In a world saturated with new technologies, constantly changing the playing field within the animation industry, it’s refreshing to find something that not only resembles a style of ole but also offers a charming story and set of personalities that feel vaguely reminiscent of TV characters from my youth. Like an odd couple vying for the most annoying spot in each others’ lives, "Life with Herman H. Rott" gives us a rat-cat music loving duo that are anything but normal. Herman is a black rat, large and in charge - a dirty, rough-edged smoker with a penchant for rock music. One day, a quite clean little classical music loving white cat, dainty and meticulous, waltzes through his door with everything she owns, changing his entire world. A battle of space, music, personality and dominance plays out, resulting in an animalistic comedy of errors battle that builds up until it explodes in a very human way. Maybe rat and cat are not so different from each other or from us, eh? Hand drawn on paper and shot with a photo camera, all of the coloring here was done digitally, giving the animation a sort of mid-century, cyan faded film look. There’s a dreamy edge to the film - everything communicated with music and their dueling styles. In that way, the soundtrack is a third character, bringing life to our two characters and filling the void between them with something a human audience can connect with. Something else humans can understand? Well, according to Estonian filmmaker Chintis Lundgren, the rat and cat are stand-ins for how humans function in unhealthy relationships, seeking out the bad guys, forcing them to change, and then moving onto the next challenge when there’s nothing left to manipulate. The nice guys finish last, isn’t that what they say? What doesn’t finish last is this film. A pure gem and true winner deserving of all the medals and accolades it has earned on the festival circuit and online. A funky little animation with a heart of gold and an unexpected ending well worth checking out!
Foley Artists are, sadly, often forgotten in the grand scheme of looking at the final product of a film. But when breaking down its construction, we often realize their role is quite magical in a way. Short documentary film "The Secret World of Foley" follows foley artists Pete Burgis and Sue Harding and creates a whimsical, quirky little portrait of them at work. From using clay to mimic the sound of fish to tinkering with all sorts of knick knacks to create everyday sounds, this doc is an enlightening watch for film lovers and everyone in between! Check out more about the sound magicians at work here.
One of my favorite guilty pleasure documentary filmmakers, John Wilson, was hired to follow musician David Byrne on a tour and make a film. Simple enough, right? Well, at the last moment, he decided to make something a little bit different than what was expected of him. The result? “Temporary Color”, a short, whimsical and strange little creation that takes a look at the behind the scenes of the event.....and more. Be warned, it's not so straightforward - this is a story that often steers so far away from the main topic, you aren’t quite sure what you’re watching by the end! But boy is it enjoyable in the quirkiest of ways! Wilson’s crazy documentary repertoire is worth checking out here. From advice on how to act on reality TV to how to remain single, the humor may or may not work for you but it’s so easy to appreciate with its cool, stylistically stripped down look and feel. Hand-held camera work, clunky editing, bad focus, and terrible audio quality all lend "Temporary Color" a throwback quality that gives a big middle finger to the polished films of today. Look at it as a short, more fun version of the Ross Brothers' recent documentary, "Contemporary Color". Convicts, music, sad musings and the film industry are all laid bare in this ridiculous short film absolutely worth the watch!
As all of us over at Indie Street are quickly gearing up for the approaching first ever Indie Street Film Festival, you could say that the past few months have been filled with the discovery of an onslaught of creative, innovative films that we look forward to sharing with you all in July! However, the desire to continue finding gems online from the recent festival cycle never runs dry. This is why I was happy to finally stumble across the release of UK-based filmmaker Simon Cartwright’s bizarre black comedy “MANOMAN”. The award winning, BAFTA-nominated filmmaker has created a unique mix of rod marionette puppets and traditional animation to compose a hilarious yet dark narrative about Glenn, a shy little guy attending a scream therapy class in order to find his inner “man”. Unfortunately, the primal nature of the class quite literally forces him to unleash something deep within himself he wasn’t expecting to find - something immoral and slightly sociopathic that knows no boundaries. With “MANOMAN”, it’s all about embracing the mix of weirdness and technique to appreciate (or not!) another side to masculinity. From puppet private parts, sexuality, psychopathic actions such as murder, suicide and even a choir of men singing beneath a rainfall of something unexpected, the echoes of these strange, primal screams might leave you feeling like you too have something hidden deep within yourself, waiting to be unleashed. Let’s only hope it’s not as short, hairy and barbaric as Glenn’s darker, “manlier” side. Random and bizarre, “MANOMAN” will leave you laughing even in its darker moments. Cartwright made the film while attending the National Film and Television School in the UK and is now teaming up with another fellow NFTS graduate and connoisseur of the bizarre and animated, Nina Gantz. There’s a weird, bright and animated future ahead and Indie Street can’t wait to experience it! Like this film? Check out more free, animated shorts online now!
While best film lists are always a subjective thing, there are still tried and true classics you can always count on falling somewhere within every film lover's list. Last year, BBC Culture put together a list of what they believe are the top 100 greatest American films of all time and it’s a pretty legit list of the usual suspects as well as a few surprises. Though the BBC’s list is already a year old, a 7 min supercut video has just surfaced that runs through every film by compiling them into a curated, themed A-Z list - that's 100 films profiled in only 7 minutes! It’s worth checking out if only to see the diversity of films that America has produced throughout the years. Give the video a watch and check out the full list to see how your favs stack up.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Or so they say. But what if the key to both your survival and inevitable death were...your own words?! What would you say? This is the internal battle that talented filmmaker Andrew Chaplin attempts to show us in his brilliant, witty new short film "1500 Words". With an exceedingly inventive premise, the plot of "1500 Words" focuses in on Stanley as he copes with the fact that, like a disease, he has been diagnosed with only 1500 words left to live. What happens after word 1500 is spoken? Well, no surprise here: he will die. Playing with the concept of terminal illness, this film, while still rather dark, creates something ironically humorous that you can't stop watching. It's like a psychological soap opera into the waning moments of one man's sanity in his final days...final days he accidentally brings upon himself because of his five stages of grief: anger, desperation, thirst, suicide and resignation. His final tipping point? His desperate attempt to make sure, not only his life, but his relationship with his wife stays going as long as possible. How can he logically explain and exist while also saying as little as possible??Sure, it sounds like serious fare, but Chaplin delicately transforms this concept into the most unexpected but fitting form of black comedy. It'll definitely have you thinking: What would you do if you only had 1500 words left? What would you say? Find out how Stanley copes with his diagnosis and watch the film now! Love this film? Be sure to check out some more of the best free shorts on the web now on Indie Street!
Happen to be a video editor as well as a super intense or nerdy video gamer? Looking for a new way to make your editing more like the thrill of gaming? Well, you’re in luck! Editor Casey Faris has created a tutorial teaching you how to program a PC game controller to be compatible with Adobe Premiere Pro! Even if it’s a bit of a ridiculous concept, this could be a rather fun way of shaking things up and combining two different hobbies and/or passions. If you’re a video editing nerd or just a curious gamer, watch the video tutorial and read here for more info.
Ah, the millennials. Young, confused, stuck in a digital world and yet still full of such wanderlust. This is a generation that not only sees life through the rectangular screen of an iPhone. They also want to see the world - a world they believe will finally “get them” and allow them to be who they were destined to be. Sure, sounds silly, but I’m sure we all know someone that has accepted this philosophy as their own - and with no humility. I, myself, know of two acquaintances that have just recently quit their jobs and will be traveling into the unknown (AKA Europe) for the unforeseeable future (1-2 months). Gotta give it to them. Escaping reality is fun and we’re all a little jealous of the balls it takes to figure that out. Yet, sometimes, even in your greatest fantasy, reality comes rearing its ugly head. Case in point for actress Cari Leslie’s character Meredith in “Rest Stop”, a hilarious yet eerily real feeling short comedy by award-winning filmmaker Kate Herron. The short follows a birdlike, hyper backpacker, Meredith, as she takes a short selfie and milkshake break at a dirty old British service station somewhere in the middle of her “life changing” trip around Europe. During what she thinks is downtime, she meets a mysterious man that claims he's her guardian angel and finally gives her direction to find meaning in her life. At least that’s what her naivety tells her. Little do we know, Meredith is so desperate for that meaning, she’s willing to gobble up any information that will help her on her path towards the rest of her (apparently short) life. Unfortunately, people aren’t always who they say they are, which gets our innocent little selfie snapping, blog writing Meredith into a bit of a pickle. A range of expressions from our two characters simply glows under the dimly lit rest stop, and a simple set up leads to a great looking film with emotions that actually feel vaguely familiar. If you enjoyed the sharp humor of “Rest Stop”, good news! Herron and writer Monica Heisey are currently working on a feature length version of the film. Hopefully, the film will elaborate on our annoying yet lovable protagonist and pick up where it left off - on a journey into the wittiest unknown. Be sure to get onboard that adventure beforehand by watching the hilarious, short festival favorite now on Vimeo! If you enjoyed “Rest Stop”, be sure to check out some more of the best shorts of the web!
Surreal, abstract, experimental, trippy, otherworldly - there are many words you can use to describe Réka Bucsi’s 2014 Oscar shortlisted animation, “Symphony no. 42”. The animated short showcases 47 different scenes that attempt to observe and portray the irrational interplay between humans and nature. As her ambitious and successful graduation film, the 10 minute mini-journey into an absurd world where animals and humans connect and disconnect is, like a symphony, a masterpiece and ode to something far greater then the visuals on screen. The dozens of seemingly random scenes feel as if they’ve been composed as a whole, and when “performed” together back to back, they make something bizarre, often funny and always profound in some way you can’t quite put your finger on. Beautifully animated with pops of deep, saturated colors, Bucsi’s film simultaneously feels as if it is about our whole world as well as nothing at all. An existential journey where foxes shoot themselves and penguins sing, you can watch the surreal adventure now online. And stay tuned for her newest piece “Love”, which is currently traveling the festival circuit now! Like this film? Be sure to check out some of the best shorts on the web!
Filmmaker (or in this case, Editor) Jacob T. Swinney’s recent supercut, 100 Years/100 Shots, is a pretty amazing compilation of some of the most memorable shots from the past 100 years of cinema. This montage of iconic moments in film history just screened as part of the Tribeca N.O.W. segment at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. From “Birth of a Nation” to “The Wizard of Oz”, “Citizen Kane” to “Psycho”, “Jaws” to the recent “Mad Max: Fury Road”, many incredible moments are displayed in Swinney’s impressive cut - moments ingrained in most film lovers' memories. Check it out and see how many of the iconic scenes you recognise from our evolving century of film!
Throughout the past decade, we have seen a massive explosion of new breweries and new brewing experimentations happening within the craft beer scene in America. Beer. It’s delicious. It’s everywhere. And who could complain? Over at Indie Street, we certainly are seeing (and enjoying) the advantages to this new world of endless liquid creativity. In fact, along with the growth of craft beer potential, we are also seeing an influx of inspired new filmic endeavours. While Thomas Kolicko’s “Crafting a Nation” is one of quite a few fascinating, beer-centric documentaries to pop up over the past couple of years, Kolicko’s film is unique. It’s an interesting project because, more so than focusing on the actual beer, it focuses on the stories of the people behind the brew. And not just one story is chronicled, but dozens are told from across the country. Over 40 breweries in the US are featured, from ones just starting up to some of the largest craft breweries like Schlafly, Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada, to name a few. Despite the impressive roster, the primary focus of the film rests on chronicling both the progress and setbacks of two brothers, their dream and the successful opening of their own place, the Black Shirt Brewing Co. in Denver. As we “brewery hop” across America, we constantly return back to their inspiring story. Like finding a new favorite amongst the sea of thousands of new beers, Kolicko’s film stands out because it’s not just about shoving beer-related facts down our throats - it’s about the more personal, more human aspects behind achieving your dreams and following your passions. And well, the beer gives it even more bonus points. So grab a cold one (or two or three…etc.) and give this week’s inspiring VOD feature a watch!