New for this year’s Sony Future Filmmaker Awards is the Animation category. Introduced to embrace filmmakers using animation techniques, entries to this brand-new category can be between 2 to 20 minutes in length. We pick out six must-see animation shorts that encapsulate the genre.
In 2023 there’s been one animated short that’s become known as the trailblazer on the competition and festival circuit. The Hungarian filmmaker Flora Anna Buda and Miyu Productions present 27, a 2D short looking at the sexual fantasies of Alice. Still living at home and dreaming to escape her everyday life, her mindset shifts after a serious accident. Scooping prizes in the Annecy Animation Festival, including the Cristal for a Short Film and Best Original Music Award for a Short Film, 27 also made it to the top in the 2023 Cannes Festival Palme d’Or. Check out the creator Flóra’s dynamic website too for some inspiration.
More than I Want to Remember
This is a compelling child refugee short created by director Amy Bench with animation director Maya Edelman. A celebrated cinematographer, Bench has now directed two animated shorts - both look at people seeking ongoing asylum. More than I Want to Remember tells the true story of Mugeni and her memories of when her home was set on fire by a local militia in the Congo. In the aftermath of the attack, Mugeni recalls how she was completely alone and at 14 years-old sets out on a solo journey across the world. The pacing of the narrative combined with the emotive visuals make this a sobering watch.
Nun or Never
A quirky illustrated short by Finnish filmmaker Heta Jäälinoja, Nun or Never tells the story of a group of nuns melted together in harmony. One particular nun loses her grip on everyday life after finding a man in the garden and digging him up. Finding herself following a different rhythm from the other nuns, she wonders if secrets and harmony can coexist. A surreal story combined with dreamlike imagery makes this otherworldly arty short an eye-opening and mind-bending viewing.
Released back in 2016, Alexa Lim Haas and Bernardo Britto’s charming short Glove still feels ultra contemporary in its slick storyboarding, witty narrative and lighthearted approach to communicate a poignant message. Written by Britto and animated by Lim Haas, the short is based on the true story (wait for the footage at the end) of a glove that’s been floating in outer space since 1965. We also appreciated the excellent choice in music.
An Ostrich Told Me the World is Fake and I Think I Believe It
Director Lachlan Pendragon cleverly blends the ‘real’ world with stop-motion to create this unexpected short. An Ostrich Told Me the World is Fake and I Think I Believe It depicts the story of a young telemarketer being confronted by a mysterious talking ostrich who reveals the flaws of living in a stop-motion universe. is stop-motion. 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.
One short to look out for - The Spider Within: A Spider-Verse Story
A slightly different choice for its larger budget and wider distribution but the narrative in The Spider Within: A Spider-Verse Story is something we feel would appeal to independent filmmakers worldwide. Directed by American filmmaker Jarelle Dampier, this 7-minute short shares the story of Miles Morales who experiences a panic attack that forces him to confront the manifestations of his anxiety and learn that reaching out for help can be just as brave an act as protecting his city from evil.