I very recently learned of the BAFTA award winning short film of 2011, The Eagleman Stag; the film was the thesis film of Royal College of Art student Mikey Please, whose MA project had an international premiere at Sundance and went on to win the BAFTA for best animated short film. The short film has just recently been made available to everyone online by Mr Please and it has understandably received a wonderful reception.
It is a fantastic short film, at just under ten minutes, and rather appropriately for a short film, it focuses on the main character’s obsession with the acceleration of time over the course of his life. If you have the time, I highly recommend you watch it (in fullscreen!):
The material used for the characters and most of the 115 separate sets in the film is a strange white foam that was reportedly found in the back of a cushion that appealed to Michael’s artistic vision. In a statement, Michael said ‘I like to leave imperfections, clues in each image that tell part of the story of how the image came to be’ . Animation lends itself to this quality, particularly in independent films because large features with big production values can often become preoccupied with trying to look very slick and realistic. However, The Eagleman Stag uses rough design, cluttered sets and very short scenes to great effect to get across the message about the plight of the protagonist.
Michael worked with his brother Benedict who composed the soundtrack and created the sound of the film. Also featuring as the film’s protagonist, is British actor David Cann who, along with the excellent writing, allows us to feel the angst and existential dread of the main character Peter Eagleman.
This film is another example of the love that people have for the medium of stop motion animation. This technique can be very low budget when it comes to materials and equipment compared to other choices, but the main element of stop motion animation is the time commitment and delicate care required to achieve the desired effect. These factors make it a very popular technique among independent animators and film makers.
The Eagleman Stag has already made some serious headlines in the industry and it looks like it could be the one of the first of many very exciting developments in the career of the talented young Michael Please.
(As an additional extra, here are some exciting shots of the film being made along with more information about the project: Making The Eagleman Stag)