Featured Animated Short - ei: emotional intelligence

"As E.I. units, we are doomed to love."  Poignant words from the narrated thoughts of an artificial lifeform. But in "ei: emotional intelligence", filmmaker Dennis Sungmin Kim's first year film at the University of Pennsylvania, we aren't just dealing with the simple concept of artificial intelligence. No, this is about something much deeper than that - going beyond what you would expect from the normal concept of A.I. on film. "ei: emotional intelligence" is a seriously impressive feat that succeeds so beautifully within its uniquely delicate animated style and story. And how does it manage to stand out? By injecting the A.I. concept with something novel yet really, very simple: emotions.  Representing far more than robotic and lifeless technology, this animation follows the story of Arthur and his female companion, two E.I. units - AKA Emotional Intelligence units - that try to live and feel beyond the confines of their created existence. Going a step further than their otherworldly IQ's, mathematical way of thinking, and futuristic, virtual landscapes, their story plays out like a love letter to humankind and where we may be headed. And it does so in such a honest way, with words building a world around the colors and lines of sweet, colorfully stylistic animation. Complementing the impressive gadgetries of A.I. are real emotions - the ones that challenge us, make us weak and eventually give us strength.  Like a rhythmic poem or a finely crafted classical tune, "ei: emotional intelligence" relaxes its viewers through its narration - covering a wide spectrum of thoughts and feelings along the way. We promise you those feelings will keep echoing long after the last frame. With his pulse on great personal design and unique narrative style, Dennis Sungmin Kim's ten month endeavour turned into a first year film that ) he should be extremely proud of and ) you should watch right now!  And while you're at it, why not check out more of the best short films on the web! 

Featured Short: Face Your Fears in Stop-Motion CANIS

In case you live under a rock, Halloween is fast approaching. Don't have any costumed adventures planned? Well, what better way to celebrate than by curling up in the dark and watching one hell of a scary film? Surprise, getting into the Halloween spirit doesn't always have to involve the same overly produced horror films, gory 80s cult classics, or regurgitated Hocus Pocus nonsense we've all come to know, love and overdose on. Leave the overdosing to sugar consumption and try something new this season in the form of the dark and twisted stop motion short, "Canis". Be prepared: once you watch this short, its images will stay with you long after viewing. An award-winning animated film by duo Marc Riba & Anna Solanas, "Canis" is a puppet-based stop motion about Teo, a boy who tries to survive while isolated in a house constantly under attack by a pack of unrelenting stray dogs. Though there's plenty of understated gore and violence embedded within this wild dog tale that is sure to whet your appetite for nightmares this Halloween, this is also a smart story that goes way deeper than shallow, pointless bloodshed. "Canis" takes you on a dark journey into a world you don't wanna be in but can't look away from, forcing you and the character to face fear head-on. The degree of animated talent on display behind this nightmarish world of brutality, animal abuse, death and isolation makes sure its a lesson you won't soon forget. Riba & Solanas took 15 months to complete the intricately produced film and were inspired by the stray dogs that roam European streets. This isn't surprising as the bleak nuances and subtle storytelling devices that bleed through the narrative foundation recall grim centuries-old European tales. Remember that next time you're taking a stroll and see some furry friends. Yes, dear reader, I dare you to watch this film and not feel some surprising mix of discomfort and awe. Let it play out like a grainy fairy tale that shouldn't exist and yet does. But remember, watching comes at a cost - a brutally emotional and visual one. If our protagonist is able to face his fears within this grim, post-apocalystic world out to get him, will you be able to face yours? Welcome to the beautifully twisted black and white world of "Canis". Don't forget your nailbat on the way in - things are gonna get a bit hairy...with a bite. Watch the must-see short film now! Like what you see? Check out more of the best short films available now on Indie Street! 

The Evolution of Stop-Motion Animation in Film

The title for this one speaks itself! If you're interested in how animation techniques have evolved over time, you gotta check out this fascinating visual history of stop-motion animation in film. From the magic of the silent era all the way to the jaw-dropping usage of stop-motion today, watch as technology shapes one of the coolest methods of animation out there. You can read more about "The Evolution of Stop-Motion" project here.

Featured (Throwback) Short: (notes) on biology

Oh, great! It’s Monday again. How did that happen? Since we are already feeling a bit nostalgic for the weekend, we thought we would carry that feeling through and do a little throwback for our featured short this week! And since we are already rewinding the clock back, we might as well feature a film that also incites a sense of nostalgia, too. Danny Madden’s “(notes) on biology”, winner of the 2012 Best Animation Award at SXSW, recalls those boring, lazy days spent in high school, diverting your attention towards anything other than the droning voice of your teacher. However, in “(notes) on biology”, this particular day is anything but boring. Doodles and flip books help one student totally escape into a world created through his own imagination, far from the dull clutches of his Biology class. A variety of animated styles "draw" us into this daydreaming adventure of chaos and robot elephants, making class actually seem like something worth attending. If only it was always this fun to recall sitting through Biology class on a Monday morning, we’d be dreaming about those awkward teenage years all of the time! Let’s throw it back to the good ol’ days of classroom antics by watching Ornana’s totally fun and clever little award-winning animation. Enjoy this hearty double dose of nostalgia and watch the short here!

"MANOMAN": A Bizarre Tale of Primal Masculinity

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! 

Animated Van Gogh Film to be Made Entirely from Paintings

With iconic paintings like The Starry Night and a reputation for being a tragic, troubled man, Vincent van Gogh holds a special place in Western psyche. Now the artist and his legacy will be explored and reimagined in modern times as the subject of a new feature length animated biopic. The film, titled 'Loving Vincent', will take a new, unique approach to animation. The catch? Each frame of the film will be made entirely of paintings in the style of van Gogh. We're talking tens of thousands of paintings! Directors Dorotea Kobiela and Hugh Welshman have brought together an army of over 100 painters to tell the artist’s story, based on his personal letters and artwork. Not only will we have a chance to explore his life but we will get to take a unique look at his work in moving image splendor. Breakthru Films, the production company behind Oscar winning short 'Peter and the Wolf' (2006), will help bring this epic feat to completion. For more information and updates on the ongoing project, hop on over to its Kickstarter page and watch the official trailer.

Students Reinterpret Muybridge’s Iconic Galloping Horse

In the late 1800s, British photographer Eadweard Muybridge set out to settle a bet for the Governor of California. The Governor insisted that at a particular point of a horse's gallop, all feet are off the ground simultaneously. Muybridge succeeded in capturing a horse galloping by using 24 cameras triggered by trip wires. The Governor was proven right. Now animation students at Carnegie Mellon University are being inspired by this 100+ year old footage by reimagining it. From Burger King ketchup to aliens and unicorns, their reinterpretations do not disappoint. The technique they used is called rotoscoping. This is when an animator traces over film footage, frame by frame. Used often in cartoons from the 1930s, CMU students are putting a refreshing twist on the old technique by bringing iconic, pioneering footage to life in a whole new way. Check out the totally cool interpretations of a horse's gallop here!

Featured Stop Motion Animated Short: "Los Rosales"

Winner of the Young Director Award at Cannes 2015 and Best Animated Film at the 2014 Palm Springs International ShortFest, filmmaker Daniel Ferreira's mini robotic masterpiece "Los Rosales" is an ode to the strength of survival. This beautifully animated and scored debut short film follows the tale of a humble, solitary robot that exists within a repetitive cycle. As he turns wheels and cogs all day in order to procure his only means of survival, he soon finds a way to break free and feed his heart instead.Ferreira's elaborate usage of stop motion animation helps him to create a new and strange little world that is unlike many others on screen. Made using cardboard, scrap computer parts and wire, he turned old things into new possibilities. Do yourself a favor and check out the film here and while you're at it, why not check out the special making of video to learn more about the process behind the creation of this world.Be sure to also check out more of the best animated short films on the web here!