickly decided we wanted to talk about mental illness and mental health. We thought animation would be the perfect medium to talk about this subject, as mental struggles are invisible.”