After a week’s hiatus, this series of short articles about short animations returns with the wildly popular student animation Kiwi! If you have a recommendation of a short animation available online, comment here or tweet at me, and I’ll see if it can feature in a future Weekend Shorts article. For now, enjoy Kiwi! And be prepared to cry.
The thought of a student film may be enough to fill you with dread, and indeed the rather crude (for today’s standards, though it was made in 2006) CGI animation in Kiwi! may not convince you that student films are only there as learning projects as opposed to the chances to make something truly great. Spare 3 minutes though for Dony Permedi’s superb short, and quickly the potential of what amateurs can do becomes very obvious.
The animation is, as mentioned, somewhat simplistic. Permedi is totally successful with the swaying of trees, and the movement of the plucky little bird of the title. But the textures here are flat, the landscapes are blocky, and the Kiwi has black circles for eyes and apparently no feathers. However, the genius of Kiwi! is that it proves that you don’t need state of the art technology to tell a good animated story, and as the three minutes progress, the clunkiness of the animation becomes irrelevant.
Kiwis are, of course, flightless birds, and Permedi takes this idea and begins to ponder whether these birds know this, and whether they wish they could. Taking a story from this one simple idea, he crafts a tale that is undeniably moving, somehow resonating with anyone who has ever dreamed of achieving the impossible, or even just those amongst us who use to long for the ability to fly. Be prepared for crying, as the moment when the bird sheds a single tear of joy, having convinced himself for a moment that he has reached his dream, is an absolute killer. If you are, as with most people, totally emotionally invested in the bird by this point, then you will realise the potency of a good story, and what a film maker can do with only three minutes to tell it.