“The unlikely friendship of a boy, a mole, a fox and a horse traveling together in the boy’s search for home.”
“The Flying Sailor is based on the Halifax explosion of 1917 when two ships collided in the Halifax Harbour causing the largest accidental explosion in history. Among the tragic stories of the disaster is the remarkable account of a sailor who, blown skyward from the deck of a British cargo steamer, flew 4km before landing completely unharmed, but naked except for his boots.”
I’m not sure how convincing this is as a contemplation of life, the universe and everything, but The Flying Sailor is so gorgeously animated and well-structured that a nomination seemed inevitable. The fact that it’s based on a true story is only more impressive, and its poetic nature is even more potent when put into a real-world existential perspective.
“Every day, a father and his son jump with a parachute from their vertiginous cold house, attached to a cliff, to go to the village on the ground, far away where they sell the ice they produce daily.”
Ice Merchants manages to do everything with no dialogue and an incredibly simple story. Brought to life with beautiful hand-drawn animation, the emotion in this story lies in the implied expressions in the blank faces of its characters and the music that does a brilliant job of communicating what you’re meant to be feeling. In terms of impact, it’s the most powerful short presented this year, even including unexpected commentary on the state of our planet.
“An imaginative 15-year-old is stubbornly determined to lose her virginity despite the pathetic pickings in the outskirts of Houston in the early ’90s.”
Uncomfortable and honest, My Year of Dicks is a stylized personal tale with themes and through-lines with the capacity to resonate with those outside the age and gender of the storyteller. This is not my favorite of this year’s nominees, but it’s still full to the brim with humor, heartfelt charm, and unique animation of varying styles, as the best ones are.
“When a young telemarketer is confronted by a mysterious talking ostrich, he learns that the universe is stop motion animation. He must put aside his dwindling toaster sales and focus on convincing his colleagues of his terrifying discovery. It’s scary business living in a stop motion world, where your faces come off and a giant hand controls your every move.”
What Will Win: Ice Merchants