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Take A Trip Over The Lonely Seas In Animated Short Film "Cruising"

Combining different animation styles to tell the story of an almost-fateful vacation, Zachary Zezima's short shows off a promising new animator.

Being stuck on a family vacation is an activity the likes of which few unpleasantries—standardized testing and getting your wisdom teeth removed notwithstanding—can compare. We've all been there before: alone, surrounded by legions of obnoxious adults who "just don't get it," and kids who are just plain different, no matter how you slice 'em.

Incidentally, these exercises in frustration and isolation are exactly the kind of situations that allow your mind to run wildest. Recreating an almost-fateful cruise trip out of careful combinations of hand-drawn animation, videography, and stop motion animation, Zachary Zezima's first year short film for his MFA at CalArts, Cruising, is the perfect ode to the feeling of being surrounded by people you know and love, yet totally alone.


Says Zezima, "The 'true story' behind this film comes from my own experiences of anxiety during a family cruise, as well as my fantasy of jumping overboard in order to escape. That fantasy came close to reality, but a well timed bellow from a very nearby fog horn snapped me out of it!" Zezima claims his experience was enlightening enough that, upon being invited by his parents on a second trip, he jumped at the opportunity to compile research for his short film.

"From conception to completion, it took about 6-7 months," he told us. "The first two months were conceptualizing, story boarding, and designing. Then 4-5 months of animating and working with a sound designer/musician. This film also utilizes many different kinds of media, from video and stop motion light painting, to hand drawn and Photoshop animation, all of which were composited together in After Effects." The resulting animation is as intimate and personal as it is universally psychedelic, the perfect concoction to display the talents of promising young storyteller.

One thing's for sure: we've never been more thankful for a ship's horn.

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