Winter’s Blight, a gorgeous stop-motion short film made in Dunedin, plays as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival’s Animation NOW! section. Directed by Claire Campbell from Shine On Films, the 14-minute story follows a reclusive old man living alone in a forest, saved by the very cycle of life he nurtured as a young boy.
As seen in the making-of video below, an intense amount of mahi and research went into the construction of the film’s wilderness setting and its lead character. From the slabs of timbre that cover the house to the whispy grey strands of beard that frame the old man’s mouth, it’s beyond satisfying to watch Shine On Films’ delicate prop-building process. You can only imagine how chuffed they would have been seeing their world in motion for the first time.
That’s the beauty of stop-motion animation—it moves real things that shouldn’t be moving. It’s the purest of illusions, one that favours human ingenuity over computer imagery, and we can count ourselves lucky that we get to see one from Otago on the big screen.
Kiwi filmmaker Max Woodward also has a film playing in Animation Now! 2019 and I was lucky enough to see it ahead of its screening.
His sumptuous two-minute short Trumpet-Trompette is a lovely, soothing blend of music and motion—the kind that makes you snuggle into your cinema seat. To go super-nerd on you, it reminded me of a chilled-out version of Jazz Orgie, one of my absolute faves from Animation Now!.
The worlds of jazz and animation have orbited each other for a very long time and I think Woodward has made a worthwhile addition to that rich history.