Extend your imagination with international short film animation

Illustration by Dionel De Borja/The Daily Campus

It can be hard to find time to sit down and watch a movie because it’s almost finals season. Luckily, it’s Thanksgiving break, and on YouTube, there are plenty of opportunities to watch animated short films. Sure, Disney and Pixar have their reputation for producing amazing short films, but check out the ones below, animated by creators from Malaysia and India.  

“A Folded Wish” 

According to the YouTube video description, “A Folded Wish” was created by 19 students from Artmoeba Production. The students graduated as digital animation and illustration majors in Malaysia. The animation is based on a Japanese legend called “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.” According to the national park service, Sadako was an infant when she was exposed to the chemicals from the bombing of Hiroshima. She develops leukemia due to the chemicals from the bombing. Sadako is optimistic about her condition and folds origami cranes because it is believed in Japanese culture that if a person folds one thousand cranes, they can be granted a wish. Unfortunately, she later dies at the age of 12 due to leukemia. She is honored in Japan today and commemorated as a child affected by nuclear warfare.  

Animators decided to recreate the Japanese tale into an eight-minute short film based on two twin Japanese sisters who were diagnosed with leukemia. According to “The Art and Making of ‘A Folded Wish,’” the sisters are taken care of by their grandmother and they make origami cranes in hopes of being granted a wish to cure them of the disease. At first, only one of the sisters is visibly sick, but as time goes on, the second sister also becomes sick. While the first sister recovers, she quickly tries to fold a crane for her sister to recover. However, it doesn’t work; the crane rips in half and the second sister ends up dying. It is a very melancholy and tear-jerking animated film and also gives us a peek at Japanese history. The short film is almost solely composed of pictures and background sounds, as the characters do not speak. Although this film did not necessarily involve Malaysian culture, it shows how animators interpreted the Japanese tale. According to the YouTube description, “A Folded Wish,” was an award-winning animation and won the  Rookie Awards in 2020. 

“Tokri (The Basket)” 

Even if you’re not too into 2D animation, the short film “Tokri” is a wonderful stop motion animation that runs about 14 minutes, created by Studio Eeksaurus in Mumbai, India. The story starts off with a family living in a one-room house. Despite the fact they are poor, they are all very happy. One night as the family is sleeping, the father is seen opening a chest of possessions that he values dearly. The daughter saw her father open the chest and is curious about it the next day. So, when her parents leave for work the next morning, she opens the box to find a stopwatch. She accidentally drops the stopwatch and it shatters. She quietly puts the stopwatch back and resumes her day. When the father reopens the chest, he is saddened to see that his stopwatch is broken. The daughter notices this and feels guilty. So one day, she decides to sell baskets to help earn money so she can fix the stopwatch. She stands in the middle of the street hoping someone will buy her baskets, but nobody does. However, later in the day, a man in a car agrees to buy all of her baskets and even offers her a ride to the watch repair shop. She happily waits for her father’s watch to be fixed, but then she realizes that it was all a dream and she is still on the streets trying to sell the baskets. The day eventually goes on and there is still no hope. Towards the end of the film, the father sees his daughter in the streets and forgives her as she cries.  

Directed by Suresh Eriyat, the stop motion short film took eight years to make, according to the YouTube description of the short-film. The film has instrumental and background sounds, but there is no speaking. According to Short of the Week in a feature of this short film, each action of the characters had to be carefully moved by crew members for each scene. Eriyat was inspired to make the short film through his experience driving through the streets of Mumbai one day. He was approached by a young girl selling baskets. He stated that he refused to buy the baskets because often, children in India would be told to sell things by gangs. However, Eriyat mentioned that he felt guilty about that incident and thought that maybe the child could be selling baskets for a good cause. So his inspiration for making this film came to be. The stop motion animation was not only artistically great, but it shows us Indian culture from its detailed renditions of Mumbai to the dressing and movements of the characters. According to Short of the Week, “Tokri” has won 30 festival awards and garnered attention internationally since its release. 

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