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Added by Andy Goulding on 17 Mar 2016 04:15
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1001 Animated Shorts You Must See - Part 19

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People who added this item 7 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.2
Mister Cok (2009)
DIR: Franck Dion

SUMMARY: Mister Cok is the owner of a large bomb factory who decides to replace his workers with robots. But one worker refuses to take it lying down.

WHY IT'S HERE: French director Franck Dion's 'Mister Cok' is an impressive little tale of an arms manufacturer whose growing megalomania does not stop him from being heralded as a figure for public admiration. When he replaces the workers in his bomb factory with robots, one particularly angry former employee decides to take on the big boys. Though it is fairly on the nose with its satire, 'Mister Cok' makes its point emphatically and uses some impressive means to do so. Chief among the attractions here are the character designs, particularly the Dumpty-esque Cok whose benign fixed smile contrasts with his tyrannical deeds in a way that makes them all the more troubling. Also memorable is the raging ex-employee whose symbolic hammer and sickle puts him at the other extreme. All dialogue is in a mumbled gibberish language that makes the film disturbingly otherworldly.
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People who added this item 5 Average listal rating (5 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.1
Judas & Jesus (2009)
DIR: Claudia Romero, Olaf Encke

SUMMARY: The story of Jesus Christ from Judas's point of view. All characters are portrayed by goats, sheep and dogs.

WHY IT'S HERE: Claudia Romero and Olaf Encke's 'Judas and Jesus' is a throwback to the provocative, sexually explicit cartoons of the 70s. Telling the story of Jesus's life from the point of view of Judas, the film parodies Golden Age theatrical animations with its look but is significantly more graphic in its content, with a good deal of animated nudity on show amongst its anthropomorphic goats. But there is more to 'Judas and Jesus' than nihilistic vulgarity. Though fairly blunt in its satire, the film is also balanced, depicting Jesus's disciples as literal sheep but also showing the patrons of Mary Magdalene's sex show as sheep. 'Judas and Jesus', like many religious satires before it, is mainly concerned with the rejection of blindly accepting organised religion and instead opting for empowerment through individuality. This is clear in Mary Magdalene's final, eye-popping reaction to the hanged body of Judas at the end of the film. Though it has been variously condemned as blasphemous and misogynistic, 'Judas and Jesus' is primarily refreshingly unflinching in a way that more subtly offensive material often hypocritically claims to stand against. For many it will bring to mind the cult films of Ralph Bakshi, 'Fritz the Cat' in particular.
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People who added this item 33 Average listal rating (20 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.2
DIR: Tomasz Baginski

SUMMARY: An inventor creates moving pictures but refuses to share his creation with the public until he has mastered how to add sound and colour.

WHY IT'S HERE: In sharp contrast with Tomasz Baginski's previous dark satires, 'The Kinematograph' is a beautifully animated period melodrama that takes a fictional look at the invention of cinema. In this world, a man has managed to create moving pictures with sound but refuses to patent his invention until he can also add colour. This perfectionism ends up costing him everything he holds dear. Tragic, affecting and cleverly scripted, 'The Kinematograph' touches on some big themes in its twelve minutes, giving the film more scope than the average short of this length. Baginski tells the story with sensitivity and a hint of the inevitable. The highlight of the film is the final pan out from the inventor's house, into which Baginski drops the final tragic detail as if it's a mere afterthought.
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People who added this item 36 Average listal rating (18 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7
Cencoroll (2009)
DIR: Atsuya Uki

SUMMARY: In a town where large, white monsters have begun to appear, high school student Tetsu keeps one such creature named Cenco, who he controls through telepathy.

WHY IT'S HERE: An independent anime that was almost singlehandedly designed, directed, written and animated by Atsuya Uki, 'Cencoroll' is an interesting half-hour adventure which touches on several anime staples such as strange monsters and city battles but does so with an intriguing nonchalance which makes it stand out from inferior examples. 'Cencoroll' follows the story of Tetsu, a serious high-school student who keeps an amorphous, shape-shifting monster whom he controls by telepathy. His secret is discovered first by Yuki, a curious and persistent young girl and then by Shu, a fellow monster-owner who wants Cenco for himself. The story unfolds fairly predictably but without histrionics and its measured approach makes it infinitely more watchable than many of its raucous, showy equivalents. The impressive fact that it was created almost single-handedly also makes 'Cencoroll' worthy of special note. Uki's work, particular the wonderful designs, is as strong as that of many established anime artists. While his storytelling could use a little development, Yuki is a great, inspiringly independent character who stands out from the animated cast.
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People who added this item 0 Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0 IMDB Rating 7.7
DIR: Gili Dolev

SUMMARY: A schoolboy on his way home is pursued by a persistent duck.

WHY IT'S HERE: Gili Dolev's BAFTA nominated 'The Happy Duckling' is a truly delightful film in which a boy is followed by a duck on his way home. The boy tries repeatedly to shake the duck but it keeps re-emerging. When he finally arrives home, we realise the reason the boy was so determined to not let the duck come with him. The central storyline here is engaging enough but Dolev's real trump card is the idea to set the action inside a pop-up book. For anyone like me who grew up loving pop-up books, it's a joy to see one brought to life through animation and Dolev has captured the look perfectly. As he makes his way home, the boy jumps from page to page, a new scene popping up each time, and he much pull tabs and lift up flaps to make progress. This warm, winsome little short took me right back to my childhood and barely puts a foot wrong in either its storytelling or animation. The brilliant central premise later became the basis of the children's show 'Zack and Quack'.
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People who added this item 3 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.1
Sunday Drive (2009)
DIR: Jose Miguel Ribeiro

SUMMARY: A family falls apart during a claustrophobic Sunday drive.

WHY IT'S HERE: After his acclaimed stop-motion masterpiece 'A Suspect', Jose Miguel Ribeiro made 'Sunday Drive', a short which uses the same animation style and angular character designs but which is based around a darker story of family disharmony. Although 'A Suspect' was about murder, it was more playful in its parlour-game suspense. 'Sunday Drive' shares 'A Suspect's enclosed vehicular setting but the tone is much harsher, as a hot-blooded family argue intensely during their weekly Sunday drive. This is not a neat little story with a beginning, middle and end but a slice of life in which much of the psychologically relevant interplay has already taken place offscreen and will continue to do so after the tentatively hopeful final image. Into this social realism, Ribeiro throws some nice stylised touches, such as the strangely contorted bodies of his characters and a child who communicates through thought-drawings which emerge from his head.
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People who added this item 55 Average listal rating (39 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.5
The Gruffalo (2009)
DIR: Jakob Schuh, Max Lang

SUMMARY: A clever mouse tricks his many enemies into leaving him alone by inventing a ferocious beast known as a gruffalo.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'The Gruffalo' is a CG animated adaptation of Julia Donaldson's phenomenally popular children's picture book. Broadcast on BBC1 on Christmas day 2009, 'The Gruffalo' was instantly embraced as a family classic and has been regularly repeated during holidays, eventually spawning a sequel in 'The Gruffalo's Child'. Although it has extremely strong source material to work with, the film version is faced with the task of stretching out a short bedtime story to just under half an hour and it does so with clever pacing which allows ample opportunity for children to join in with their favourite pieces of dialogue without slowing down the action too much. The character designs, based on Axel Scheffler's original illustrations, are delightful and adults will enjoy identifying the starry voice cast which includes Robbie Coltrane, John Hurt, Helena Bonham Carter and Rob Brydon. The film was nominated for both the Oscar and BAFTA for best animated short and, although it won neither, it has already attained legendary status with young children. Having watched it many times with my own little nephew, I find it more charming with every screening.
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People who added this item 39 Average listal rating (32 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.7
Wisdom Teeth (2010)
DIR: Don Hertzfeldt

SUMMARY: A man who has just had his wisdom teeth removed asks a friend to help him remove the stitches.

WHY IT'S HERE: By the time he made 'Wisdom Teeth', Don Hertzfeldt had established himself as one of the most important animators working today. Still in the midst of working on his classic Bill trilogy, Hertzfeldt put together this 5 minute short as a surprise for his appearance at the Ottawa Animation Festival. Returning to the unexpected, surreal and sadistic style of early shorts like 'Billy's Balloon' and 'Rejected', 'Wisdom Teeth' was clearly the director having a bit of a laugh and enjoying a chance to make something purely ridiculous rather than the more philosophically dense scripts he'd been working on in recent years. Nevertheless, 'Wisdom Teeth' met with mixed reactions, with fans of Hertzfeldt's recent work seeing it as a backwards step and fans of his older films seeing it as too bizarre even for them. Of course, there were also many who got 'Wisdom Teeth' and enjoyed it for the small treat it is. I, for one, find it utterly hilarious and it's good to know that Hertzfeldt can revert back to simpler ideas even as he continues to push the boundaries of possibility with his more substantial work. 'Wisdom Teeth' is presented in a hilariously mangled, fictional language which allows Hertzfeldt to present a series of subtitles that look like they have suffered from awkward translation. The simple concept, in which a man complains the removal of his wisdom teeth has made his face puffy and asks his friend to help remove the stitches, plays with elements of tedium which become more hysterically funny as they are stretched further. The conclusion, which no-one could predict, is satisfyingly dark, weird and horrific but very, very funny.
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People who added this item 1 Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0 IMDB Rating 6.7
DIR: Francesco Giroldini, Shant Ergenian, Brendan Carroll

SUMMARY: Ragu, a young boy aspiring to become a monk, is sent on a final quest to earn his title.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'The Monk and the Monkey' was the senior thesis film of three animators, one of whom went on to work on the 'Kung Fu Panda' series, which seems to have had an influence on this short. Following a young boy who is sent to collect the fruit from a tree but finds himself battling a monkey for the prize, 'The Monk and the Monkey' has a fairly predictable but very valuable lesson which younger viewers should appreciate. Despite its rounded, cartoony characters, the film sets itself up as a fable rather than a comedy, and while the short runtime does not really allow for much character development, it is the perfect length in which to tell its small, effective tale.
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DIR: Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata

SUMMARY: When they are picked up by a stranger at the airport, Max and Ru come to believe that they are travelling with the Zodiac killer.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'Something Left, Something Taken' is a fun little film by husband and wife team Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata. The directors cast themselves in the lead roles as a husband and wife on their way to visit a friend in San Francisco and attend a forensics lecture. When they are picked up at the airport by a stranger who claims to have been sent by their friend, the jittery Max convinces himself and his wife that they have been kidnapped by the Zodiac killer. Resigned to a grisly death, they spend the rest of the journey discussing how to ensure that evidence of their murder is discovered by the forensics team. Although it is billed as a dark comedy, 'Something Left, Something Taken' is light-hearted, gently funny and animated with an organic appeal in which you can see how the props and scenery were made and yet it increases the realism of the particular world in which it is set. The directors do a great job of voicing their animated equivalents and bring a laidback charm to even the darkest moments of the story.
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People who added this item 0 Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0 IMDB Rating 0
DIR: Timothy Hittle

SUMMARY: Jay Clay and Blue have their quiet life interrupted by a destructive skeleton in his customised war machine.

WHY IT'S HERE: Having spent over a decade working as a Pixar animator, Timothy Hittle revived Jay Clay and Blue, the heroes of his previous shorts as director, 'The Potato Hunter' and 'Canhead', for a third outing. Although 'Canhead' was nominated for an Oscar, Jay Clay and Blue never achieved the same level of fame as that other man and dog team Wallace and Gromit, yet for animation aficionados, the moment Jay emerges from his house after fourteen years away there's a palpable sense of excitement. Hittle knows his audience and there are immediate references to previous outings, with the monster from 'Canhead' now acting as a water feature in Jay's front garden. Once again, Hittle stages a thrilling battle between Jay and an antagonist, in this case a creepy skeleton driving a wrecking machine that threatens to put an end to Jay and Blue's new-found domestic bliss. Smoothly animated but with a reassuringly nostalgic Claymation style, 'The Quiet Life' keeps up the high standard of the Jay Clay and Blue series and may even be the best of the trilogy.
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People who added this item 54 Average listal rating (31 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.5
Zero (2010)
DIR: Christopher Kezelos

SUMMARY: In a world where people are born with assigned hierarchical numbers on their chests, Zero finds himself mercilessly persecuted for his lowly place on the totem pole.

WHY IT'S HERE: Christopher Kezelos's superb mathematical social parable 'Zero' is a harsh but heart-warming tale of societies outcasts. The opening narration dispels the myth that life is a level playing field and taps into the truth that some are born with more opportunities than others... and some are born with zero opportunities whatsoever. Following the tale of one such character, Kezelos cleverly uses the theme of numbers throughout to highlight the mistreatment so often heaped on the less-fortunate. For example, unlike the other numbers, zeroes are forbidden from multiplying. For much of the film we see Zero struggling in a world that despises him for something beyond his control but the story begins to turn when he rescues a female zero from a gang of bullies and forbidden love blossoms, leading to a very clever ending. Moving but with a satirical, socially-conscious core that prevents it from slipping into cheap sentimentality, 'Zero' uses fantastic stop motion puppets cast in silicon and then made to look like balls of wool, with the zeroes depicted as tangled, dowdy pieces of string, which of course have a thousand uses if only you look beyond their unattractive appearance.
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People who added this item 42 Average listal rating (33 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.5
Pixels (2010)
DIR: Patrick Jean

SUMMARY: New York City is invaded by characters from 8-Bit video games.

WHY IT'S HERE: Patrick Jean's 'Pixels' is a great 2 minute short based on a very simple concept - what if the antagonists from classic 8-Bit video games for loose in New York City. So we see the ships from 'Space Invaders' flying over head while Pac-Man eats subway trains and Donkey King climbs the Empire State Building. The key to the success of 'Pixels' is its brevity. The idea only has a certain amount of mileage and Jean is wise to end it after just two minutes. Unfortunately, the idea was built into a widely-panned feature film in 2015 and the concept just cannot sustain a full feature and remain funny, especially if you also cast Adam Sandler and Kevin James. My advice would be to stick with this funny and charming short instead.
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People who added this item 18 Average listal rating (11 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 6.6
DIR: Bastien Dubois

SUMMARY: A record of the director's trip to Madagascar

WHY IT'S HERE: Bastien Dubois's journal of his trip to the titular island, 'Madagascar, a Journey Diary' is a plotless wander around Madagascar. The film achieves unbelievable immersion as Dubois drinks in the scenery, chats to the locals and remembers it all in extraordinarily beautiful artwork. The island is presented as literally being encased in Dubois's journal, with pages turning onto new locales. The island is in the process of Famadihana, an ancient Malagasy custom that means "the turning of the dead". An occasion for festivities, it is also a solemn ritual which involves the movement of ancestors remains to their final resting places. Dubois witnesses the customs without comment, presenting them to the viewer to do the same. Watching 'Madagascar, a Journey Diary' is truly a transporting experience and has an effect on me that live-action travelogues rarely do. Dubois captures the sights and sounds of the island and filters it through a point-of-view approach which places the viewer amongst the surroundings and imbues them with the director's own experiences. Although I have never visited Madagascar myself, I go there every time I watch this film.
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People who added this item 69 Average listal rating (41 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.4
DIR: Shaun Tan, Andrew Ruhemann

SUMMARY: A boy finds a strange creature on the beach and decides to find out where it belongs.

WHY IT'S HERE: Shaun Tan's 'The Lost Thing', a 3D adaptation of his own picture book, is a stylish and captivating tale of a boy who finds a lost 'thing' and sets about finding where it truly belongs. The story is slow-paced and meditative but utterly fascinating and Tan's control over his own material retains this element in the film. Thoughtfully narrated by comedian Tim Minchin, 'The Lost Thing' explores human beings' diminishing capacity for observing and appreciating the incredible world around them. Its philosophical leanings are aided by the inventive CG animation's ability to place adult viewers into a child's mindset where they can recapture a sense of wonder, while the unpatronising storytelling and weighty themes will help expand children's appreciation beyond the aesthetic. Perhaps these clever narrative devices were the main contributory in the film winning an Oscar, although it also manages to tap into the familiar charm of monster-befriends-boy narratives which makes it feel at once like a classic.
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DIR: Bill Plympton

SUMMARY: A calf who yearns to be made into a burger after seeing a billboard for the Happy Burger learns the grim realities of how they are made.

WHY IT'S HERE: Bill Plympton's 'The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger' puts a grim twist on children's fables. Plympton presents his bizarre little tale in the style of a picture book, with boldly rendered characters and bright colours. When the calf finds he is too underweight to be considered worthy of processing into meat, we get a short training montage which is perhaps the funniest thing in the film. The rest of the story is played fairly straight, albeit with full awareness of its ludicrous premise. The moment when the delighted calf realises what becoming a burger actually means is genuinely frightening and involving, while the ending wraps things up in a neat and not-too-grisly fashion, at least for the main characters. Plympton adds a nice touch by indicating the production crew's eating habits next to their names in the final credits.
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People who added this item 1 Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0 IMDB Rating 6.6
The Renter (2010)
DIR: Jason Carpenter

SUMMARY: A young boy attends a home daycare run by an elderly woman, where he encounters a creepy man who rents a room.

WHY IT'S HERE: Jason Carpenter's 'The Renter' is an astonishingly brilliant short which tells the story of a young boy's experiences at a home daycare run by an elderly woman. From the moment he is dropped off there is a feeling of foreboding, as the boy encounters a mean-looking man who rents a room there. Although we see him primarily through the boy's eyes, there are no revelations about this man to come. We don't find out that he is a murderer or discover that he is a kind soul, thereby debunking the folly of childhood perspectives. 'The Renter' is not that kind of film. Instead, we experience the frightening alien feel of an unfamiliar place along with the child. The narrative is more a slice of life than a story, although there is certainly a dramatic peak in the moment he witnesses the killing of a chicken, presumably his first experience with death. Although it was created entirely with a computer, 'The Renter' has a really organic look, like it was drawn with ink. The colour palette is limited but rich, filled with eerie greys, browns and blacks. Although it left some viewers unsatisfied with its ambiguous story, 'The Renter' is undoubtedly a latter-day masterpiece of the medium which should delight animation enthusiasts.
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People who added this item 3 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 7
DIR: Andreas Hykade

SUMMARY: An abstract film in which images of cartoon character, cartoonists and various other evocative shapes morph into one another in mesmerizing animation loops.

WHY IT'S HERE: Andreas Hykade's 'Love and Theft' is a hypnotic abstract animation which incorporates many references to classic animation into its imagery. Beginning with the emergence of some simple line drawings, the shapes quickly begin to morph into images of Charlie Brown and Hello Kitty. As the shapes become more complex and the colours brighter, more and more recognisable faces flash on the screen for a split second, with SpongeBob Squarepants, Betty Boop, Donald Duck and Droopy all making appearances, alongside legendary animators Bill Plympton and Ryan Larkin. As the film progresses, the shapes become more varied, often with sexual connotations recognisable from Hykade's earlier work (characters from his brilliant, explicit earlier short 'Ring of Fire' also make cameos. For animation fans, this is an astonishing treat and a change in style for Hykade from his earlier narrative films.
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People who added this item 334 Average listal rating (241 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8.1
Day & Night (2010)
DIR: Teddy Newton

SUMMARY: Day and Night meet each other and overcome their suspicions regarding their differences when they realise they both provide a window into the same world.

WHY IT'S HERE: Ingeniously examining the oneness of apparent polar opposites through the personification of the titular time periods, 'Day & Night' is one of Pixar's most acclaimed shorts. Paired with 'Toy Story 3' for theatrical release, this wonderful film combines 2D and 3D animation as it explores attitudes to differences and the potential for harmony if we aim for understanding rather than suspicion. The characters of Day and Night are both silent but express themselves through phenomena relating to those times in a 24 hour period. For instance, if Day is happy, a rainbow might appear inside him, while Night would express the same emotion with fireworks. Enhanced by snippets of a speech given by Dr. Wayne Dyer in the 1970s, 'Day & Night' combines an idyllic, hippyish philosophy with the sort of beautiful and inventive animation that will win over most cynics.
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People who added this item 48 Average listal rating (31 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.6
Sintel (2010)
DIR: Colin Levy

SUMMARY: A young loner goes searching for the baby dragon she befriended but which was taken away from her by an adult dragon. Her quest takes her to a dangerous snowy mountainside, where she must prepare for battle.

WHY IT'S HERE: After the lovely 'Big Buck Bunny', 'Sintel' continues to show just what can be achieved using the free Blender animation software. With each film proving to be a visual step on from the last, Blender could well prove to be a very important development in short animation. 'Sintel' plays like a mini-epic, with plenty of potential to be expanded into a full length feature, although its dragon-based plot had the misfortune to appear the same year as DreamWorks popular 'How to Train Your Dragon', which probably nips this potential in the bud. 'Sintel' looks incredible and pushed the boundaries for what was possible in amateur animation.
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People who added this item 25 Average listal rating (17 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.5
DIR: David O'Reilly

SUMMARY: A series of surreal events build up to create a gruelling image of the external world.

WHY IT'S HERE: David O'Reilly's superb 'The External World' is a very different film from his previous 'Please Say Something', which mixed an absurdist concept with a contradictorily numbing emotional connection. Although the digital artwork is immediately recognisable as O'Reilly's work, 'The External World' is at once a much funnier, more outrageous film which nevertheless retains the same overwhelmingly downbeat atmosphere as his previous film. Many have mentioned David Lynch as an apparent influence but for me this brought to mind the brilliant films of Roy Andersson, in that it presented a series of seemingly unrelated tragi-comic occurrences which somehow managed to build into a cohesive whole rather than seem like a sketch show. With a film as hilariously unpredictable as this it is pointless and detrimental to start listing scenes so I would just advise people to see it for themselves. It is a very divisive film but those who get it will probably adore it and while you can site reference points from Chris Morris to Bill Plympton to Luis Bunuel, in the end 'The External World' is uniquely O'Reilly's vision.
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People who added this item 18 Average listal rating (11 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.1
DIR: Andrey Shushkov

SUMMARY: An inventor falls in love and takes his new lover back to his world, where everything is mechanical. This artificality tests their love to the extreme.

WHY IT'S HERE: Andrey Shushkov's 'Invention of Love' is a beautiful shadow-puppet love story. While all shadow puppet animations owe some debt to the great Lotte Reiniger, 'Invention of Love' owes a greater debt to Anthony Lucas's 'The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello', whose steampunk world it shares. What it has over that short, however, is a greater expressiveness of character, which is so crucial to the story. We can see every thought-process as the central couple fall in love, as the lady begins to despair of the artificiality of her new surroundings, and as the man's heart breaks in the achingly moving find look to camera. The face is blank, but somehow it says everything through movement alone.
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People who added this item 6 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.5
Paths of Hate (2010)
DIR: Damian Nenow

SUMMARY: Two fighter pilots are locked in a vicious dogfight.

WHY IT'S HERE: Damian Nenow's 'Paths of Hate' is a visceral glimpse of two pilots locked in a dogfight. With its intricately rendered comic-book style, blood-soaked intensity and rock soundtrack, cynics may say that this is a film that attempts to depict the hellishness of war while also marvelling at how awesome it is! There are elements of this having-and-eating approach but Nenow's film aims for something more. Although we are watching an action-packed fight scene, the director seems more interested in just what is going on inside the heads of his characters. So why does Nenow choose not to give us a glimpse inside their mind's eyes? Because there is really nothing of note to show. And that seems to be the point here. The two men involved in this fight are consumed by a hatred so ill-defined and empty that there is nothing but pointless aggression driving them on in their actions. The brilliant final image, though not especially subtle in its blood red palette, underlines this point as survival goes out of the window and terrifyingly relentless bloodlust takes over. More exciting and competently shot than anything in 'Top Gun', 'Paths of Hate' is an impressive piece from the Polish director.
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People who added this item 1 Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0 IMDB Rating 8.5
DIR: Adam Butcher

SUMMARY: A narrator tells a supposedly true story about an online treasure hunt and the vlogger who became obsessed with it.

WHY IT'S HERE: Like 'The Blair Witch Project', Adam Butcher's 'Internet Story' is a very cleverly marketed film that sets up a supposedly true story and then challenges the viewer to dispute it. In telling the tale, which involves one man's obsessive quest to solve a series of online clues to find buried treasure, Butcher uses several storytelling techniques including a Flash animation by Jonathan Harris which tells the story of Chaucer's 'Pardoner's Tale', which is a key piece of the jigsaw. Although the animated portion of the film is brief, it recalls Ari Gold's 'Helicopter' not in style but in highlighting what an excellent medium animation is for aiding storytelling. Like the film as a whole, the 'Pardoner's Tale' animation is grim and funny. The rest of the film also brings to mind Ian Gouldstone's BAFTA-winning animated internet tale 'Guy 101', a film I was less convinced by. Butcher's film became a big online talking point, although the potential for it to actually be true was debunked early on when someone pointed out a gaping hole in the logic of the story, something which Butcher probably left there deliberately to prevent things getting out of hand.
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People who added this item 3 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 7
DIR: David Weinstein

SUMMARY: A freedom fighter known as Azureus breaks into a interstellar city colony to shut down the city's evil computer controlled military drones.

WHY IT'S HERE: Visual effects artist David Weinstein made the short 'Azureus Rising' as a proof of concept to potentially be expanded into a full feature. A dazzling CG set-piece in which a mysterious freedom fighter battles robot drones, most notably a giant mechanical scorpion, 'Azureus Rising' is the sort of film I probably wouldn't be interested in as a full feature but as a 6 minute short it works, packing a tight little action plot into a small space of time and leaving the audience wanting for nothing more. Like Shane Acker's '9', 'Azureus Rising' is a thrilling little battle which would likely descend into sci-fi cliché if expanded upon.
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People who added this item 1 Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0 IMDB Rating 7.3
DIR: Victoria Mather

SUMMARY: 20 year old Stanley Pickle leads a sheltered life that runs like clockwork. But an encounter with a mysterious girl changes things forever.

WHY IT'S HERE: Victoria Mather's 'Stanley Pickle' uses the pixilation technique to superb effect in the telling of its melancholy but hopeful tale. As live-action actors are jerkily animated, one is instantly put in mind of clockwork toys and the point of the becomes apparent as we discover Stanley's life run literally like clockwork. A feathered woman who Stanley views from his window draws him out into the wider world where he learns a lesson about life when he attempts to please her by reanimating a dead bird. While the message initially seems clichéd, there is a wider, more tragic implication in the story's denouement which set 'Stanley Pickle' above other films of its kind and tinges the optimistic final image with a sense of sadness.
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DIR: Tomasz Baginski

SUMMARY: An animated representation of 1000 years of Polish history.

WHY IT'S HERE: Created to represent Poland at the Expo 2010 in Shanghai, Tomasz Baginski's 'Animated History of Poland' mirrors its clinically precise title with a gloriously animated depiction of key events across 1000 years of Baginski's country. I have previously criticised Baginski's much-lauded 'Katedra' for looking like a cut-scene from a computer game. The same could be said of 'Animated History of Poland', but here Baginski makes it work, with his less-expressive human creations aiding an unbiased, factual piece in its educational purpose. That said, 'Animated History of Poland is also very entertaining in its fluid movement through hundreds of events, each handily provided with a date in the bottom corner. Polish nationals may appreciate the film more on first viewing but it encourages those who do not know their Polish history (myself included) to look into what events are being represented with each little moment. Although it aims to be informative, 'Animated History of Poland' also ends with a lovely, playful little wink as the characters from each of the historical eras assemble for a curtain call.
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People who added this item 0 Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0 IMDB Rating 6.9
DIR: Pjotr Sapegin

SUMMARY: The last surviving troll in Norway reminisces about an age when mythical creatures roamed his country.

WHY IT'S HERE: Pjotr Sapegin's 'The Last Norwegian Troll' is a lovely puppet animator which manages to combine the crude and the poetic to great effect. None other than legendary actor Max Von Sydow narrates the film, with his lilting voice lending the thoughtful narrative much credence. But Sapegin also punctuates his melancholy, thoughtful moments with scatological bursts of farting, belching and shitting. At one point, the troll becomes embroiled in a version of the folktale 'The Three Billy Goats Gruff' and, needless to say, the goats have huge, pendulous testicles that jiggle as they run. Far from undermining the film's more philosophical side however, the crudity in 'The Last Norwegian Troll' acts as a grounding counterbalance to the fantastical elements and highlights the boorish nature of the troll species, whose stupidity and repellence is well-documented in the narration. The result is a scrungy but curiously moving film.
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People who added this item 0 Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0 IMDB Rating 6.4
Matter Fisher (2010)
DIR: David Prosser

SUMMARY: A lone fisherman discovers a small amount of strange matter which he uses as bait.

WHY IT'S HERE: David Prosser's enigmatic, BAFTA-nominated short 'Matter Fisher' is a playful little piece about a fisherman who discovers a small amount of matter which grows significantly overnight and changes the nature of the following days fishing trip. Combining high-contrast frame animation and CG, Prosser's film looks terrific, like pencil sketches come to life on the page. The story, though compelling and ultimately very satisfying, feels secondary to the terrifically immersive artwork and melancholy impishness which will likely inspire a wry smile in physics lovers and philosophy enthusiasts alike.
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People who added this item 0 Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0 IMDB Rating 5.8
DIR: Emma Lazenby

SUMMARY: Emma Lazenby pays tribute to her mother Pam, a midwife from 1980-2008.

WHY IT'S HERE: Emma Lazenby's touching, BAFTA-winning short 'Mother of Many' follows a midwife through a busy day, including the delivery of a baby. Made in tribute to her mother Pam who spent 28 years in the profession, 'Mother of Many' is a charmingly animated piece which gives a little glimpse into a hard but rewarding job. Lazenby had previously worked on the popular children's series 'Charlie and Lola' and the visual style of that show is apparent here. Simple, colourful visuals compliment the riveting slice-of-life perfectly and while cynics may say it presents an idealised vision of the profession, that is ultimately to the credit of this upbeat little charmer. Those who levelled this criticism also clearly missed the wonderfully observed final moment, in which the toll the working day takes is seen in the midwife's small sigh of exhaustion as she gets in her car, before she drives away with a smile on her face. After Mother of Many Lazenby made a number of films for Channel 4, worked as an animation director at Aardman, art directed a Disney series for ArthurCox, and a year ago started her own company ForMed Films CIC, a not for profit animation company making narrative medical animations, to explain different procedures, give information and ease of anxieties for patients and public.
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People who added this item 0 Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0 IMDB Rating 9.8
Night Music (2010)
DIR: Paul Jacques

SUMMARY: The mysterious, reclusive Dr. Bird must travel into Sailortown on a quest to repair his beloved gramophones.

WHY IT'S HERE: Paul Jacques' wonderful 'Night Music' was written, drawn and directed as part of the Vision Shorts project to provide basic film training to people recovering from mental-health problems. Although the animation is extremely basic, with characters remaining barely animate for long stretches, this rudimentary approach is also effective for the material, the intricately sketched characters and their grubby surroundings in which little comedic touches abound. 'Night Music' is instantly reminiscent of Tom Waits' spoken word tracks, with a touch of Nick Cave and a dollop of The Mighty Boosh for good measure. The seedy, unpleasant world in which 'Night Music' takes place is evoked beautifully through music, script and the great narration, which just about keeps a grip on the bizarre but internally-logical story. A little gem for lovers of the odd, 'Night Music' is a grimly hilarious piece of work.
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People who added this item 0 Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0 IMDB Rating 7.1
Bike Race (2011)
DIR: Tom Schroeder

SUMMARY: A bike race between two friends becomes more complex when a love triangle begins to develop.

WHY IT'S HERE: Tom Schroeder's 'Bike Race' is a sister film to his classic 'Bike Ride', using the same simple white lines to tell an emotionally compelling story which uses the bike race as a backdrop. Almost a decade on from 'Bike Ride', 'Bike Race' feels like an affectionate return to ground already trodden, but for fans of the first film it's a very welcome decision. 'Bike Race' also has some new elements, such as multiple narrators, flashes of colour and cut-out photographs, which underlines the two film's differences even as a pleasing continuity emerges from their similarities. Watching the two films back to back may diminish the impact but each works brilliantly alone and they would make excellent bookends for a Tom Schroeder retrospective, the like of which I will stage at the drop of a hat for any friend who shows an interest in this underrated director.
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People who added this item 2 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.5
DIR: Jose Miguel Ribeiro

SUMMARY: A man sets off on an impulsive trip to Cape Verde.

WHY IT'S HERE: Jose Miguel Ribeiro's 'Journey to Cape Verde' demonstrated the director's versatility. A far cry from his celebrated puppet films in both style and tone, 'Journey to Cape Verde' shares certain characteristics with 'Madagascar, a Journey Diary', another great animated travelogue from 2010. While that film managed to put me right in the middle of the action, 'Journey to Cape Verde' instead presents the viewer with a more simplistic visual representation of another country, telling its wandering tale through simple shapes and colours, chiefly a silhouette of a backpacker encumbered with a huge, rectangular rucksack, and the shifting scenery he encounters. At seventeen minutes in length, 'Journey to Cape Verde' achieves its own immersive quality through a sense that you are accompanying this lone traveller on his journey and Ribeiro does a great job of capturing both the sense of freedom and anxiety of suddenly being alone in an alien landscape. Ribeiro also uses the device of a travel diary with sketches and doodles to present elements of the trip, another technique that links the film with 'Madagascar, a Journey Diary'. The two films would make a great double bill, taking viewers to different lands through some shared and some different approaches.

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People who added this item 8 Average listal rating (5 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.2
DIR: Spike Jonze, Simon Cahn

SUMMARY: After hours in famous Parisian bookstore Shakespeare and Company, a skeleton on the front cover of Macbeth notices Mina Harker on the front cover of Dracula. Their eyes (and sockets) meet and, in their attempts to reach each other, they learn that love and literature never run smoothly.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'Mourir aupres de toi' aka 'To Die by Your Side', is one of those shorts which becomes more charming when you hear the background behind it. Director Spike Jonze was extremely taken by the work of accessories designer Olympia Le-Tan and asked to buy some of her work. Le-Tan instead offered a trade: some of her work for some of his. The resulting film brings Le-Tan's work to life, with thousands of stop motion animated felt figures used to create the illusion. Though it has a fairly thin, whimsical (though occasionally sexually explicit) plot, 'Mourir aupres de toi' is a lot of fun and feels very much like a tribute to the great books-come-to-life sub-genre of Golden Age American animation, even if it never touches the heights of 'Book Revue'.
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People who added this item 42 Average listal rating (30 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.5
DIR: Don Hertzfeldt

SUMMARY: Bill continues to struggle with his unspecified mental condition as it takes a greater hold of his life.

WHY IT'S HERE: The third and final part of Don Hertzfeldt's Bill trilogy provides the perfect ending even as it moves away from the tragi-comic tone of the first two parts to create a largely more serious, philosophical and beautiful finale. The previous two films in the trilogy also had a good deal of philosophical weight but 'It's Such a Beautiful Day' takes the series to more unusual and varied places as Bill's condition worsens and changes his outlook on life. Hertzfeldt places Bill in live-action locations and stunning otherworldly spacescapes and his accompanying narration, though remaining true to the dry monotone it has retained throughout, becomes more wistful and expansive in the themes it tackles. With his brilliant weaving together of themes from throughout the trilogy, Hertzfeldt finds the best possible ending to the story by not providing anything too pat or predictable but also not leaving things frustratingly open-ended. The result is oddly uplifting but not conclusively positive or negative. Having completed one of the greatest animated mini-series of all time, Hertzfeldt seamlessly edited his three films together to create on of the greatest animated feature films of all time as well.
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People who added this item 20 Average listal rating (14 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.1
Sunday (2011)
DIR: Patrick Doyon

SUMMARY: A young boy finds ways to get through a dull, though also very strange, Sunday.

WHY IT'S HERE: Patrick Doyon's gently surreal 'Dimanche/Sunday' strongly evoked the sort of unusual animations that always used to be on in obscure and seemingly random timeslots when I was a kid. It was these strange, sometimes unsettling, always fascinating animations that first opened my eyes to a world of animation beyond Disney and Warner Bros. Following one young boy's experience of a dull Sunday, this hand drawn treat is full of jarringly unexpected, non-sensical (yet somehow logical) gags and manages to combine a sense of warmth with the off-kilter creepiness that so often pervades visions of quiet anarchy. Nominated for an Oscar, it was probably always an outside bet for winner but I loved 'Dimanche/Sunday' and its very nomination is cause enough for celebration.
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DIR: Brandon Oldenburg, William Joyce

SUMMARY: In the aftermath of a hurricane, a man sets himself up as a librarian.

WHY IT'S HERE: William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg's 'The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore' is a beautiful celebration of literature which tells the story of a bibliophile who becomes a librarian in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane. Inspired by such sources as Buster Keaton, 'The Wizard of Oz' and the real life tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, 'The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore' is an instantly rewarding, moving experience which has elements of humour, sentimentality and warmth. The visuals are terrific, particularly in the opening hurricane sequences, and the tone is soothingly sweet and gentle, shamelessly plucking the heartstrings but aiming more for a lovely shared experience for a small group of bibliophiles than a manipulatively commercial steamrollering of the heart. 'The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore' struck a chord with many, including the Academy who awarded it the Oscar for its year.
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People who added this item 17 Average listal rating (12 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.6
Luminaris (2011)
DIR: Juan Pablo Zaramella

SUMMARY: A man working in a light bulb factory in Buenos Aires formulates a plan to escape from the daily drudgery.

WHY IT'S HERE: Argentinian director Juan Pablo Zaramella's 'Luminaris' is a charming, fantastical little comedy adventure which uses the little-used but always effective technique of pixilation brilliantly. Blending live-action actors and settings with animated objects and effects, 'Luminaris' is grippingly bizarre, mixing elements of Jules Verne adventure with surrealism and neo-realist romance. Although only 6 minutes long, 'Luminaris' lives up to its name by drawing the viewer into its small but delightful world through a whimsical silent-comedy style narrative.
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People who added this item 16 Average listal rating (12 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.4
Wild Life (2011)
DIR: Wendy Tilby, Amanda Forbis

SUMMARY: An impulsive young Englishman struggles to adapt to life on a Canadian prairie.

WHY IT'S HERE: Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby's 'Wild Life' is an animated masterpiece which deserves more attention. I loved Forbis and Tilby's 1999 Oscar nominee 'When the Day Breaks' but 'Wild Life' trumps even that short. A tragi-comic account of a young Englishman who moves to the Canadian prairie province of Alberta, 'Wild Life' is both very funny and somewhat sad as the man struggles to adapt to his new environment and sends home letters full of lies to his oblivious family. The short has the sort of beautifully unusual visuals we've come to expect from Tilby and Forbis (every frame is hand painted) and it's a great compliment that the viewer can easily appreciate how this 13 minute short was 7 years in the making. Aside from the animation itself, the story is told with such wit and skill for switching between moods that I fall for it a little more each time I see it. 'Wild Life' was Oscar nominated too but lost out to 'The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore', an instantaneous crowd-pleaser that I also loved but my choice for the year would undoubtedly have been the more enduring 'Wild Life'.
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People who added this item 214 Average listal rating (143 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8
La Luna (2011)
DIR: Enrico Casarosa

SUMMARY: A young boy learns the family business of sweeping fallen stars from the surface of the moon.

WHY IT'S HERE: Pixar's whimsical 'La Luna' tells the story of a young boy learning the family business of sweeping up fallen stars from the moon's surface. It's a simple premise told with much wit and charm, as we've come to expect from Pixar at its best. What struck me about 'La Luna' was how much it reminded me of the prestige wide-eyed cartoon shorts of the early 30s, when whimsy and sentiment dominated over gags and violence. I was always a gags and violence man myself but as an animation lover I have a soft spot for these cartoons as well and 'La Luna' did a breathlessly brilliant job of recreating the style and mood of those early animated classics without being overt or unsubtle about it. Chalking up another Oscar nomination for Pixar, 'La Luna' remains one of their most prestige and enigmatic shorts.
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People who added this item 41 Average listal rating (28 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 6.9
Adam and Dog (2012)
DIR: Minkyu Lee

SUMMARY: The story of Adam and Eve as seen through the eyes of a dog.

WHY IT'S HERE: Minkyu Lee's 'Adam and Dog' is, like Disney's 'Paperman' (which it lost the Oscar to), thin on plot and rich in visuals but it also trumps the former film in its engaging atmospherics as we witness the Adam and Eve story unfolding but from the point of view of a dog. We know what's coming but Lee doesn't play up the supposed profundity of 'Adam and Dog' and instead invites us to enjoy the experience of the beautiful Garden of Eden as Adam and the dog wander freely in its surroundings, and then concisely charts the fall of man, sweetening it with a depiction of the birth of man's best friend. Exquisitely realised and enjoyably slow-paced so as to let us drink in the atmospherics, 'Adam and Dog' puts a new spin on an oft-told story.
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People who added this item 12 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 5.3 IMDB Rating 6.8
DIR: Grant Orchard

SUMMARY: An anecdote about a chicken in the city is played out three times using different animation styles and time periods.

WHY IT'S HERE: Grant Orchard's 'A Morning Stroll', is based on a supposedly true anecdote about an incongruous chicken spotted in a city. 'A Morning Stroll' retells its simple tale three times in a row but uses different time periods and animation styles each time. The chicken's presence in an urban area immediately brings to mind the joker's standard 'Why did the chicken cross the road?' and 'A Morning Stroll' plays out very much in the spirit of these short jokes. It's amusing and visually interesting but ultimately the short feels a bit empty, possibly because as the visuals get more self-conscious they end up evoking nothing so much as ugly 90s advertising campaigns. However, the film is filled with energy and invention and its juxtaposition between the styles suggests that maybe the ugliness in the final part is deliberate.
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People who added this item 39 Average listal rating (31 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.8
DIR: Bo Mathorne

SUMMARY: A terrifying winged undertaker, whose appearance in town inevitably means death for someone, holds all of Backwater in his spell. All but one, a sardonic troubador, takes solace in religion. But when that doesn't prove to be enough, the fire-and-brimstone town preacher takes matters into his own hands.

WHY IT'S HERE: Plenty of filmmakers have examined the hypocrisy of religious extremism from all conceivable angles but Bo Mathorne's 'The Backwater Gospel' does so with a blackly comic panache that is often lacking in more boneheaded diatribes. Though it is a tad nihilistic in its complete lack of sympathetic characters or any hope of redemption, 'The Backwater Gospel' draws its power from this very nihilism. Visually arresting from the start, the film ends on an appropriately bleak smirk as the closing credits appear on slamming coffin lids.
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People who added this item 22 Average listal rating (18 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.1
DIR: Stevie Wermers

SUMMARY: The story of how the Loch Ness Monster (and her best friend McQuack) came to inhabit Loch Ness.

WHY IT'S HERE: Disney's 'The Ballad of Nessie' is a beautiful traditionally animated short which boasts abundant magic and timeless storytelling associated with the studio at their best. Warmly narrated by Billy Connolly, 'The Ballad of Nessie' boasts sumptuous storybook visuals and even has turning pages and a climactic image of a closing book, which ought to make any long-term Disney fan well up with nostalgia. Not to worry, it's ok to cry you know! Although it went largely unhailed at the time, this beautifully traditionally animated film is far preferable to the overpraised 'Paperman' which emerged the following year and was instantly embraced as a classic. In fact, it was a flimsy retread of irritating tales of fate and destiny which thought that being in black and white would help smuggle these clichés past the critics. Amazingly it was right and though it looked great, in terms of content it might as well have been called 'Paperthin'. I'll take 'The Ballad of Nessie' over it any day.
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People who added this item 32 Average listal rating (22 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 7.9
The Maker (2011)
DIR: Christopher Kezelos

SUMMARY: A strange rabbit like creature races against time to complete the most important creation of his life. With one eye constantly on a trickling hourglass, he is completely consumed by his work. But why?

WHY IT'S HERE: Christopher Kezelos's stop-motion short 'The Maker' has a sense of urgency throughout its brief 6 minutes that keeps viewers glued to the screen and, while it may be easy for many to guess the ending, it does not diminish its poignancy. The strange rabbit-like creation is wonderfully designed and animated and his race against time is utterly compelling and keeps viewers on the edge of their seats even as they are uncertain of what it all means. Full of heart but more unsentimental than, say, Chris Wedge's 'Bunny' or Kezelos's own 'Zero', 'The Maker' is a resonant, melancholy joy.
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People who added this item 5 Average listal rating (5 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.3
DIR: Michael Please

SUMMARY: Peter is a man obsessed with the passing of time and in particular how his perception seems to speed this up, with no hope of returning to earlier times.

WHY IT'S HERE: British animator Michael Please's graduation film 'The Eagleman Stag' is an astonishing piece of work that deservedly won a BAFTA award. Made in monochrome stop-motion, the film is flooded with a constant, brilliant white, even when the narrator describes other colours in the objects before him. The film is structured around key moments in the life of Peter, a taxonomist who discovers a new species of beetle which he names the Eagleman Stag. The beetle will prove crucial to his attempts to understand and control time, to slow and reverse the progression of his life. Existentially dense, insistently intense and yet also extremely funny, 'The Eagleman Stag' manages to get just about everything right, pairing its strikingly unique visuals with a fascinating script that invites the viewer to rewatch the film again and again in order to piece the themes together and better understand the enigmatic story. This compelling script was then handed to cult British actor David Cann whose droll performance as Peter brings out the subtly comedic elements of the script. It is to 'The Eagleman Stag's credit that most people who watch it adore it but cannot put into words exactly why, although most state their intention to return to the film in order to try and pinpoint it.
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People who added this item 1 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.5
Dripped (2011)
DIR: Leo Verrier

SUMMARY: Jack is a struggling artist in 1950s New York, who steals priceless paintings and then eats them in order to acquire the skills of the painters. But inspiration is sometimes hard to come by.

WHY IT'S HERE: French director Leo Verrier's terrific tribute to Jackson Pollock, 'Dripped' is not an animated biopic but rather a fictional reimagining of an artist's awakening to a new style, having exhausted his attempts to imitate others. Though some Pollock fanatics have condemned the film as inaccurate, this entirely misses the point. This is not the life of Pollock but a fantastical, symbolic story inspired by Pollock's work. In the film, main character Jack is a frustrated artist who can't find his style despite literally ingesting the works of the masters. It takes a moment of frustration to inadvertently unlock his own potential. Wonderfully rendered in a bright, cartoony style with tips of the hat to numerous masterpieces, 'Dripped' is a strange, funny, upbeat film which I found to be an utter delight.
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People who added this item 2 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 3 IMDB Rating 6.2
DIR: Eamonn O'Neill

SUMMARY: A boy experiences instances of bullying and rejection throughout his young life that impact on his later life, triggered by an online friend request from a former tormentor.

WHY IT'S HERE: Eamonn O'Neill's student film 'I'm Fine Thanks' is a fantastic glimpse at the increasingly fragile psychological state of a man who has suffered mistreatment all his life. There is a thin vein of black humour throughout the film but it is largely subservient to the genuine drama of watching a quiet, unassuming individual come unpicked. O'Neill updates this narrative staple by having the individual's collapse triggered by an online friend request from a former bully who is clearly either oblivious of or unmoved by the effect her former actions have had. O'Neill works with a bright colour palette but its incongruously joyous look is drowned in the grim narrative. These bright colours are used brilliantly to portray the mounting tension in the protagonist's head as his face rapidly changes shape and hue. Although it has a definite ending to the story, 'I'm Fine Thanks' also leaves us pondering whether this is reality or just another of the main character's visions. Whichever way you view it, 'I'm Fine Thanks' offers a downbeat vision in which no catharsis is found in revenge and no victory derived from passivity. The film's major victory is in making the viewer consider to what extent they have contributed to the suffering of others and perhaps rethink their future actions.
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People who added this item 96 Average listal rating (70 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.1
DIR: Angus MacLane

SUMMARY: Buzz Lightyear is accidentally abandoned at a fast food restaurant where he discovers a support group for discarded kid's meal toys.

WHY IT'S HERE: After 'Toy Story 3's enormous popularity, Pixar continued the franchise with a series of related shorts known as 'Toy Story Toons'. Little treats for fans of the franchise, the 'Toy Story Toons' series spawned at least one must-see classic in the hysterically funny 'Small Fry'. One may conceivably have thought that every joke about toys had been exhausted over the course of three feature films but it is such a rich, diverse source of reference points and in 'Small Fry' the writers once again hit on an ingenious idea when they turn their attentions to the crappy little toys that come free with fast food meals. The film's major premise is that these tiny, far-from-entertaining toys all have inferiority complexes and Buzz finds himself attending one of their support groups. As we have come to expect from Pixar at its best, 'Small Fry' is genuinely funny and clever, chock full of references for all age groups, including a nod to the roundly-panned Disney live-action superhero film 'Condorman', whose plastic image is among the discarded playthings.
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People who added this item 0 Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0 IMDB Rating 8
DIR: Jonathan Nix

SUMMARY: In 1920s Vienna, pianist Hero Wasabi and his oboe-playing cat Jacuzzi prepare to enter the Abacus Scroll music competition. But the villainous Count Telfino is embarking on a campaign to eliminate the competition.

WHY IT'S HERE: In 2003, Jonathan Nix made a delightful film called 'Hello' in which all the characters had mechanical communication devices for heads. The story followed a tape-player-headed boy struggling to ask out his discman-headed neighbour and receiving guidance from Hero Wasabi, a wise old gramophone head. Nix enjoyed creating this short so much that he decided to write an ambitious prequel which followed the story of Hero Wasabi in his youth. Seven years in the making, 'The Missing Key' is the result and it was well worth the wait. A lover of hand-drawn animation, Nix created over 20,000 pencil drawings in order to retain this warm, intimate style, although the film does incorporate small elements of CG animation in creating its vivid world. The result is a half-hour gem, a mini-masterpiece which expands on 'Hello's concept perfectly. The reimagining of 1920s Vienna is beautiful and the half-hour runtime allows the audience plenty of time to immerse themselves in this richly realised world. Nix has created a range of fantastic song snippets through which the gramophone-heads communicate and one of the finest sequences comes early on in the film as Hero dashes to catch a boat, frantically switching records in order to greet, thank and apologise to the various other characters he encounters. A spellbinding labour of love, 'The Missing Key' will appeal to the whole family and it was well worth those long years of production to create such a unique piece of work.
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As an animation fan, particularly of the animated short, I have found a disappointing dearth of literature on the medium. Having loved the '1001' series of books, I always hoped that maybe this rich source of filmmaking might be tapped into to produce a book collecting some of the essential animated shorts out there. Finally I thought 'Well, no-one else is going to do it' and decided to put together my own list. Although the complete list is already compiled (but subject to change should new notable animated shorts come out in the meantime), I have decided to publish it in chunks of 50, giving me time to write comments for each title, and so that anyone who wants to attempt watching all the films has time to do so. This is not meant to be a definitive list but a list of 1001 animated shorts that, whether for historical significance, innovation, artistic excellence or just sheer entertainment value, demand to be seen by all fans of this underrated and exceptional medium.

Part 19 covers the years 2009 - 2011 including: the revival of Jay Clay and Blue in Timothy Hittle's 'The Quiet Life'; Tom Schroeder revisits the world of bike riding and romance in 'Bike Race'; Don Hertzfeldt completes his masterful Bill trilogy with 'It's Such a Beautiful Day'; Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby create a masterpiece in 'Wild Life'; Jonathan Nix expands the idea from his 2003 short 'Hello' into a crowd-pleasing half-hour prequel, 'The Missing Key'.

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Comments

Posted: 1 year, 6 months ago at Apr 5 13:17
I thought as a quick go-to list for casual fans I'd also list my ten favourites from each chapter of this list. So here they are in no particular order:

ZERO
MADAGASCAR, A JOURNEY DIARY
THE RENTER
THE EXTERNAL WORLD
IT'S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY
WILD LIFE
THE EAGLEMAN STAG
SMALL FRY
THE MISSING KEY
FRESH GUACAMOLE

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