Best of Stash 2020: Short Films
Whether you crave a break from client work or you’re about to graduate, short films offer a powerful vehicle to expand your visual, narrative, and production talents while asserting your commitment to the art and craft of motion.
The sheer breadth of styles, tones, and techniques of these seven films provides a solid indication of just how vibrant the motion community remained in an extremely challenging year.
Co-directors Jérémy Cisse and Charline Parisot in London, UK: “No Gravity is our graduation film. At Supinfocom Rubika, each student comes up with a pitch of a short film. The topic and genre are completely free.
A jury of teachers selects a few projects they find promising. We’re then teamed up in a group of six people to make the short film come to life, according to what everyone wants to work on and what the project needs.
“One of our main challenges was to animate the astronaut so that we could feel his heaviness, discomfort, and slowness throughout the film.”
Director Noam Sussman in Toronto: “As part of the master’s degree in Animation Program at the Estonian Academy of Arts, I was instructed to create a short animated film.
“The story was created in a class focusing on storytelling and storyboarding, and the choice of media was completely up to us to decide on. My mentors Priit and Olga Pärn would oversee the production and give feedback on various aspects of filmmaking.
“The biggest challenge for me was to dive back into short film production, as it had been several years since I had directed my own short film.”
Producer Debbie Ross at Braw Production in Glasgow, Scotland: “HOME started as a passion project for a few of us who had just set up our own companies.
“We wanted to showcase what we could achieve with CG in terms of quality and emotional engagement and set out our own brief, including a focus on intimate character performance and cutaways to larger-scale imagery.
“It was also essential that we kept things very contained in terms of scope to make it achievable, especially as everyone was giving their time for free.”
Director Lorenz Wunderle at YK Animation in Bern, Switzerland: “An interesting part of producing Coyote was that we never worked with a written script. Instead, we drew a lot and created a visual language to work on the story.
“[What I learned on this project was] take your time to develop the idea for a project. Let it marinate for a while in your head. Check again later on the idea and when it tastes ready, cook it up and serve it to your friends. Fast food is not always good.”
Director Marco Jemolo in Rome: “I guess the greatest challenge the producers and I had to face was that even though we were working with animation we still wanted our film to feel “real”.
“What we told each other was: If you closed your eyes and just listened to it, our short should sound like a live-action film.”
“In order to achieve that, we put extra care into the sound design, one of the most excruciating parts of the whole production, and asked our actors to allow us an enormous amount of rehearsal time.”
Director Russ Etheridge in Brighton, UK: “My wife and I wanted to create a fantastical animated short film together and were inspired by a story in Hindu mythology where one of the gods steals the moon.
“We started wondering, what would happen if the moon suddenly disappeared? We wrote the story together and it evolved over time into Armstrong.”
Swann Chesnel, director at ThanksBro Studio in Paris: “This is a personal project we started during lockdown. We couldn’t shoot new pictures, so we dug into our old photo albums to make our forgotten travel pics come alive.
“The main creative challenges were to give life to pictures. Except for the stock footage of natural disasters, all the shots are formerly a photo. We experimented and created a few different techniques to give motion to our static images.”