Attending any shorts screening is always a treat, and AFF’s 2020 animation shorts was no exception. Bringing together eight films from around the world across a variety of mediums, the selection was a saga of hilarious, terrifying, and touching moments. I’ve ranked my top five shorts and how their unique appeal enraptured the audience.
5. Crab dir. Shiva Sadegh Asadi
This dark and utterly terrifying Iranian short follows a curious school boy wanting to join a mask-clad theatre group. Desperate to be accepted, he dons the guise of a crab, and his attempts to be accepted are turned on their head. The short is animated through the technique of rotoscoping with dark oil paint and pastels, the end result a combination of fluidity and muddiness. Crab is a stand out for its bone-chilling impact.
4. My Galactic Twin Galaction dir. Sasha Svirsky
A deep Russian accent details the protagonist’s odd predicament. He receives what appears to be a spam email uncovering he has a galactic twin by the name of Galaction. Crammed into this 7 minute riotous short, is an amalgamation of collage and scribble. It has quick narration with punchy oddball humour, and the animation itself was strangely hypnotising.
3. YOLO Crystal Fantasy dir. Michael Cusak
‘Ciggie Butt Brain’ animator Michael Cusack takes us on a Rick-and-Morty-esqe adventure, a fantasy land of bogans and incels. This foul-mouthed short centres around Aussie party girl Sarah, who borrows her dads rocket to escape to Planet Bali. When her rocket goes off course and crashes into the planet that determines our horoscope notifications, only her best mate Rachel can save her. I will definitely be seeking out the rest of this show on Adult Swim.
2. Genius Loci dir. Adrien Mérigeau
Navigating a chaotic night in Paris, this water colour animation depicts Reine’s derealisation as everyday objects morph into patterns before her eyes. As the hour gets later those around her begin to gain an animalistic form. This masterful work is as beautiful as it is primal.
1. Symbiosis dir. Nadja Andrasev
A young woman investigates the lovers of her partner at arms length. Theres no harm in watching him from their apartment, looking through his phone, and following him. She gets a tattoo from his new lover, begins collecting their hair, and their underwear. This evocative animation cleverly melds muted pastels and photographs. I loved how this short delicately explored feminine curiosity.