Best of Stash 2023: Short Films!

Whether as a way to bolster the reel or as relief from the pressures of briefs and budgets, short films provide a welcome outlet for self-expression and experimentation with 2023 delivering an extraordinary crop of work.

All these films were published in The Stash Permanent Collection during 2023 and are listed here in chronological order by their issue of publication.
Issue: Stash 157

Mark Lindner, CD at Panoply in London: “The idea for this piece came in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic which isolated and fundamentally changed so many people’s lives forever. The constant cycle of negative news and the strict social distancing measures combined to create a dissociative, mass malaise.

“This in turn left many feeling disconnected from their everyday lives and the people around them – including members of our own team here at Panoply. This film sets out to be a visual exploration of this phenomenon.”

Issue: Stash 157

Half M.T Studios (aka director/animators Miguel Ortega and Tran Ma) power up Unreal Engine 5 to craft a powerful Caine and Abel-style African fable with visual influences from the Italian cinema of Sergio Leone and Dario Argento.

Miguel Ortega: “We wanted to make a statement with this film. The beautiful visuals and vibrant colors are simply a red herring for the dark tone the film ultimately delivers. The film was rendered in Unreal Engine 5 and all the characters were designed and modeled in Zbrush and Maya, the texturing was done in Adobe’s substance painter.”

Issue: Stash 158

Toke Ringmann Madsen, director in Viborg, Denmark: “‘Mano’ is a graduation film that was created by sixteen students during their final year of studies at The Animation Workshop. As a school project, we had to delicately balance the needs of the project with the individual needs of each team member. Ultimately what mattered most was that we were able to collaborate effectively as a team.

“There were many creative challenges while working on Mano and one of the biggest we encountered was conveying the nuance of the characters through subtle acting, especially during the animatic, previs, and early production.’

Issue: Stash 158

Brothers Antonis and Stavros Fylladitis at Floating House VFX in Athens take a break from their studio’s VFX work (on ads, games, features, and TV series) for a passion project involving a certain childhood hero and a real-time production pipeline.

Antonis and Stavros Fylladitis: “One of the reasons we got into the VFX industry was our love of films. Growing up we were big fans of comic books, video games, the 80s, and 90s action films, and anything that has to do with storytelling. After working for many years in various fields of 3D/CG, we wanted to pivot a bit and exercise our storytelling and filmmaking skills.”

Issue: Stash 159

Using image and text prompts, ArtClass director Paul Trillo teams with Runway’s Gen-2 multi-modal AI system to explore memory and what might have been in this moody and melancholy new short film Thank You for Not Answering.

Paul Trillo: “I’m more interested in exploring what makes these tools different than trying to recreate a Hollywood blockbuster. I have been working with ideas that play with our perception of reality, our memory, and how that affects who we are.”

Issue: Stash 160

Animator India Barnardo, whose feature film credits include Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and The Sea Beast, makes her directorial debut with the release of this charming short film called Cat and Moth.

Currently an animator at Walt Disney Animation Studios in Vancouver, Barnardo says observations of her two childhood cats Leia and Jaja inspired the film which was produced entirely online with an international team of 90 animators and artists crafting an intriguing mix of CG and 2D animation styles.

Issue: Stash 160

Glasgow director/AD Ross Sneddon explores themes of isolation, loneliness, climate change, and the dangers of technology in his newest labor of love, an epic 14-minute sci-fi short film.

Ross Sneddon: “This project started as a way to learn more about compositing and using Octane. At the time, I was making a course for the online learning platform Domestika and that’s when I got the idea for the short film. Using Jupiter’s moon Europa as the location allowed me to really double down on the sci-fi element of the story and give it more weight.”
Watch all the Best of Stash 2023 Collections.