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Added by Andy Goulding on 19 Feb 2016 11:11
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1001 Animated Shorts You Must See - Part 18

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Decade: Rating: List Type:
People who added this item 5 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 8.2
Tony vs. Paul (2007)
DIR: Tony Fiandaca, Paul B. Cummings

SUMMARY: When Paul sends an insulting letter to his friend Tony, an epic battle ensues between them.

WHY IT'S HERE: Pixilation is an oft-neglected form of animation in which live-action actors are animated frame by frame. Perhaps the most famous example is Norman McLaren's 'Neighbours', an influence which looms large in the superb amateur animation 'Tony vs. Paul'. Something of an internet sensation, 'Tony vs. Paul' went on to be featured at some prominent film festivals where is garnered much acclaim for its two first-time directors Paul Cummings and Tony Fiandaca. An intricately choreographed fight between two men across various locations, 'Tony vs. Paul' must have taken ages to put together and is an absolute joy to watch. Not only does it show the brilliance that can be achieved with Pixilation, it also emerges as a triumph of fun filmmaking. It's hard not to smile as you watch these two friends have a whale of a time in front of the camera, all the while ensuring their audience has just as good a ride. I remember when I first saw 'Tony vs. Paul', it really struck me what a marvellous tool the internet is for getting all manner of amateur work out there in the public domain, as frequently this is where some of the very finest work is being done.
DIR: Josh Raskin

SUMMARY: An animated accompaniment to a rare John Lennon interview from 1969.

WHY IT'S HERE: In 1969 14 year old Jerry Levitan sneaked into John Lennon's Toronto hotel room and managed to persuade him to agree to an interview. This immediately makes Josh Rankin's 'I Met the Walrus' of interest to massive Beatles fans like myself, as the opportunity to hear Lennon speaking outside of the usual archive footage wheeled out by every TV documentary is a real treat. You can hear the awkwardness and naivety of the young Levitan in his line of questioning but Lennon, obviously more charitable towards him than he would be towards professional interviewers, is eloquent and passionate in his answers, which revolve around his familiar but laudable topics of peace, love and the power of the individual. Raskin has devised a witty set of visuals to go alongside Lennon's words and they flow into one another fluidly as we listen to the interview, evoking 60s iconography mixed with images of future occurrences. Nominated for an Oscar, 'I Met the Walrus' is a lovely short which perhaps gained more exposure than it might have otherwise received due to the Lennon connection. It will be of especial interest to Beatles fans of course but happily that includes a large chunk of the population.
DIR: Neil Jack

SUMMARY: A man who has a habit of inadvertently losing things arrives in Hell.

WHY IT'S HERE: Neil Jack's 'Ujbaz Izbeneki Has Lost His Soul' is a very funny stop-motion animation about a man who keeps losing things. He arrives in Hell not because of wrongdoings but because he has managed to lose his soul. As soon as he arrives, things begin to go missing around him. This simple idea is played for maximum laughs, as Ujbaz's losses mount up and the Devil tries to keep a hold on the situation. Jack and the film's writer Cameron Fraser would go on to work on the popular children's TV series 'OOglies'.
People who added this item 86 Average listal rating (56 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.2
DIR: Emud Mokhberi, Thierry Marchand, Julien Bocabeille, François-Xavier Chanioux, Olivier Delabarre, Quentin Marmier

SUMMARY: Two octopuses attempt to save each other from being cooked in a restaurant.

WHY IT'S HERE: A student project by six students of Gobelins School of Visual Communication, 'Oktapodi' is a very short but sweet and entertaining action-comedy about two octopuses in a restaurant tank who are saved by their enduring love for one another. Their adventure, which is left on a cliff-hanger which suggests it is perhaps perpetually ongoing, is a delight to watch and the only complaint viewers have generally had about the film is that they want to see more. 'Oktapodi's simple charm and visual appeal were enough to get it nominated for the Best Animated Short Oscar.
People who added this item 27 Average listal rating (19 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.8
DIR: Samuel Tourneux

SUMMARY: A corrupt priest attempts to con an elderly miser out of his savings by presenting him with a machine that gives him a glimpse of Heaven.

WHY IT'S HERE: Samuel Tourneux, who would later go on to direct the popular 'Despicable Me' shorts 'Orientation Day', 'Home Makeover' and 'Banana', was nominated for an Oscar for his misanthropic black comedy 'Even Pigeons Go to Heaven'. An amusing con-trick of a short, 'Even Pigeons Go to Heaven' is nicely animated but is largely notable for its story, which gives a dark glimpse of humanity as a race obsessed with financial gain and willing to screw over their fellow man to obtain it. Although it is not preachy enough to be considered a morality tale, 'Even Pigeons Go to Heaven' does not end well for its characters, with each one handed an ironic fate that inspired the sort of laughter that sticks in your throat. Subversively unpleasant even as it somehow charms, 'Even Pigeons Go to Heaven' is a largely forgotten short which is well worth unearthing.
People who added this item 48 Average listal rating (37 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.1
DIR: Konstantin Bronzit

SUMMARY: A female lavatory attendant tries to work out who her secret admirer is.

WHY IT'S HERE: Konstantin Bronzit's 'Lavatory Lovestory' is a deceptively simple animated short with much thematic depth for anyone willing to give it a bit of thought. A rumination on the random nature of love and how it can arrive at the most unlikely times or in the most unexpected locations, 'Lavatory Lovestory' follows the tale of a female attendant of a men's toilet who finds flowers in her coin jar and wonders it she may be on the cusp of romance. Bronzit's art style is basic, with charming black and white line drawings interspersed with small bursts of colour, reflecting the mundanity of the locale and the allure of potential escape. Although it was poo-pooed (no pun intended) by some critics for its perceived simplicity, 'Lavatory Lovestory' is an enjoyable, uplifting piece which was nominated for an Oscar. Its reputation has subsequently grown as more viewers have allowed its slow-burning magic to work on them.
People who added this item 59 Average listal rating (30 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7.3
DIR: Koji Yamamura

SUMMARY: An adaptation of Franz Kafka's short story in which a doctor makes a housecall on a sick boy and learns as much about his own psychological state as his patient's physical condition.

WHY IT'S HERE: Koji Yamamura was Oscar nominated for his brilliant short 'Mt. Head' but with 'Franz Kafka's A Country Doctor' he made his undoubted masterpiece. An extremely faithful adaptation of Kafka's grotesque meditation on life in an uncaring world, Yamamura's visual style is perfect for the material and strikes exactly the right balance between a frightening netherworld on the edge of human sanity and a bleak reality in which suffering goes unnoticed or at least unacknowledged. The surreal, often baffling events of the plot cannot be fully appreciated on a literal level and any attempt to do so will lead to frustration and disappointment. Fortunately, Yamamura's incredible drawings, which shapeshift around the screen in alarmingly fluid transformations, bring out the nature of the piece incredibly effectively. As with much of Kafka's work, this is a psychologically challenging tale and features moments that really get under the skin and burrow into the brain like parasitic worms. Despite this overwhelming atmosphere, 'Franz Kafka's A Country Doctor' is genuinely enjoyable in its extraordinary inventiveness, unpredictability and dead-on interpretation of its source material. One of the finest animated shorts of the 21st century, it's a dark gem to return to on occasion and think about for a long time thereafter.
People who added this item 40 Average listal rating (27 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 7.3
Arka (2007)
DIR: Grzegorz Jonkajtys

SUMMARY: When an unidentified virus begins to wipe out humanity, the few survivors escape on big ships. However, one man begins to suspect he has not escaped the virus at all.

WHY IT'S HERE: Grzegorz Jonkajtys, known for his visual effects work on such big films as 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' and Pan's Labyrinth', has made a truly resonant and intelligent short film in 'The Ark', an examination of one man's mindset as he faces impending death. 'The Ark' begins as a claustrophobic sci-fi and works its way up to a twist which I initially found hackneyed and disappointing. This was my mistake however, since further consideration of the film in view of what we see at the end reveals it to be an acute, sensitive allegory filled with thematic nuances. The look of 'The Ark' is strange, with ugly, angular characters populating an imposingly grey world. This works well with the subject matter, although the main character does look distractingly like Spock! For the most part 'The Ark' feels very enclosed, with much of the action taking place in the protagonists cabin, but when it begins to open out in the second half it somehow feels even more self-contained, a contradiction that makes more sense once the revelation arrives.
DIR: Claude Cloutier

SUMMARY: A king and queen call in various characters to try and wake their sleeping daughter Betty from her seemingly impenetrable slumber.

WHY IT'S HERE: Canadian animator Claude Cloutier drew on his experience as a satirical illustrator for the magazine 'Croc' when he made 'Sleeping Betty', which plays like a newspaper cartoon come to life. This look is achieved by Cloutier's self-proclaimed 'old-school' technique of using brushes, India ink and water, although the colours are added later on computer. Populating a fairy tale kingdom with celebrity caricatures, historical figures from different time periods, and lots of anachronistic details, 'Sleeping Betty' is a delightfully unpredictable storybook satire in which much comedy mileage is milked from attempts to wake a sleeping woman, while all the while Prince Charles gallops to her aid on his showboating horse. With a lovely art style and consistently amusing, frequently laugh-out-loud funny gags, 'Sleeping Betty' is a crowd-pleasing oddity.
People who added this item 3 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.6
Shuteye Hotel (2007)
DIR: Bill Plmypton

SUMMARY: A tribute to Film Noir in which a police officer investigates the mysterious deaths at the Shuteye Hotel.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'Shuteye Hotel' is Bill Plympton's tribute to Film Noir. Drawn in darker colours than is usual for a Plympton short, 'Shuteye Hotel' brilliantly evokes the slow build and suspense of classic murder mysteries as the bodies stack up and finally a police officer puts herself in harm's way to get to the bottom of it. The solution to the mystery is pure Plympton and is when the short slides from pastiche to parody. A truly Plymptonian twist, this one will take even fans of the director by surprise and whether you enjoy the revelation or not will depend on you having a very specific sense of humour. In the manner of the best satirists, Plympton plays out the scenario in full even when it gets ridiculous, ending the film quietly as if we haven't just seen something utterly weird. For a man who had been defying expectations for decades, 'Shuteye Hotel' was confirmation of Plympton's continued ability to do so.
People who added this item 15 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7.1
DIR: Luis Cook

SUMMARY: On a bleak, windswept island where it is perpetually raining, two sister, Edna and Lol Pearce, eke out a harsh existence catching, gutting and smoking fish. When they rescue a drowning man, he gets an unpleasant glimpse of their unusual world.

WHY IT'S HERE: Luis Cook's 'The Pearce Sisters' was made for Aardman Animation, a name that can't help but evoke images of Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep. It took many people by surprise then that this BAFTA winning short is so grim and unpleasant. Anyone with a knowledge of Aardman that goes beyond Nick Park however, will be well aware that the studio has often dabbled in black comedy and dark subject matter in films such as 'Babylon' or 'Loves Me... Love Me Not'. In its insistent bleakness, 'The Pearce Sisters' perhaps goes a step further but this is an extremely effective short in capturing an atmosphere and its central characters are far more than the monstrous grotesques that the film's critics have suggested. Rather, we see here the effects of isolation on two sisters whose ugliness has doubtless played a part in them being lifelong outcasts. In creating a strange version of civilised society, they have been resourceful and inventive, if also overstepping what most would consider the bounds of acceptability. Cook has created an unforgettable world here and you can feel the bitterness of the sweeping wind and lashing rain. There's also an intriguing depth to the characters of the sisters, who have a clear humanism even as their actions are viewed as monstrous by outsiders. It is this fascinating juxtaposition, as well as Cook's terrific art style, that make this film so worthy of note.
DIR: Vincent Marcone, Rodrigo Gudino

SUMMARY: A detective receives a photograph related to the recent news stories about missing children. The detective is instructed to look carefully at the photograph and, as he does so, important details slowly reveal themselves.

WHY IT'S HERE: This extremely original horror short quickly became a big internet hit for its directors Vincent Marcone and Rodrigo Gudino. Using barely perceptible animation techniques, 'The Facts in the Case of Mister Hollow' is shot entirely from the point of view of a detective who receives a photograph in the post which could help unlock the mystery of some missing children. The film opens with a shot of the detective's desk as he peruses the letter and related newspaper articles. We then zoom into the photograph. Initially it looks like an innocuous group shot but as he examines it more closely details begin to reveal themselves and change with his shifting perception. The camera zooms into various details and unveils new titbits of information until the final, terrible truth is revealed. Ambiguous enough to inspire much discussion, 'The Facts in the Case of Mister Hollow' has been hailed as one of the best and most original horror films in years by several critics. It brings back a cerebral element and a creeping sense of dread that has been missing from so many of the jump-scare horror hits of the 21st century.
People who added this item 13 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.1
Muto (2008)
DIR: Blu

SUMMARY: A series of surreal characters and images created from hundreds on paintings on public walls.

WHY IT'S HERE: Italian street artist Blu has become famous for his graffiti in various locations, although like many street artists he keeps his identity hidden. 'Muto', subtitled 'An Ambiguous Animation Painted on Public Walls', is an astonishing creation which creates animation from images painted on walls. Made up of hundreds of large paintings on walls of public buildings around Buenos Aires, 'Muto' is a film that must been seen to be believed. The characters in Blu's film go through eye-popping transformations and often make use of their surroundings, eating posters or kicking over objects propped against the wall. 'Muto' instantly became a huge internet hit, prefaced by a message from Blu granting the right to anyone to distribute the film provided it was for non-commercial purposes only. A modern marvel, 'Muto' takes street art to a whole new level.
People who added this item 74 Average listal rating (37 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.2
DIR: Don Hertzfeldt

SUMMARY: In the second of his Bill trilogy, Don Hertzfeldt examines the genetic inevitability of Bill's mental illness.

WHY IT'S HERE: It seemed impossible that Don Hertzfeldt could improve on his highly acclaimed short 'Everything Will Be OK' but with this first sequel he made an even better, funnier, sadder and more affecting film. Following 'Everything Will Be OK's examination of the stickman Bill's unspecified mental condition, 'I Am So Proud of You' delves further back into his history to examine its origins. We see significant moments from the lives of Bill's family members and also Bill's younger (and older) years. Once again, Hertzfeldt provides the perfectly dry narration which effortlessly highlights the humour and tragedy inherent in the material. In keeping with his continual upward trajectory, 'I Am So Proud of You' immediately supplanted 'Everything Will Be OK' as Hertzfeldt's finest film and anticipation for the third and final Bill film was unprecedented. The three Bill films would eventually be seamlessly strung together as one of the finest animated features of all time.
People who added this item 3 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 6.9
DIR: Natalya Mirzoyan

SUMMARY: A young boy loses his teddy bear and pursues it through a series of alternate realities linked by the branches of a huge tree.

WHY IT'S HERE: The debut film of 29 year old Natalya Mirzoyan, 'My Childhood Mystery Tree' has the artistic quality of classic films by the Soviet masters. Although its story treads the familiar ground of a fantasy world linked to the loss of innocence and the shift from childhood into adulthood, 'My Childhood Mystery Tree' peppers the formula with visual surprises and an ambiguous ending which combines defiance with acceptance. Of the many worlds the boy visits, perhaps the most haunting is one not unlike our own reality which suddenly becomes sinister when all the other children freeze in motionless poses. Also unforgettable is a malevolent, toy-stealing eagle who snatches precious playthings from helpless hands. Created with pastels on paper, 'My Childhood Mystery Tree' is a latter day visual masterpiece which seems to have come right out of the 70s.
DIR: Stephen Irwin

SUMMARY: The story of the black dog, an unwanted pet who is tossed out by his owner and encounters a world of horrendous cruelty.

WHY IT'S HERE: It's fair to say that 'The Black Dog's Progress' is not a film for everyone. It's story is relentlessly bleak and upsetting, as the titular black dog is rejected by his would-be owner and then subjected to every form of cruelty imaginable in a harsh world in which he finds himself alone. What makes this dark little film so memorable, however, is the technique employed by its director Stephen Irwin, who created over fifty flipbooks of simple, splodgy and disturbing images and which are used to build up a large jigsaw of a story on screen. Some images repeat over and over, while others change as the dog progresses through them. Ultimately, the effect is overwhelming and the viewer has to concentrate and pick their way through the narrative even as the repetition of previous encounters reflect their cumulatively haunting effect on the dog. As if the style and content weren't challenging enough, 'The Black Dog's Progress' also adds a mini-masterpiece of a score by Danish multi-instrumentalist Sorenious Bonk that is mesmerizingly discordant and terrifyingly evocative. Although it leaves one feeling dirty and disillusioned, 'The Black Dog's Progress' is somehow an experience that keeps you coming back for more.
People who added this item 1 Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0 IMDB Rating 6.4
KJFG No 5 (2008)
DIR: Aleksey Alekseev

SUMMARY: A bear, a wolf and a rabbit rehearse their musical act in the woods but are interrupted by a hunter and his dog.

WHY IT'S HERE: Aleksey Alekseev's 'KJFG No 5' is a hysterically funny, extremely short animation which became an international festival hit thanks to its straightforwardly silly charm. The premise is simple: a woodland band is interrupted by a hunter. The joy is in the design and timing of the piece. The characters look hilarious and the moment when the wolf bursts into song is priceless. Alekseev had the admirable intention of making a purely entertaining short with no subtext whatsoever but worried that assigning it a name would lead people to read something into it. Consequently, he gave it the completely meaningless name 'KJFG No 5' which he plucked out of the air. The film was popular enough to be picked up as a short TV series, which was christened with the witty title 'Log Jam' and continues the appeal of the original short.
People who added this item 86 Average listal rating (60 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8
DIR: Jeremy Clapin

SUMMARY: Having been struck by a 150-ton meteorite, Henry has to adapt to living precisely ninety-one centimetres from himself.

WHY IT'S HERE: Jeremy Clapin's genuinely unique 'Skhizein' is a fantastic short animation with a fascinating premise. Henry is hit by a meteorite and subsequently finds that he is living ninety-one centimetres from himself. So if he wants to sit on a chair, he has to locate the spot 91 centimetres from that chair. To everyone else he appears to be floating but this is the only way he can sit down. Using a system of chalk outlines, Henry manages to make his home life more bearable but outside of his flat he struggles and his workmates begins to regard him with suspicion and fear. 'Skhizein' manages to achieve a very difficult mood between comical and tragic, with the premise eventually emerging as a metaphor for living with mental illness, or slipping away from oneself. The limited, pale colour palette perfectly compliments these themes and 'Skhizein's look is superb, attractive without being in anyway distracting from the deeply resonant themes. The feeling of losing touch, both with ourselves and the world around us, is something that is surely familiar to most people to some extent and this short taps into it with sensitivity and astuteness. How 'Skhizein' missed out on an Oscar nomination I will never know.
People who added this item 6 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.8
DIR: Bill Plympton

SUMMARY: A short mockumentary on the brief period during with Santa Claus dabbled in Fascism.

WHY IT'S HERE: Bill Plympton's brief mockumentary 'Santa, the Fascist Years' is a very funny news-report style film narrated by Matthew Modine, in which it is revealed that Santa briefly dabbled in far-right politics in his insatiable greed to make the entire year one long Christmas season. Pieced together with the attention to detail of a man who has researched his conspiracy theories, 'Santa, the Fascist Years' would be in bad taste if it were not so gloriously ridiculous. A good amount of the laughs derive from the juxtaposition of jolly old Saint Nick and Fascism and the very idea that anyone would think of putting the two together. There are a couple of amusingly silly jokes (Blitzen-krieg!) but the film is largely played straight, making it all the funnier. The climactic war of the holidays and subsequent government cover-up make a neat climax to a short that gets by on its sheer audacity.
DIR: Nicky Phelan

SUMMARY: A sadistic old woman tells her granddaughter a terrifying, didactic bedtime story.

WHY IT'S HERE: Based on a character created by Irish comedian Kathleen O'Rourke, who writes and narrates this film, 'Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty' is a very funny CG film which combines a 3D framing device with 2D story as the titular Granny scares the bejesus out of her granddaughter with a terrifying bedtime story. Well directed by Nicky Phelan, 'Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty' really belongs to O'Rourke whose performance and script are both terrific and are likely the main reason this charmingly sadistic little short received an Oscar nomination. Phelan would go on to work prominently on the popular children's series 'Octonauts', although I for one would love to see her return to work with O'Rourke on more Granny O'Grimm shorts.
DIR: Felix Massie

SUMMARY: Keith Reynolds starts his day happy in anticipation of an expected promotion. When the promotion doesn't transpire, it's just the first of a series of events that see Keith's life unravel before his eyes.

WHY IT'S HERE: Felix Massie's 'Keith Reynolds Can't Make It Tonight' was a short that took me completely by surprise, quickly becoming one of my favourite animated shorts of all time. Using very simple backgrounds and colour coded stickpeople for characters, the film tells the story of a potentially good day which quickly turns into a nightmare. The escalation of events across the film's six minutes shows Massie's brilliant knack for farce, while Scott Johnson's dry narration strikes the perfect tone for the tragi-comic material. Although they are quite different films, Don Hertzfeldt's Bill trilogy springs to mind as another set of films that features simply rendered characters enhanced by brilliant scripts and monotone narration. Hertzfeldt may well have been an influence but Massie carves out his own niche here, with a flatly philosophical approach which looks inside the heads of many characters. The ending, which many will find unsatisfying, is one of my favourite endings of anything ever! It somehow feels like the perfect place to leave the narrative, as the characters take stock of what a difference a few minutes can make.
People who added this item 51 Average listal rating (40 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 8
DIR: Santiago Grasso

SUMMARY: A man makes his way to work in a world where the most minute of tasks are now performed by human beings.

WHY IT'S HERE: Santiago Grasso's 'The Employment is both a wonderfully funny and deeply depressing examination of a life spent doing the most menial work. With a great design that feels like a throwback to 70s animation, 'The Employment' follows a man through his early morning routine. We see that around his house there are people performing tasks such as lampstand, coat hanger and bathroom mirror holder. We see more examples of this as he makes his way to work, until we finally find out what his place is in the world. Relatable for anyone who has ever felt underappreciated in their professional life, 'The Employment' comically illustrates the level we have been degraded to in many cases. Although the final poke is very much at management and higher level careerists, 'The Employment' doesn't ignore the hierarchical complexity of society's multi-levelled snobbery.
People who added this item 50 Average listal rating (34 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7
This Way Up (2008)
DIR: Alan Smith, Adam Foulkes

SUMMARY: Two undertakers attempt to transport a body to a graveyard when their hearse is crushed by a boulder.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'This Way Up' is a very funny black comedy in which two hapless undertakers pull out all the stops to get a coffin to a grave when their hearse is destroyed. There's an element of 'Weekend at Bernie's' to the grim slapstick as the coffin and body go through all sorts of tribulations on the way to the final resting place. Towards the end there's a bravura sequence in which the undertakers and the coffin are plunged into Hell. It is likely this portion of the film that got the short Oscar nominated, although it is questionable whether it really works. Personally, I prefer the short when it is more grounded in reality and the fact that the undertakers effectively defy death to come back to the surface and bury the body seems to push the film into a new and less amusing realm. Overall though, 'This Way Up' is definitely worth seeing for its moments of great dark slapstick and the inventive (over)ambition of the Hell sequence.
DIR: Kunio Kato

SUMMARY: A man is forced to add additional storeys to his house because of flooding. His descent into the previous levels of the house to retrieve his favourite pipe causes him to relive moments from his life.

WHY IT'S HERE: Japanese animator Kunio Kato's 'The House of Small Cubes' is an exquisite animation which deservedly won the Oscar for Best Animated Short. Vividly drawn in bold yellows and subtle blues, this modern classic tell the metaphorical story of an elderly man who lives in a land where the water level keeps rising. Each time it does, he is forced to build a new storey on his house, and with each story the space gets a little smaller. When he accidentally drops his favourite pipe into the flooded lower levels, he dons his diving suit to retrieve it. But as he makes his way down, he discovers that each level holds a memory of his life, from his beloved wife's death to the growing up and eventual moving on of his little girl. Wonderfully drawn with a hazy, dreamlike tinge that evokes both the water and the past, 'The House of Small Cubes' is an allegory for the passing of time, which eventually engulfs us all in its rising waters. The film was instantly hailed as a classic and remains one of the most respected animated shorts ever.
People who added this item 50 Average listal rating (36 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.1
French Roast (2008)
DIR: Fabrice Joubert

SUMMARY: When a businessman in a coffee-house finds he has forgotten his wallet, he bides his time by ordering more coffee while he works out how to deal with the situation.

WHY IT'S HERE: Fabrice Joubert's 'French Roast' is a terrific CG short about a small moment in time which builds into a potentially disastrous situation for one uptight businessman. Playing on stereotypes and expectations in order to eventually confound them, 'French Roast' seems to take influence from the classic café sequence from Charlie Chaplin's short masterpiece 'The Immigrant', complete with the intimidating waiter and the fortuitously neat resolutions. Joubert concentrates all the action on one small area, with a window that gives us glimpses of the action outside. It's a brilliantly orchestrated little piece which gets a lot of action out of one scenario, entertains while on screen and leaves viewers with much thematic depth to chew over.
People who added this item 480 Average listal rating (340 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8.4
Presto (2008)
DIR: Doug Sweetland

SUMMARY: An epic battle between a magician and his rabbit, who refuses to perform unless he gets a carrot.

WHY IT'S HERE: Doug Sweetland's 'Presto' is one of the funniest and best Pixar shorts. Sweetland's original plan for the film involved an autograph hunting rabbit who is incorporated into a magician's act but suffers from stage fright. This was thought to be too convoluted a plot for such a short runtime and so 'Presto' was reworked as a simple, fast-paced tribute to Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry cartoons. This simplification was to the short's benefit, creating a brilliant tribute to Golden Age animation as a magician battles his uncooperative rabbit whose only motivation is the desire to get hold of an elusive carrot. Superbly staged, appropriately violent and hilariously funny, 'Presto' is a magnificent latter day classic which reached a large audience when paired with 'Wall-E' for cinematic release.
People who added this item 50 Average listal rating (32 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.5
DIR: Sacha Goedegebure

SUMMARY: Buck is a large, lovable rabbit who adores butterflies. When he is pushed too far by three small, sadistic woodland creatures, Buck decides to take his revenge.

WHY IT'S HERE: Made using the free Blender animation software by the Blender Foundation, a non-profit organization for the development of 3D animation, 'Big Buck Bunny' more than demonstrated the potential of this great tool. Telling an amusing tale of one rabbit's revenge on his tormentors, 'Big Buck Bunny' looks gloriously professional with its bright colours and appealing characters. This was actually the second film made using Blender after 'Elephant's Dream', an experiment that proved the potential of the visuals that could be created but failed to combine these with a coherent plot. A much more commercial prospect, 'Big Buck Bunny' was a leap forward, pre-empting the phenomenal progress in 2010 with the Blender-created 'Sintel'.
DIR: Joaquin Baldwin

SUMMARY: A voodoo doll must find the courage to save his friend from being pinned to death.

WHY IT'S HERE: Joaquin Baldwin's 'Sebastian's Voodoo' is a dark little short in which a rack of voodoo dolls at the mercy of their master glimpse a chance of salvation when one of their number manages to climb down off his hook. Smoothly animated and legitimately tense, 'Sebastian's Voodoo' instils small, faceless dolls with emotion through body language alone. The solution the rogue doll uses to save his friends is clever and makes for a short, neat story about sacrifice which, at four minutes, feels exactly the right length for the simple but moving material.
DIR: Philip Hunt

SUMMARY: When a penguin turns up on a little boy's doorstep, he decides to journey to the South Pole to return it to its proper place in the world.

WHY IT'S HERE: Based on the popular children's book by Oliver Jeffers, Philip Hunt's 'Lost and Found' is a truly magical little animation filled with touching and important little messages for children to learn without feeling they are being preached to. Following the story of a little boy who attempts to singlehandedly return a penguin to the South Pole, 'Lost and Found' is primarily a story of friendship, narrated with a warm wisdom by Jim Broadbent, who makes all its little musings feel like the advice of a loving grandfather. A big hit since its TV premiere, 'Lost and Found' has become something of a children's classic already. Its sweet characters and epic scope will hold children in thrall yet its deliberately measured pace will encourage them to think about each moment in the story and its implications. A gem for the little philosophers in your life!
People who added this item 5 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7
Hot Dog (2008)
DIR: Bill Plympton

SUMMARY: An ever-enthusiastic dog decides to join the fire brigade, but when the negligent firemen ignore a blaze, it is up to the dog to put it out himself.

WHY IT'S HERE: The third instalment in Bill Plympton's brilliant series based around a helpful, enthusiastic but terminally unlucky dog, 'Hot Dog' continues to build on the sad formula of a loving dog who just cannot catch a break. While the events of the original 'Guard Dog' were entirely the fault of the dog, its sequel 'Guide Dog' involved incidents that were largely beyond the dog's control. 'Hot Dog' moves away from the series-of-gags approach and focuses mainly on one event, as the dog hitches a ride to the scene of a fire. With the main housefire dealt with, the firemen get distracted by an attractive woman to the extent that they ignore the beginnings of a new blaze in a nearby tree. The rest of the film focuses on the dog's attempts to quell the fire himself, leading to some inventive jokes involving sausages and, inevitably, urine. A fine third part in Plympton's successful series, 'Hot Dog' keeps the standards high.
People who added this item 2 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 8.2
DIR: Breehn Burns

SUMMARY: A small Vietnamese boy becomes the reluctant subject of a brash movie trailer that has absolutely nothing to do with him.

WHY IT'S HERE: Breehn Burns' internet sensation 'Here Comes Dr. Tran' is a clever parody of brash movie trailers and morally reprehensible action franchises. Movie trailers have been spoofed again and again but Burns finds a complete fresh angle here by pairing the announcer's voiceover with images of a five year old Vietnamese boy who wonders where the voice is coming from and why he is saying these things about him. Despite his repeated vehement protests, the voiceover continues until the absurdity of suggesting this baffled minor is a movie hero is supplemented with even more inappropriate suggestions that leave him drop-jaw speechless. Like TV's 'South Park', 'Here Comes Dr. Tran' uses seemingly crude humour to highlight a satirical point, while never taking itself completely seriously. It's probably fair to say that at nearly eight minutes 'Here Comes Dr. Tran' labours its point and outstays its welcome a little but years after its original release the short is still very popular and lead to a short series of subsequent Dr. Tran cartoons.
DIR: Felix Massie

SUMMARY: A week in the life of three individuals who have different encounters with death and struggle to cope with the aftermath.

WHY IT'S HERE: Felix Massie's brilliant 'The Surprise Demise of Francis Cooper's Mother' is a clever, funny but troubling short which examines the aftermath of three deaths. Francis Cooper receives a call to say his mother has died and, given that she was not very old, becomes obsessed with working out his own lifespan and the sequence in which his family members will die. Emily Madison accidentally kills a man in a car accident and struggles to work out how to continue with a normal life in the aftermath. Craig McKay wrestles with his own self-esteem when he realises he has put his cat through the washing machine. While all of this may seem a little bleak to mine comedy from, Massie's wry but emotionally astute scripting, coupled with brilliantly sensitive narration from comedy legend Alexei Sayle, makes 'The Surprise Demise of Francis Cooper's Mother' another dark gem from an underrated talent.

People who added this item 2 Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0 IMDB Rating 8.1
DIR: Stephan Sacher, Michael Herm

SUMMARY: While waiting at a bus stop for a bus that will not arrive for several days, Chump and Clump strike up a friendship which leads to the consumption of a great deal of drink and drugs.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'Chump and Clump' is a very strange graduation film by Stephan Sacher and Michael Herm. Starting out looking like a children's film (Herm would later go on to work on the popular children's series 'Super 4'), 'Chump and Clump' quickly turns adult as the central character begin to consume copious amounts of alcohol and drugs to alleviate the boredom of waiting for a bus. After tripping for several days, the pair awake to find the bus has arrived but they are too whacked out to board it. Based around simple designs and ideas, 'Chump and Clump's appeal is in its cutely bulbous characters and the theme of friendship which lurks somewhere amongst the anarchy of the piece. Animation fans may think of Aardman's 'Pib and Pog', a good reference point for any animator trying to find that allusive place between childish simplicity and adult irresponsibility.

People who added this item 8 Average listal rating (7 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 7.1
DIR: David O'Reilly

SUMMARY: A troubled relationship between a cat and a mouse set in the distant future.

WHY IT'S HERE: Irish director David O'Reilly's 'Please Say Something' is an astonishing and unsettling look at an abusive relationship between a cat and a mouse. Although this sounds like a comic premise, 'Please Say Something' instead takes an approach heavily weighted towards the dramatic. Split into 23 episodes of 25 seconds each, 'Please Say Something' charts the story of a cat who is in a relationship with a volatile, abusive mouse. Although O'Reilly saw the film as a destruction of the standard cat and mouse cartoon subgenre, the drama is so well-realised that Ingmar Bergman's 'Scenes From a Marriage' springs to mind before Tom and Jerry. O'Reilly is certainly influenced by classic cinema, mentioning Robert Bresson as an influence on his minimalist approach and using a plot device from Michael Haneke's 'Funny Games' in one of 'Please Say Something's boldest moments. Never trying to hide the fact that it is a computer animation, 'Please Say Something' plays up its artificiality as an experiment in whether people can be made to feel emotionally connected with the most simply rendered characters. The positive reaction to the film has suggested that they can, with many calling it one of the most emotionally raw experiences they have ever encountered.
People who added this item 11 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.2
Varmints (2008)
DIR: Marc Craste

SUMMARY: The life of a small creature is shaken up when his green paradise is invaded by industrialisation.

WHY IT'S HERE: Marc Craste's 'Varmints' shares a similarly poetic approach to storytelling with his BAFTA-winning short 'Jojo in the Stars'. Far less enigmatic than that film, 'Varmints' instead opts to tell an oft-told story about the destruction of green and pleasant lands through growing industrialisation. In this respect, it called to mind Dr. Seuss's 'The Lorax', although 'Varmints' has a more elegiac tone and deliberately slow-paced approach which allows viewers to experience the atmosphere of its beautiful and imposing settings. A good many reviewers took against 'Varmints' due to what they saw as its clichéd, unoriginal subject matter but Craste has managed to breathe life into a potentially hackneyed story through the use of dialogue-free, symbolic imagery and a cast of intriguing, expressive but unidentifiable creatures. More complex than its detractors have suggested, 'Varmints' is a beautiful piece of work which leaves much more open for discussion than a simple nature-good, industrialisation-bad narrative would.
People who added this item 1 Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0 IMDB Rating 7.6
Codswallop (2008)
DIR: Myles McLeod, Greg McLeod

SUMMARY: A collection of short sketches based on a series of stream-of-consciousness illustrations by Greg McLeod which were sent on postcards to his son.

WHY IT'S HERE: The Brothers McLeod's 'Codswallop' is a delightfully unusual animation which plays like a sketch show in which the next sketch is not patient enough to wait its turn. We are presented with glimpses into small moments in a range of characters' lives. At any one time the screen is divided into two boxes, each of which houses a different event. While the one on the left is playing out, the one on the right is setting up and once their short events have finished they shift along to the left and disappear to make room for a new event. The mood is one of melancholic, humorous surreality and it is impossible to know what is coming next. The idea was derived from a series of postcards which Greg McLeod sent to his son. Confounding expectations and making the viewer laugh in that way where you're not sure why you did, 'Codswallop' establishes an atmosphere all of its own and draws you completely into it. The film was nominated for a BAFTA award and received much critical acclaim.
DIR: Nick Park

SUMMARY: In the midst of a slew of murders in which twelve bakers have been killed, Wallace falls in love with the voluptuous Piella Bakewell. Once again, it is up to Gromit to protect his master from harm.

WHY IT'S HERE: The first new Wallace and Gromit short since 1995's 'A Close Shave', 'A Matter of Loaf and Death' also became the fourth of the duo's shorts to be Oscar nominated (the disappointing feature film 'The Curse of the Were-Rabbit' had also been nominated for Best Animated Feature three years previously). A huge event in Britain, where Wallace and Gromit were already a festive staple, the Christmas premiere of 'A Matter of Loaf and Death' gained the highest Christmas day audience figures in Britain for five years. Although it falls slightly short of its predecessors, 'A Matter of Loaf and Death' was immediately embraced as another great short from Nick Park and it improves with subsequent viewings. Although the previous shorts had explored dark themes, 'A Matter of Loaf and Death' pushes a little further, opening with an on-screen murder and once again placing the star duo in mortal danger at the hands of the amusingly overbearing Piella Bakewell. Park noted that his experience of working with DreamWorks on 'The Curse of the Were-Rabbit' had been filled with interferences, with demands to change key details, while his return to the BBC had marked a welcome return to minimal input from those not directly involved in the project, allowing Park to work his magic uninterrupted. Reliably amusing and brilliantly animated with all the usual little touches, it was great to see Wallace and Gromit back in the short form medium in which they most thrive.
People who added this item 0 Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0 IMDB Rating 5.8
DIR: Tom Schroeder

SUMMARY: A young man working on a farm in eastern Montana accidentally shoots himself. On the cart ride to Havre to seek medical attention, he slips in and out of past memories.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'The Yellow Bird' feels like a bold shift in tone for the brilliant and underrated Tom Schroeder. Though tinged with melancholy, his previous shorts have largely been balanced with a lightness of touch that makes them amusing, joyous and warm. 'The Yellow Bird', based on a story by Jay Orff, takes things to a much darker place and consequently feels like one of Schroeder's most substantial works yet. Following the story of a farm hand in Montana who accidentally shoots himself, 'The Yellow Bird' largely takes place in the back of a horse-drawn cart as the man tries to reach Havre for medical attention. On the way, he slips in and out of consciousness and recalls images from his past, revealing several key details as to how he ended up where he is. A yellow bird flies alongside the cart, its symbolic significance gradually becoming clearer as we are fed more details. Told without dialogue, 'The Yellow Bird' is similar in visual and storytelling style to Schroeder's previous 'A Plan', although in atmosphere and colour palette it is much darker. Although he remains something of a cult animator, Schroeder's work continues to impress enormously for those who seek it out.
People who added this item 81 Average listal rating (50 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.2
DIR: Javier Recio Gracia

SUMMARY: An old lady who is looking forward to death so she can be reunited with her husband is repeatedly brought back to life by a narcissistic doctor, much to the dismay of the Grim Reaper.

WHY IT'S HERE: Memorably described by Boston.com as ''The Seventh Seal' reimagined as a Merrie Melody', 'The Lady and the Reaper' is a frantically entertaining black comedy in which an elderly woman tries to make it to the afterlife but is repeatedly brought back by an arrogant doctor. This battle between life and death manifests itself literally as an extended chase sequence between the lady, the doctor and the Grim Reaper himself. With surreal, absurdist touches, 'The Lady and the Reaper' is potentially controversial but it treats its subject matter with tongue so firmly in cheek that no-one could possibly mistake it for an argument for or against euthanasia or resuscitation. It's simply an old-fashioned cartoon with an unusually dark heart.
People who added this item 33 Average listal rating (22 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.7
DIR: Lucas Martell

SUMMARY: Rookie secret agent Walter is faced with a problem when a curious pigeon gets itself trapped inside his hi-tech government-issued nuclear briefcase.

WHY IT'S HERE: Lucas Martell's 'Pigeon: Impossible' is a nifty little farce in which a pigeon becomes inadvertently trapped inside a nuclear briefcase and caused havoc with its random beak stabbings. Many filmmakers try their hand at farce but its a tricky subgenre to really get right. One of the key characteristics of a good farce is that it has to escalate, and 'Pigeon: Impossible' certainly does that. Part of the film's charm is the enormity of a situation that was caused by a bagel and which only one man and one pigeon know is happening. The sort of comedy you watch through splayed fingers, 'Pigeon: Impossible' has a nice line in action to keep the viewer interested even as the developments become more ludicrous and improbable.
DIR: Ari Gibson, Eddie White

SUMMARY: In a city populated by humanoid cats, local singers begin to go missing. One cat suspects they are being taken away to form part of the monstrous cat piano.

WHY IT'S HERE: Ari Gibson and Eddie White's 'The Cat Piano' was a film I fell in love with instantly and hard. Rendered in deep, inky blacks and blues, 'The Cat Piano' takes place in a nourish world populated by felines, in which one cat's adoration for a beautiful singer is cut short when she is whisked away. He suspects that she has been taken to form part of a cat piano, a torturous instrument which elicits cries from cats at different pitches by inflicting pain on them. Superbly encapsulating a perfectly realised world with the inner-workings of the narrator's mind, 'The Cat Piano' unfolds to the sound of White's exquisite poem, read by Nick Cave, the ideal choice for narrator of the project. Everything about this short is right, from the look of the characters and the atmosphere of the world to Cave's deeply-relished voiceover and the delicious words he wraps his tongue around. In eight short minutes 'The Cat Piano' takes us to another place where we experience a mind-bending adventure that is disturbing and alluring in equal measures.
People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.2
Sinna mann (2009)
DIR: Anita Killi

SUMMARY: A young boy tries to deal with the complex reality of having an abusive father.

WHY IT'S HERE: Norwegian director Anits Killi's 'Angry Man' is a brilliant but deeply disturbing look at domestic violence in which little Boj tries to deal with the effects of having an emotionally volatile and physically violent father. Crucially, 'Angry Man' focuses on the grey area of the situation as much as the nightmarish reality of the violence. Boj himself differentiates his father and the beast he calls Angry Man as two different beings and the father is depicted as a troubled man struggling to deal with his emotions. 'Angry Man' does not make excuses for domestic violence but it does show it in all its complexity, with the father also portrayed as a victim of his own mental condition. Likewise, the mother and son are portrayed as having a deep love for him even as they live in fear of the next eruption. Killi's astute handling of this tricky issue is complemented beautifully by her haunting artwork, with her jarring, hollow-eyed characters managing to encapsulate the wide emotional range represented in the slice of their life with which we are presented. Completely sidestepping melodrama and cliché, it is unsurprising that 'Angry Man' met with universal acclaim and won a clutch of awards. While it may not be everyone's idea of an enjoyable watch, it is a rewarding, informative and entirely satisfying film that everyone should make the effort to see.
People who added this item 12 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.1
DIR: Cordell Barker

SUMMARY: An engineer struggles to save a runaway train after it hits a cow.

WHY IT'S HERE: Legendary animator Cordell Barker returned in 2009 with the brilliant 'Runaway', a film that took him eight years to complete. Following the frantic action of a train that is derailed by a cow, Barker's animation is as wild and brilliant as we've come to expect from the man who made 'The Cat Came Back'. 'Runaway' also benefits from an added satirical element, in which a first class carriage of passengers attempt to insulate themselves from the issue in hand, as if it is only happening to those lower down the social scale in the other carriage. Barker himself said of 'Runaway', "The metaphor of this film is that, whether you notice the jeopardy or not, everybody is trapped on this track, and we’re all going to the same place", a concept that is borne out by the fantastic final image of the film that puts an emphatic full stop on proceedings.
People who added this item 12 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.6
DIR: Chris Landreth

SUMMARY: Angela attends couples therapy where she becomes involved in the story of Dan and Mary, a man who has shrivelled as his wife has grown ever larger.

WHY IT'S HERE: Chris Landreth's 'The Spine' takes a concept that Landreth created in his Oscar-winning masterpiece 'Ryan' and runs with it. That concept is showing people's mental states in their physical appearances. 'The Spine' takes place in couples group therapy, where the attendees all have a symbolic physical deformity, such as large flaps of skin hanging from their foreheads or, in the case of Dan, an almost entirely shrivelled body. Dan lives in the shadow of his wife Mary, constantly apologising as she denigrates him. When Mary leaves him, Dan flourishes, growing a brightly coloured spine and regaining his stature. But as Angela looks deeper into their relationship, she sees that it is not the one-sided mentally abusive nightmare that it at first appeared to be. Clever, sad and deeply moving, 'The Spine' shows how far Landreth's writing has come since his self-referential debut 'The End'. The animation is, as always, fantastic, with human characters who are both realistic and stylised in their appearances.
People who added this item 141 Average listal rating (95 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.5
DIR: Ludovic Houplain, Herve de Crecy, François Alaux

SUMMARY: In a world made entirely of logos, a tense shootout occurs between the police and the criminal Ronald McDonald.

WHY IT'S HERE: Rightfully winning the Oscar for its year, 'Logorama' is a stupendously ambitious, perfectly executed short that stands up to repeated viewings by token of the sheer amount of detail put into it. Directors Ludovic Houplain, Herve de Crecy and François Alaux have here created an alarmingly commercial world which is made up entirely of logos, right down to the characters that inhabit it. Characters we encounter include two Michelin man cops, an evil Ronald McDonald, the Haribo boy, the Pringles man and 7-Up's Fido Dido. The thousands of brands and logos are used as clever visual puns as the Tarantino-esque action unfolds and the commercial world begins to crumble, only for an exquisite final pullback to reveal the hand of capitalism has spread far into the galaxy. Extremely funny and a great communal experience for viewers to spot brands together, 'Logorama' even incorporates fictional brands such as Slurm from 'Futurama' and the Ghostbusters emblem. One of the few films of which you can genuinely say you see something new every time you watch it, 'Logorama' was an instant cult classic and continues to amaze and delight viewers with its visual invention. Even when the brand logos have moved on and been updated, it will stand as an amazing document of late 20th and early 21st century advertising.

People who added this item 24 Average listal rating (13 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.4
Let's Pollute (2009)
DIR: Geefwee Boedoe

SUMMARY: A 1950s style public information film explains the importance of polluting more for a better tomorrow.

WHY IT'S HERE: Geefwee Boedoe's 'Let's Pollute' is a terrific parody of 1950s public information films in which the narrator encourages continued pollution. With both subject matter and style, Boedoe took a risk. The chirpy, upbeat and often naïve public information film has been parodied again and again, notably in episodes of 'The Simpsons' in which Troy McClure was a regular host. Likewise, the environmental theme of 'Let's Pollute' has been touched on frequently in animation, although it was well overdue a resurrection given that environmentalism had started to be perceived by many as a bit retro! Fortunately, Boedoe's recreation of both the graphic and narrative style of these films is so accurate that it immediately brushes aside comparisons with any shorter sketch parodies, while the important message is portrayed in a palatable comedic style with satire standing in for heavy-handed preaching. 'Let's Pollute' was recognised with an Oscar nomination and while it has been comparatively forgotten it represents a strong and commendable late addition to the canon of environmentally concerned animations.
People who added this item 7 Average listal rating (5 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 6.6
Esterhazy (2009)
DIR: Izabela Plucinska

SUMMARY: When a wealthy dynasty of rabbits suffers due to their diminishing size, they send the young Esterhazy to Berlin to find a wife.

WHY IT'S HERE: Polish director Izabela Plucinska's 'Esterhazy' is a wonderful Claymation short which follows the adventures of Esterhazy in 1980s Berlin as he searches for a wife to continue his diminishing family line. Based on a popular German picture book, 'Esterhazy' has the rudimentary look of vintage Claymation. With the growing sophistication of stop-motion animation in the 21st century, 'Esterhazy' is a glorious throwback which makes a stylistic advantage out of a budgetary necessity. The classic, finger-marked Claymation style immediately evokes the 80s, which is the era in which 'Esterhazy' is set. Plucinska does a marvellous job of evoking 80s Berlin and despite the simple look of the film, the sets are marvellously evocative and build up a feel of genuine scope. The political backdrop for the film makes it that little bit more special, with the fall of the Berlin wall robbing hundreds of rabbits of the green, safe area between the two sides of the wall, a rabbit-paradise that really existed. Filled with adventure, invention and a skewed look at period politics, 'Esterhazy' is an offbeat treasure of a film.
People who added this item 460 Average listal rating (331 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 8.2
Partly Cloudy (2009)
DIR: Peter Sohn

SUMMARY: A group of clouds make baby animals which they then give to storks to deliver. But one cloud has a particular knack for making dangerous creatures, much to his assigned stork's dismay.

WHY IT'S HERE: One of Pixar's cleverest and most heart-warming shorts, it was a surprise to see 'Partly Cloudy' not get an Oscar nomination when other inferior shorts like 'Boundin'' had managed it. Director Peter Sohn took inspiration from Disney's 'Dumbo', in which storks deliver baby animals to their parents. Their flight through the clouds at the beginning of that film convinced Sohn that babies came from clouds, and that idea shaped 'Partly Cloudy' in which baby animals are created from the fluffy bodies of a cheery group of clouds and handed to storks to deliver. The film focuses on one duo in particular, a dark and stormy looking cloud whose particular skill is making dangerous babies such as crocodiles and porcupines. This leads to problems for his long-suffering stork friend who resolves to take action, resulting in a surprising and delightful climax. 'Partly Cloudy' is still one of the finest Pixar shorts and was also paired with one of their finest features, 'Up'.
People who added this item 145 Average listal rating (89 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.3
Alma (2009)
DIR: Rodrigo Blaas

SUMMARY: A young girl spots a doll in a shop window that looks exactly like her.

WHY IT'S HERE: Former Pixar animator Rodrigo Blaas's 'Alma' is a terrific CG short that lures the viewer in with a warm, sweet atmosphere only to slowly turn on them as the storyline darkens. The major triumph of 'Alma' is that as the narrative gets eerier, the same mood is maintained, with upbeat, soothing music and brightly coloured imagery, making the film all the more creepy. It's hard to say much about 'Alma without revealing spoilers but the basis of the short is a little girl spots a doll that resembles her in a seemingly deserted old toy shop and can't help but be tempted to go in and investigate further. Old toys, especially dolls, which feature prominently, are always creepy and 'Alma' works up a real sense of menace without ever resorting to ominous music or shadowy jump-scares. It is a masterful work of short animation which deserves to be more widely seen.
People who added this item 2 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.6
Horn Dog (2009)
DIR: Bill Plympton

SUMMARY: Bill Plympton's unlucky dog character tries to woo a female dog in the park.

WHY IT'S HERE: The fourth film in Bill Plympton's dog series, 'Horn Dog' shifts the focus from the dog's desire to please human beings to his carnal desires for a beautiful female dog. Despite the protestations of her owner, the dog tries to win her heart with chocolates, jewellery and romantic music. He is initially thwarted by his own overactive imagination (as in the original short 'Guard Dog'), although given his track record the things he fears are entirely possible. But it is when he pulls out his violin that the short takes a darker turn, resulting in the dog not walking away sadly with tail between his legs as usual, but rather running for his life. Although the title suggests this might be one of Plympton's more sexually explicit cartoons, 'Horn Dog' does not go in that direction, opting instead for something grislier altogether.

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 18 covers the years 2007 - 2009 including: the continuation of Don Hertzfeldt's masterful Bill trilogy; Kunio Kato's classic 'The House of Small Cubes' wins an Oscar; Pixar continue to excel with 'Presto' and 'Partly Cloudy'; 'Big Buck Bunny shows what the free Blender animation software can do; Wallace and Gromit return to short animation in 'A Matter of Load or Death'; Bill Plympton's Dog series continues.

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