The animation shorts at this year’s Toronto Youth Shorts are pretty good. And what makes them better is that they’re the shortest group of movies at this festival. Although what does that say about my attention span that more than six minutes feel like a chore to me? Anyway, let’s begin.
Madeline Czukar’s Beyond The Valley feels like a throwback to old school 2D animation. It tells the story of a scarecrow trying to escape his station. This gets depressing before it shows any levity, but a closer look would reveal the talent it takes in incorporating color gradations on the screen.
The main characters, well, the two characters in Emma Momoko Frew’s Test Flight are trying to make flying brooms out of certain fruits. The most simplistic of the shorts both visually and through its score. It could have gone further ot because of its premise but this is good.
Although with this fest, viewers can find their way out of simplistic animation for children into heavier shorts both in content and style. Elly Stern’s Waste Away shows, through her sculptural style, what happens when a homeless girl eats fish out of a trash. It’s as wild as it sounds.
If you liked how Beyond uses color, Jerry Wang’s My Tagalong uses the same style ethos and take it up further. It depicts two alien brothers possessing the bodies of different animals until one brother becomes annoyed with the other. Even within its 7 minute running time it’s quite emotionally poignant.
Lastly, there’s Aiken Chau and Nathan Chen’s Prey, which had its debut over at least year’s Shorts Not Pants. I needed to watch this again which says more about my short term memory. But its story about a mythical beast has an ending that’s shocking enough for viewers to see.