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Short Film

Construct Short Film Displays Astonishing Visuals

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I never thought I would see the day that robots were caught red handed burying humans in wet cement on a building site.

Well that day has come in the form of director Kevin Margo‘s latest short film, Construct.

I say short film but all we have for the moment is this minute-long teaser which was presented as part of a tech demo at a recent Nvidia GTC conference to illustrate recent advancements in graphics hardware and software capabilities. It more than impresses in terms of graphics and the robot movements are the thing of major Hollywood blockbusters. All I can say is we can’t wait to see Construct in its entirety which is expected to release soon.

Having most recently worked as VFX/CG Supervisor on Thor: The Dark World and based on both Contact and Margo’s previous short, Grounded, this is someone all eyes will be looking out for in the very near future, well before robots are really do start hiding us all in wet cement graves.

We’ll also leave you with his previous directorial work in full, Grounded, which shows off just as much of Margo’s eye for out-of-this-world visuals.

For another amazing show of animation adeptness, Warner Bros. also asked Margo’s team at Blur Studio to create a cinematic clip for their Batman: Arkham Origins game. Press play and roll your tongue up from off the floor when it’s over:

For further information about Kevin Margo and the upcoming Construct short film:
constructfilm.com/
facebook.com/constructfilm
twitter.com/MargoKevin
kevinmargo.com

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Short Film

A Short Mission: Inseparable

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Benedict Cumberbatch, at the moment, can do know wrong. When he isn’t busy hosting sports awards in Malaysia or giving students their Duke of Edinburgh awards, he is voicing dragons, seducing the streets of London and preparing for a stellar feet as Hamlet next year. On top of that he is the narrator for Pedigree and produces shorts as part of the company Sunny March (and yes, all this research was for this very short article and I am not a creepy stalker.) It’s safe to say that Cumberbatch does every medium of acting, much more than a lot of people in the industry at the moment.

One of the lesser known Cumberbatch short form films is Inseparable made by filmmakers Area17. It’s been touring the festival circuit since 2007 and there are many good reasons why. Revolving around young Dad, Joe, his life comes crumbling down when he is told that he has precious little time to live . The only person who he tells is his lowlife twin brother Charlie; busy wasting his life away gambling. Can the pair come up with a solution to help Joe save his family from the truth?

Cumberbatch here plays dual roles and it works real well. His acting is nothing short of stellar as two characters on different sides of a coin for every reason possible. He can be the breaking, suit wearing Joe as well as the dishevelled Charlie. And he also conveys different levels of devastation from finding out you are dying to finding out your brother is dying. He manages to differentiate between the two and set them apart even watching it now after his new fame status.

While the cinematography is beautiful, managing to enhance the natural colours of suburbia, it really is the end that packs a punch to the stomach. I don’t want to say anything but it is terrific form from actress Natalie Press who is outstanding in her role as Joe’s wife.

There is a message here about love of different levels and whilst the double act plot has been trotted out in oodles at the cinema of late (Jesse Eisenberg will tackle this in The Double,) the strength of Area17 and Cumberbatch are what really make this short so special.

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FeaturesShort Film

A Short Mission: The Purge: The Morning After

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The Purge was 2013’s best concept but the execution of the film was duller than hoped for. If you don’t know about the movie then it revolves around one night every year when all crime is legal (as a genius government way of keeping everyone grounded.) And yes, it goes terribly wrong when families and good citizens have to lock themselves up in their houses in order to stop being murdered legally. Yikes. With the upcoming sequel that hopefully will do better than the original (the plot sort of segued into tedium by the second half,) comedy writer Johnny Ray Gill directs this imagined sequel called The Purge: The Morning After. And yes, it is pretty funny.

Elmer goes to work the morning after The Purge to address some issues with co-worker Dan. Judging by CCTV footage, Dan had used the crime spree opportunity to enter Elmer’s home and murder his entire family. However, Dan is adamant that this didn’t go down and comedy ensues…

Answering that important question of what exactly would happen after The Purge, this is a wonderful little short film that has the darkly comic aspect of confronting people’s shitty actions. It revolves around the consequences that people seemingly forgot when enacting The Purge. Imagine if you were unsuccessful killing someone you knew only to sit awkwardly with them in the office or in a bar. Gill has developed a movie that deals with this and has fantastic delivery. What works well is how highly real it is and that is probably down to the fact that the movie was on a budget. Although not all the jokes or acting gel completely, there are still some humorous moments that feel utterly believable, not to mention the added layer of hilarity brought by the setting, a nursery, where all players are watering plants and wearing pinafores. It won’t appeal to everyone but would be a genius series to lead up to the sequel.

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Short Film

A Short Mission: Dark Noir

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Being a fan of short form cinema has a problem. Basically, you see something that is so utterly compelling and fantastic that you wish it were part of bigger worlds, had more episodes and lasted more than four minutes. This is the main issue with the highly rated, “oh my god, wow” movie, Dark Noir. Coming from a comic book background, this impressive feat is by artist Rafael Grampa (alongside Absolut and Facebook fans) and will leave you begging for more.

Dark Noir revolves around our protagonist, Vincent Black, who can see the world in a different way: he can see everyone’s dreams and ideas. He is summoned by an elderly friend to hunt down the art that was stolen from him after his lover has left. However, the lead player ultimately finds himself confronted with the horrid truth of his own past.

Yes this steams from the fan-base of a major drinking company but boy, you can’t ignore their imagination. This is teaming with so much good animation, artistic work that feels more like Claymation than computer animation (as in the look of the characters, they actually flow quite fluidly.) The general feel of this great short is a combination of Constantine, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Pink Floyd’s The Wall, mixing some crazy cartoon imagery with that gruff noir man trying to solve the case. What is interesting is the view point of artistry and if this real spiritual elements existed, could they be stolen?

See, the short time is an Achilles heel, feeling that there is so much sandwiched in here. The want, the need to expand this is oh so high!

Ball is in your court Grampa.

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Short Film

A Short Mission: Done In

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It happens once in a while. Actually, more often than one would care to admit. You come across a film and you so adamantly know where it is going that you try desperately not to switch off. Predictable and teetering on the yarn, these stories come and go without a second thought, and you’ll probably forget about them the minute the credits role. Silly me, writing this now, I fell into that trap watching Done In. And thankfully, that is exactly what you are meant to do.

Done In is a movie by up-and-coming director, Adam Stephen Kelly. It revolves around a man in his stately home, dictating a letter to his loved ones. Reminiscing on the old days, the death of his wife and the inevitable drifting apart from his son, it becomes more apparent that this isn’t just any old letter, but in fact, a suicide note.

Kelly has written and produced a superior thriller here that should by no means be judged by it starting off as seemingly sappy as a drama could get. Gradually, as the short goes on, Kelly toys around with the narrative, utilizing eloquent sweeping shots and piano fare to tinker on your heart strings portraying a man in the midst of sorrow, Kelly lures you into what would be a cliched film and then flaws you with a counterpunch. Impressively executed, the resulting short defies your cinematic knowledge and toys with the thought process of the audience in such a unique way.

Things are bettered further by the fact our lead is played by Holby City’s Guy Henry (a man who could easily pass as an older Tom Hiddleston.) Henry doesn’t speak per se. In fact, it is mostly in narration. His sultry tones though are complemented with those fiery eyes, powerfully conveying both emotion and plot. Eyes that are soft, menacing and perplexing all at the same time, catching the light of the flames.

Stephen Kelly has produced a genius of a short with Done In. Sly, skilled and stunningly shot, it is one that certainly shows all the warning signs of a promising filmmaker. We look forward enthusiastically to whatever he has up his sleeve next.

Our rating:

5 stars seal

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Short Film

A Short Mission: The Tailor’s Thread

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Many student films come and go. It is inevitable.

Some, like the recent Bernie, are absolutely superb and others are awfully lacklustre. This is especially the case when it comes to animation, falling into the pitfalls of subpar drawings or untalented art. However, when Laura Ann Stubbs came into our sights, thanks to the film networks, we were very taken by her exquisite talent in this ridiculously superb and imaginative The Tailor’s Thread.

Using stop-animation, The Tailor’s Thread focuses on a shop (a tailors, none the less,) at night time. A lonely and frail tailor comes to life only in the twilight and with the help of the magical tools, they help him create the masterpiece that he has been making for as long as he can recall.

Stubbs claims that she is a massive fan of Tim Burton and Eastern European Puppetry, even winning a research grant to study in Prague. While this may be her Vimeo bio, all this information also shines through in her work; with a definite feel of Vincent and Jan Svankmejer’s Alice in Wonderland combined. From the delightful score to the characters who come to life as soon as darkness falls. While there are moments a little too jerky, fluidity does come after practice. And in places, it adds to that atmosphere. For a first time filmmaker this is brimming with wide eyed imagination that is aching to be used in a feature.

The Tailor’s Thread is a stunning film to have figuring on her portfolio because its execution, the plot and the two minute glimpse into the artistic talent of Stubbs, prove that she is someone who is going to have a long and proactive career in animation.

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Short Film

A Short Mission: The Break Ups

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Break ups are hard, aren’t they? Unless you are still together with your high school sweetheart, everyone has been through them. The snuff of the romance flame is well and truly out, you’re loved one has grown distant and love don’t stop here anymore. Break ups have been a go to movie staple since the very first heartbreak on screen. So naturally, brothers James and Thomas Pickering tackle the subject with this brilliant little comedy aptly named The Break-Ups.

It centres on two men, Tony and Jack, who are desperate to break up with their clinging and sex crazed girlfriends. However, for the chauvinistic Tony splitting up with his weepy and clingy girlfriend is proving difficult. And on the other side, Jack is having similar issues with his crazy borderline dominatrix girlfriend, who keeps promiscuously trying to seduce him. Can they cut the fat with these ridiculous relationships?

I know, I know, I thought it too; how many clichés can you throw in the barrel. Especially those feminine tropes that are trotted out in nearly every testosterone centred romantic comedy. But stick with it, the clever writing of James Pickering place them there to turn the exaggerations back on the men. Already a few minutes into the impressive short and it is clear that these problems are cartoonish for a reason and not because Pickering is bereft of writing talent. In fact, he has oodles of it. It is very witty with an especially strong performance from Sam Cannon as the nervous Jack and fantastic cinematography and direction from Thomas; the second Pickering.

The Break Ups is an enjoyable movie. Yes, there is shaky acting and some unprecedented awkward moments. But still, it hits enough jokes and humour to keep you thoroughly satisfied.

The Break Ups will be hitting film festivals this year but here is the trailer of this great comedy!

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Short Film

A Short Mission: Reflections

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As you pop on your tie this evening, button up your suit and lock your briefcase; do you look in the reflection and see an adult? Or is there the remnants of a child winking back at you? Will you drudge dearly to that job you hate so much, or will you skip with your innocence on the wind? That’s the big message of Bosmat Agayoff & Alon Ziv’s extremely sentimental and technologically stunning piece, Reflections.

Reflections focuses on Barnie who spends most of his days chasing the reflection of his former self around the streets, much to the disgust of those suited and booted around him. When he bumps into one of them on the street, he finds himself surrounded by those urging him to join the masses of the drove of workers. Can Barnie resist or will he give in to those growing pains?

Agayoff and Ziv provide what can only be described as an earnest and accurate portrayal of what it is like to be in your mid-twenties. Because on one hand all you want to do is play, loll abut in the sun and find rainbows with promises of gold at the end of them. But around you, everyone is conforming to a payroll; a system where pain rains down and so does tedium. Told through computer animation, made to look hand-drawn, this quirky and determined piece has this utterly strong message throughout a (yes, it is) student film.

Captivating, this is a classic filmmaking with a flare. The hazy and different feel of the movie only adds to the sentiments the tale is trying to portray. More importantly, at one point in our life we were Barnie; forced to stop looking back and conforming to a world of dreariness. The only important question to ask yourself is whether or not you chose to go forward, or remember your inner child; pulling faces in shop windows or skipping down the streets.

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Short Film

A Short Mission: Franz Kafka’s It’s A Wonderful Life

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If you have been living under a rock the past year then you will be forgiven for not knowing the name of Peter Capaldi. The rest of you have absolutely no excuse. Capaldi was the swearing press mogul in charge of political campaigns in the highly successful In The Loop followed by award winning, The Thick of It. He also stars now as the latest Cardinal Richelieu in BBC’s Three Musketeers.

Oh, and he is The Doctor.

So yes, all eyes are on Capaldi as he enters the tentative (or, twelvetative world if you want a bad Doctor Who joke) world of Moffat. But it was a genuine surprise to find out that way before all this crazy fame, Capaldi is actually an Oscar Winner. Not only did he write an award winning short, but he directed it too. Indeed, back in 1993 with the help of famous British actors, Capaldi created Franz Kafka’s It’s A Wonderful Life.

Centring on the famed writer (played by The Great Intelligence himself, Richard E Grant) as he attempts to write the great Metamorphosis. However, he is stuck on that immortal first line; exactly what will Greg Samsa turn into? It doesn’t help that the neighbours in the complex he lives in are the most disruptive

Here, Capaldi balances that heart wrenching pain of writers block with comedic precision and wit. Combining vivid imagery, colourful characters and the pain of hammering out a story that’s stuck on the edge of your fingertips, this little short is an endearing and fun endeavour. It also helps that the lead here is Richard E Grant who is simply charismatic and, as Kafka, pains and delights all at the same time. When the insect scuttles by him, the look of wonder and relief is insanely compelling. With the added acting bravado of Ken Scott, a creepy bug obsessed man, it adds this mix of character and intrigue with clever angles and an interesting stripped set.

A labour of astute intelligence and clever, if not at all historical, stab at writing and emulating Kafka.

Brilliant and timeless work.

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An Oscar Winning Short Mission: Mr Hublot

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There have been some seriously strong contenders for short animation at this years Oscars. On a personal note, I wanted Feral to win because of its unique haze of imagination pulling it up above the usual fare. And then there was the dead cert with Disney’s Get A Horse! delighting audiences. Disney and Pixar have always been guaranteed, what with Paperman winning it last year.

This year, however, it was French animation Mr. Hublot that won the coveted prize and it certainly isn’t one that will be forgotten soon. Mr Hublot revolves around the titular character. Living in a futuristic world, he is riddled with OCD and likes to live his live to a routine. However, after saving a Robot Pet, his life is switched upside down and he has to adjust to the mess of his life.

Mr. Hublot is a breath-taking computer based animation that thrives on the imagination of its creators Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares. It is a striving, delightful silent film that really hones in on the creativity of the filmmakers. At only eleven minutes long, it has a lot of soul built on some epic technology. Mr. Hublot is one of those child like movies that is still endearing to the adult population. The makers here rightly so deserved the award at last night’s ceremony. Not only is it of high technical advancement, but it has the spirit of innocence that will warm your cockles this winter’s month.

A pleasant and brilliant Oscar Winning animated short.

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Short Film

An Oscar Short Mission: Feral

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Oscar Shorts have always had the highest calibre. Last winner Curfew certainly was as provoking as it was tender. This year is no exception and as much as most want to see another Disney short scoop the prize for Get a Horse this year. Sometimes I think I have to be objective in this series because of the admiration of telling a story through a perfectly formed short. But if I had to pop my money on the Best Animated Short Oscar, I’d put it on Feral.

Feral is a film by Daniel Sousa and is almost The Jungle Book-esque and you may be forgiven to think it is a story that has been done too many times. A young boy is raised by a pack of wolves and is found by a man and brought back into the human society. However, the boy finds it hard to adjust to this life style and fit in with humanity. Can he change all he knows in order to find a home with the humans?

Yes, it does sound similar, doesn’t it? But what Daniel Sousa creates is a truly stunning piece of animation that strikes the heart of imagination. Using hand drawn animation, layering it and making it move with the aid of the computer. The animation feels like an oil painting that is sprung beautifully to life. It sweeps with this wonderful textured movements that feel like that hazy dream. Honestly, it captures a soul and makes it soar, tumbling through images and a poignant heart to it. Feral is bound to win gold.

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Short Film

Batman Battles The Terminator in Animated Short

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In his very own words, New Zealand-based filmmaker, Mitchell Hammond is preparing for his next endeavour – Burger King fry cook. Finger’s crossed his tongue was firmly in the same postcode as his cheek there as we want to see so much more of what he has to offer given his latest animated short, Batman versus The Terminator.

Hammond’s decision to pit the caped crusader was always going to find an audience, particularly in the light of the upcoming Superman vs. Batman and Terminator features. After bouts of depression, anxiety and a gain in asthma and IBS through paranoia induced fun, Hammond short came to fruition and is thankfully doing the rounds all over the net.

Set 30 years after the Skynet nuclear blasts of August of ’97 with “Iron demons” now roaming the planet, Bruce Wayne managed to survive by seeking refuge in his Batcave. Equipped with a riot vehicle, called The Stinger, and a refitted bomb blast vest, Batman heads out across what is left of the United States to join forces with the one man we all know will stop at nothing to put an end to rise of the robots – John Connor.

Enjoy the short below. We think you’ll enjoy it ’cos we certainly did!

Original Concept – Tony Guerrero

Original Music – Noir Deco

Animation/Sound Editing/Writing/Directing – Mitchell Hammond

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