Fantastic Fest brought back its “Drawn and Quartered” animation showcase on Monday after a six-year hiatus, and it was worth the wait. The event featured 10 animated shorts from around the world, half of them premiering in the United States. Of those 10 shorts, here are The Daily Texan’s top five.
5. Routine: The Prohibition
Spanish director Sam Orti delivered stop motion with new heights in his film “Routine: The Prohibition,” which combines a steampunk aesthetic with narrative commentary on class struggles and pollution. When those in power are in need of oxygen in an oxygen-deficient world, they resort to the tried and true method of disseminating propaganda among the poorer masses, guilting them into giving up what little they have. Ultimately, sacrifices are made.
“Routine: The Prohibition” says a lot with few words, emphasizing the trash-covered setting and character actions. The character design is quite crude, but it fits the bleakness and ugliness of the world in which they reside.
4. Homo ErecTattoos
Coming in fourth, “Homo ErecTattoos” by South Korean director Tae-woo Kim is a black and white illustrative look into the life of an injured Korean soldier.
The fuzzy animation style feels like watching the static on an old television set, wonderfully emphasizing the darkness and messiness of the soldier’s journey to recovery. Kim’s use of the soldier’s point of view, looking up at the doctors from his hospital bed, evokes a lot of sympathy for the main character.
The creative animation, though dark in hue and imagery (there’s a lot of skulls), shares a story of perseverance and adaptation, one that’s applicable to many of today’s struggles.
3. The Shawl
Although Sara Kiener’s “The Shawl” premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, it’s a refreshing addition to the “Drawn and Quartered” lineup. It’s sassy, satirical and punchy. And it’s voiced by a lively gay couple who play themselves.
“The Shawl” is all about how Shane O'Neill and Dusty Childers saw Stevie Nicks in concert. The animation shamelessly follows each interruption and tangent, illustrating the flow of the conversation in royal blues, sunshine yellows and pungent magentas. Each still feels deserving of a spot in a museum for its unabashed yet tasteful use of color.
2. Thin Blue Variety Show
This dark comedy uses incredible stop motion to discuss the glorification of TV and movie cops. Directed by Gretta Wilson, “Thin Blue Variety Show” uses the clothes of fictional detectives as characters. It pokes fun at the simplicity of cop shows and makes references to popular titles, such as “Law & Order.”
The short is fast-paced and witty, disguising inevitable chaos and the ugly truth beneath the iconic outfits. It’s a must-watch, especially given the ongoing attention on police misconduct.
1. A Night in Camp Heebie Jeebie
The best short was Dylan Chase’s “A Night in Camp Heebie Jeebie,” where Girl Scout ghost stories turn into real-life nightmares.
The film, which premiered in Texas, skillfully jumps between 2D and 3D animation styles while each girl in the Girl Scout troop tells her own ghost story. Some tell stories about a monster or serial killer, while others describe the horror of giant desserts and contracting cooties from boys.
In a normal world, these would just be silly stories, but not at Camp Heebie Jeebie. The girls quickly learn, in a highly comedic fashion, that the villain in the story depends on who is telling the story.
The cherry on top of this uber cute and entertaining animated short is that it has its own campfire song during the credits.