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owl_poster_blog.jpgWho loves short shorts?! I love short shorts! I mean, short…films! The AFI Film Festival is NOT as uber-conservative as I had once believed. Don’t get me wrong, the mass of filmmakers, actors, the red carpets along with the random Audis everywhere could have fooled me, but even you fine, fine Racket readers can find something to love. Alongside movies like Until the Light Takes Us, a flick about Norwegian Black Metal (brutal!) to the previously-reviewed Gogol Bordello Non Stop, I was pleasantly surprised to come across a series of animated shorts ranging from Titmouse’s lovely little wildlife “documentary” about vengeance, wilderness style, to spiders and spacemen set to AIR’s song “Run”. I’ll give you the low-down on the top few. For those of that didn’t make the cut, here’s a tip: Poorly overdubbed photographs of two dudes in an apartment, and techno-abortion static set to text-reader on demo mode do not count as legitimate animation in my book. Eff you.

The Hidden Life of the Burrowing Owl opened up the series, and set the bar high. What do you expect from the people who make Metalocalypse? Crap? I don’t think so. Good job, Mike Roush, good effing job! Wonderfully animated style, great narrator, and a truly epic finale. By far my favorite entry of the lot!

Cutecutecute: completely wrong, and completely amazing! Child-abuse and baby seal clubbing were never more adorable. You feel bad humming along, but you can’t help yourself.

Passages was amazing, even if it was in French. Well, French-Canadian if there’s a difference. A story of childbirth full of complications and sadness, makes me feel exceedingly comforted that I was born with an XY chromosome. You know what this woman went through must have been that much more terrifying in real life. Animation is always associated with Saturday morning cartoons and things like Beavis and Butthead, but this managed to evoke a sense of sincere crushing dread, which made me feel, what do girls call them? Oh, that’s right: emotions.

Teat Beat of Sex: odd, quick, surreal, story of an Italian girl’s first time. Also, funny as hell. Signe Baumane’s amusingly effed up childhood. Bizarrely animated, and full of thick accents and lots of fondling and make-outs. Hells to the yea! To all you Racket peeps young and old, bookmark AFI.com and pay attention to next year’s lineup.

-Jonathan Yost and Laura Gaddy