Category is – space. Well, metaphorical space, as the shorts in this program show how animals, aliens, and people navigate their new surroundings. I have also still not figured out if I’ll automatically like a short or not, which is probably good.
One of the programs’ openers is Maki Yoshikura’s Billie. It’s about the titular Labradoodle who still thinks of her old owner now that she’s in the pound. The blank spaces in this animation film makes the jumps from the real world to the dog’s dream states seamless. It’s elegant and heartwarming in showing that animals like Billie need to feel like they belong, just like their owners would.
Then come one of the longer shorts in the program, Reka Bucsi’s Solar Walk. In tells the story of two astronauts, a giant dog, and more species I can’t explain. This animated short film isn’t plot driven, but it shows how simplicity on top of simplicity has visually wacky results. Viscera also plays a role here, specifically coming from the dog, a nice break from its otherwise clean aesthetics.
Following that up is Maxime Aubert’s The Beep Test, about an immigrant transfer student Wojtek (Theodore Pellerin). Aubert makes the bullying he experiences feel real, and details are divergent. But it feels like it needs to explain the titular test for audiences who already know it. And we know that he’s gonna slay that damn test. The short literally builds up to that inevitability.
Then there’s Ren Thackham’s Round Trip, about a jailbird, Ned Williams (Lee Priest). He lucks out and escapes from a Constable Rose (Danny Bolt) in the Australian outback. It seems straightforward enough until the final twist which explains why Ned got that lucky break. Also, there are crocodiles in this mix. It’s a funny take to how the Outback is a place where people disappear.
There’s also Rishi Chandna’s Tungrus, with a family of South Asians. They have to re-navigate their own apartment after adopting a pet rooster. The cinematography is simple enough and not vibrantly earthy. And the first half is basically watching members of the family freak out when the rooster is around them. But its static camera somehow captures the rooster’s trickster like agility.
Sophie Kepinsky’s Limitless shows Denis Shapovalov’s training sessions building up to defeating Rafael Nadal. A bit too puff piece-y and premsture even for a short documentary. Although there’s some juice here, and this can be part of something bigger. Again, maybe Kepinsky could return and tell the rest of that story. But do that in maybe a decade or two when exciting things happen.
Lastly, Supinder Wraich’s Ruby Tuesday is more confined but seismic events happen within that small area. The titular character (Mishu Vellani) has to work and close the convenient store she owns. And in her 50th birthday, which everyone seems to have forgotten. Two teen shoplifters leave behind Brio and and a flask and the rest is a one woman party. Vellani’s voice is a nice touch.
- Genre: Action, Animation, Comedy, documentary, Drama, Short, Sport
- Release Date: 11/24/2018
- Directed by: Maki Yoshikura, Maxime Aubert, Reka Bucsi, Ren Thackham, Rishi Chandna, Sophie Kepinsky, Supinder Wraich
- Starring: Lee Priest, Mishu Vellani, Theodore Pellerin
- Produced by: Audrey D. Laroche, Matt Power, Megha Saxena, Morten Thorning, Ren Thackham, Rishi Chandna
- Written by: Maki Yoshikura, Maxime Aubert, Reka Bucsi, Ren Thackham, Supinder Wraich
- Studio: Action Creative, The Animation Workshop
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