Swedish claymation short, I Am Round

My Pick for Cinequest Best Animated Short

by Greg I. Hamilton on March 3, 2012

OK, so nobody asked me, but I think I saw all, or almost all, of them last night, and I have my favorite animated short film in this festival. As always, animated shorts feel like they fill an important space in independent film. This is where subtleties of the human spirit, too complex and deep for real actors, can finally be portrayed by a higher talent. A stick figure or a lump of clay.

I Am Round had our sold-out theater laughing from the opening title card. At once personal and universal, like a Melissa Etheridge love song, this film speaks to all the round pegs who are pressured to spend their lives in square holes. I recall the classic Warren Miller line, which appears in our own film showing here at Cinequest today:

“Buildings are square. People are round. So get outside.”

I hope Mario Adamson, the filmmaker of I Am Round, gets plenty of chances to see how packed-house audiences respond to his film. This is where it’s at: enough humor so it’s safe to laugh. Enough reality that you catch yourself laughing when no one else is. And you don’t care.

View the trailer on YoutubeWithout giving away any spoilers, let me say this film was so over-the-top campy that it’s hard to take seriously. Then I began to suspect that was the point and the film is more a challenge to viewers than it is the literal telling of a story. It’s a parable. The audience must write their own ending. Or sequel. Or whatever.

But lest you think the film leaves you hanging (again without spoiling the ending) I will say that our audience gave a collective gasp and sigh at the end, along with a strong ovulat—err, ovation. Whether that closing sigh was one of relief or sympathy you’ll have to discover for yourself.

How to do that? It shows again tomorrow. And if it wins here at Cinequest, it’s automatically qualified for an Oscar (the first step toward shortlisting then nomination). That would help. As someone who has worked to gain audiences for animated shorts through projects like Don Hertzfeldt and Mike Judge’s Animation Show 3, I know this is an under-appreciated and far under-distributed art form. I guess I’m doing my part to share it with you.

Thanks for reading. Cheers,
Greg

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