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Danger Island

A couple of british poachers explore undiscovered islands in search of the fabled Moth Owl, in this animated tribute to old b-movies.

0 – 5 | 2013 | Adventure | Mixed Media | Travel | USA

A couple of british poachers set sail to explore a string of previously undiscovered islands in search of the fabled Moth Owl.  The wilderness that awaits them is truly hostile: giant spiders hide in the dense vegetation, and finding the mythological bird will not prove easy. Their chance meeting with the owl, however, will be a game changer,  and the adventure story will turn into a kind of weird sci-fi b-movie.

This radical and unexpected twist in the story finds its meaning within the narrative and stylistic economy of this experimental animation: just like the initial travelogue log with echoes of the adventure novel turns into science-fiction, the same way various animation techniques alternate and overlap continuously.

This makes this short something unique. The two directors Ryan Gillis and Andrew Malek fluidly mix different animation styles, ranging from stop motion to digital animation to 2D, color and black and white, also including photographs and still frames. Styles changes along the story, from pencil sketches to an interesting mix of designs and real objects that is so reminiscent – both narratively and visually – of the great b-movies of the 40s-50s. Spiders and giant bird-insects, wildlife, laser beams and sudden twists … everything reminds of the great age of genre films, starting with the work of Harryhausen.

Danger Island is a collaboration of Gillis and Malek (responsible for the stop-motion), two American animators  who have documented the long process of making the film on this blog.

The next work of Ryan Gillis, Palm Rot, will be presented in competition at the next edition of the Sundance Film Festival in January 2015. Here you can see the trailer.


Flavia Ferrucci

Flavia Ferrucci

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