ANIMAZE 2015 - Notable picks from the 'Nature and Humanity' block

From magical human-morphing polar bears to blazing indigo-hued birds, scary vines that spontaneously grow on their own, to dismantling a gigantic plate of solar panels, the diverse selection from ANIMAZE’s Nature and Humanity block invites you to sit down and explore your imagination in looking at the fast-changing world of Mother Nature from a different perspective. While all of these selections are captivating in their own right, here are some notable pieces that grabbed our attention:

'Wrapped' from Germany

We may feel like big shots at the top of the food chain, but we often forget that there’s a wide world out there.

Put together by Roman Kaelin, Falko Paeper, and Florian Wittmann and originating from Germany, Wrapped may look like a short four-minute long piece about rapid disintegration and metamorphosing rebirth into a completely different world of lush greenery, but don’t underestimate the powerful messages that it carries along in the jaw dropping animation that blends in urban life and the power of nature to bounce back from the ashes.

There comes a time where humanity are at odds with Mother Nature’s surprising comebacks. We see this happen in the form of natural disasters, calamities, and other unpleasant things that happening around our backyard and elsewhere in the world. Indeed, it is a reality we all face.

Wrapped is a scary yet ominous narrative-less tale that reminds us that while we stand mighty - we’re simply just a small and simple speck of dust.

'The Orphan and The Polar Bear' from Canada

The Arctic has a ton of great stories that are just waiting to be shared. This one is definitely no exception and it will absolutely warm your heart.

The Orphan and The Polar Bear is inspired from an oral indigenous Inuit tale of an abandoned young orphan who gets adopted by an elder - who actually happens to be a polar bear in disguise. Directed by Neil Christopher, it is an animated short hailing from the northernmost Arctic territory of Nunavut.

Despite its simplicity in storytelling, there are many complex details that makes this story special. It gives off a very comforting feeling of how winter is like in the North - almost bringing home a sense of longing and nostalgia. It does a great job of bringing in the steady paced and visually pleasing mise-en-scene of the illustrated chapters. On top of that - listening to the authoritative yet soothing narration voiced by Johnny Issaluk may even feel like a throwback to the days of elders sharing bedtime stories in the middle of the bitter cold.

But while you may enjoy the rich colors and finesse illustrations seen in this eight-minute long piece, it also elicits a sense of reflection on how we live and learn together hand-in-hand with other creatures. After all, who could deny of the companionship and wisdom of polar bears?  

This eight-minute long northern journey reminds us that no matter where we are, we’re never alone.

'Glisse 581' from The Netherlands

How would you feel if you were asked to abandon a huge life-changing mission you have worked hard for all your life? Would you take the bailout offer at the expense of leaving your friends, family and perhaps even your sanity?

Glisse 581 is a science-fiction miniature melodrama that is half-animation, and half live-action, and it was put together as a graduation project by students from The Utrecht School of the Arts in the Netherlands. Set in outer space over 200 years old from now, the story revolves around the leader of a complex space mission to discover a new planet similar to Earth.

And what is the nature element here? The infamous final frontier that we all know that is space.

What makes this film impressive is that it is able to put science fiction and reality in a perfect balance that it literally sucks you into the adrenaline action of making to the destination and the emotional impact it brings on the sole explorer. The entire plot was orchestrated with accuracy that at first glance you would think you’re watching a Hollywood movie. You wish it was, but in fact it’s a little more than a half-hour long.

This film gives us a simple life lesson that stands true to all of us back on earth, never give up for your hard work will pay off.

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