Our Top 8 Independent Animated Videos!

We love independent animated films and we’ll take any excuse to watch more, so it’s no wonder that we’ve settled on them as our topic this week! Most of these will be produced mostly or completely outside of the major film studio system, in addition to being produced and distributed by independent entertainment agencies. We don’t mean to sound like hipsters but you might not have heard of these yet… Enjoy!

Papa by Natalie Labarre

Papa from Natalie Labarre on Vimeo.

We kick off with a real feel-good short about family life, think My Neighbours the Yamadas with a heavy dose of The Powerpuff Girls and you know what to expect. Papa portrays the struggles of an eccentric inventor Dad to relate to his young daughter. All he wants is to make her smile! This may be a little too sugary-sweet for some but we still get a kick out of the expressive characters, hand-drawn style and deliberate, restrained sound design.

Hound by Georgia Kriss

HOUND from Georgia Kriss on Vimeo.

Pooch lovers rejoice, this one’s for you. Hound is a short comprised of a series of abstract little vignettes – sometimes charming, sometimes bewildering, always entertaining. Dogs already exist in a unique space as our closest pets: somewhere between animal and person. This video takes this concept and (with humans firmly in the supporting role) brings this concept to life. The animation is surreal and outstanding throughout, with skillfully composed transitions between each scene offering subtle stylish continuity which is a joy to watch.

Grandma’s Hero by Ben Ozeri & Corentin Monnier

Grandma’s Hero from The Animation Workshop on Vimeo.

Slaying monsters, battling bandits, seizing treasure, all in a day’s work for a hero, right? Well maybe not once your over-affectionate grandma gets involved. Her adventuring methods are, shall we say… alternative. Grandma’s Hero is an endearing short film with smooth animated action scenes set amongst a slew of exquisitely detailed backgrounds. The world develops so much flavour in such a short time and it reminds us of How to Tame your Dragon for more reasons than one! Note that there is violence throughout and some light nudity too so skip this one for the kids!

Symphony No.42 by Réka Bucsi

Symphony no. 42 from Reka Bucsi on Vimeo.

Like Hound, this short is a series of vignettes, this time linked by the theme of the irrational connections between nature and humanity. We love this one because it represents the potential of animation well – you can create anything without the constraints of reality, you’re free to be as abstract, or as surreal as you like! Symphony No.42 is a real emotional and existential journey, buckle up.

8 Balles (8 Bullets) by Frank Ternier

8 BULLETS from L’image d’après on Vimeo.

Playing with your emotions seems to be the aim of many an independant short animated film. Usually this is in a sentimental way in an attempt to be endearing, not here. 8 Balles is a dramatic retelling of a fictional assault on a family. Set amongst unreliable narration and patchy memory, this is an unsettling dream-like transition into obsession and revenge. That being said, we find it utterly compelling. The atmosphere created with stark colour and impeccable sound design is deep and inviting. The textured landscapes seem almost tactile and intermittent usage of mixed media evoke a surprising and uncommon richness. No wonder it’s picked up so many awards!

Slow Wave by Andy Kennedy

Slow Wave from andy kennedy on Vimeo.

We just couldn’t make a list of the best independent animated films and leave out 3D, and what better way to represent the craft than with this immersive, dark and experimental offering from Andy Kennedy. Slow Wave is a visualisation of sorts, an exploration of what happens to your mind and body when you’re disturbed by noises in the night. It is the most captivating representation we’ve ever seen of synesthesia (representing sound visually) and totally pushes the boundaries of what is capable with 3D Maya. Check out more of Andy’s creations on his blog: http://www.andykennedy.net/

Fired on Mars by Nate Sherman & Nick Vokey

Fired on Mars from Nick and Nate on Vimeo.

This is a high-concept, comedic exploration of helplessness and isolation in a corporate environment from massively talented duo Nate Sherman and Nick Vokey. Jeff is a graphic designer on Mars… Well at least he was until that jerk Roger back on Earth ‘re-evaluated’ his role and left him unemployed on the red planet. Fired on Mars is hilarious because it is a relatable corporate narrative made ridiculous amongst a near-future sci-fi setting. This paired with Sean Wing’s genius soundtrack perfectly complements the protagonist’s descent into depression followed by triumphant discovery of how he can find some way to stand up for himself in a hopeless situation. A firm favourite of ours.

Player Two by Zachary Antell

Player Two from Zachary Antell on Vimeo.

If you have a brother you played video games with in your youth then get ready to cry. Heck, I don’t even have a brother and I’m welling up at my desk just typing this! Zachary Antell’s Player Two is a rotoscoped, dreamy, sentimental look into the youth of two brothers and how their relationship and young lives were framed by video games. Antell really taps into the shared cultural consciousness of retro Nintendo fandom from the late 80’s and 90’s, borrowing imagery from The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, Pokémon and more – rendering them abstract and beautiful. We think Player Two is a cracking example of what great independent animation should be – skillful execution, a simple premise and bags of personality.

Got a favourite that we’ve ignored? Send it over! We get loads of our inspiration from decent independant shorts and are always keen for another. Well that’s just about it for this week, now excuse me because I’m heading to dust off my N64…

We love independent animated films and we’ll take any excuse to watch more, so it’s no wonder that we’ve settled on them as our topic this week! Most of these will be produced mostly or completely outside of the major film studio system, in addition to being produced and distributed by independent entertainment agencies. We don’t mean to sound like hipsters but you might not have heard of these yet… Enjoy!