The “I Just Got High” Starter Pack
4 SHORTS TO KEEP YOU HIGH-DRATED
Let’s be blunt: If you are currently high, or want to feel high, you’ve come to the right place. These four animated shorts will take you on a journey into ganja-land, like you’ve never experienced before. Dive into trippy dreamscapes, existential philosophy, and hypnotic sounds to satisfy every craving (apart from your mouth-watering munchies). For topics of alternate realities, human nature, alien microcosms, to coming-of-age, we’ve got you covered.
1. THERE WERE FOUR OF US
Director: Cassie Shao
Enter a psychedelic dreamscape that is surely meant to leave you thinking about the philosophy of reality and the alternate nature of death. Shao wanted to make a short film about death (after the death of her grandfather) and based this short on a dream in which four people (‘suspects’) sit in a room and must confront the question: “who did it.” In a beautiful twist, they find that they share a common experience with death and loss. This dream serves as the structure of the film; however, rather than commenting on death as a sorrowful, dark experience, Shao plays with death as a curious state of alternative, psychedelic realms filled with erratic shapes, muffled noises, and bright colors. She accomplishes this using an eclectic style of mixed-media (digital and analog), 2D characters, 3D graphics, pastels, paint on glass, and even sand on glass. We are able to perceive death from a distance, through deliciously original hypnotizing imagery. In the same way that weed opens your senses, this film will open your mind.
THERE WERE FOUR OF US was chosen as the official selection at the 59th Ann Arbor Film Festival and the Vienna Film Festival 2020. Shao has directed over 11 animated works.
Director: Jonathan Schwenk
Watch SOG for a more intellectual experience that will challenge your perspective on violence, the limits of evil, and the intricacies of man versus nature.
Jonatan Schwenk describes this animated short as a story “about the cruel efforts of a people of humanlike creatures that lash out viciously against a shoal of fish that had unintentionally entered their desolate land.” Black bobs with human-like extremities ‘‘own’ the land and have no mercy for a school of stranded fish who wail and cry incessantly. The sounds of screeches alone will transport you into a world of skin-crawling evil and prickling disturbance. The human-like black bobs end up taking extreme measures to get rid of the fish’ shrieks, annihilating the fish by a fierce fire. The overall sense of malevolence and discomfort is amplified by grainy sounds, subdued textures, and grayish hues. However, in the end, a charge of rain takes its revenge on the evil creatures. And at the whims of nature – of storms, mountains and vast lands– what are we really? Perhaps just black blobs with mini-extremities. By the end, you’ll be questioning the difference between this sci-fi and reality, and the blurred line between survival and destruction.
Since debuting in 2017, Sog has screened at over 120 festivals in nearly 40 different countries, and picked up 31 awards at last count. (Including the European Animation Award from Encounters, Best Student Film at Stuttgart (ITFS))
3. WHEN THE MOON WAS GIBBOUS
Director: Erika Grace Strada
A gentle walrus-like giant, penis-shaped trees, and blood-thirsty humans in yellow space suits. Need we say more? Animator, Erika Grace Strada, invites the viewer into a surrealist alien microcosm where one peaceful creature gets interrupted from his mellow daily life by a small group of humans determined to conquer him. In the face of violence, the creature chooses indifference and slowly fades into the ocean sunset. Sounds of pinging echo throughout the film, akin to the popping sounds of a pinball machine. We are left questioning whether we are watching a sci-fi video-game or a surrealistic dream. At its core, this film challenges the nature of human beings in the face of the unknown. Will we always choose violence?
This is Strada’s first film. Her film won the Argo Student Awards for ‘Best Sound” in March 2021.
4. DEER FLOWER
Director: Kim Kangman
DEER FLOWER is a film about the rocky road our parents often lead us on to speed the process of growing up. Set in a geometric universe, an elementary student goes on a road-trip to the farm with his parents to taste a rare and expensive flower. This rite-of-passage to manhood (according to his parents) turns sour as the boy suffers from bad side effects. Do our parents really know what’s best for us? What are the consequences to succumbing to their demands? Mary Jane may help you untangle the ugly side of having overbearing parents.
DEER FLOWER has been featured in over 30 festivals nationwide, including the Melbourne International Film Festival where it won the SAE Best Animated Short in 2016.