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Every Deer in the Headlights Will Know How This Feels

Award-winning short film 'The Divide' depicts the disconnect between humans and the environment.

by Beckett Mufson
May 22 2016, 11:30am

The Divide is a charming short film from LA-based animator Brent Sievers. With a chaotic, refreshing 2.5D animation style, the filmcivilization and the natural world. By juxtaposing the lives of dogs, snakes, and deer against the hectic pace of the 21st century grind, Sievers imagines the many ways in which modern conveniences can be incompatible for wide-eyed and unsuspecting critters. 

Hand-animated in Adobe Flash, Sievers' 2.5D animation style is optimal for painting the chaotic divide between nature and human society. Sievers tells The Creators Project, "I wanted to create a disjointed feeling with the things in this animation as if the world and its systems would collapse at any moment." When human characters are waiting in traffic as few as three rudimentary shapes convey the emotions on their faces, reducing the feeling of being stuck in traffic to its basest blankness. 

In contrast, the simple, roiling eyes of deer embody the innocence inherent to the natural world. Says Sievers, "Inspiration came from a number of places including the very kinetic animated work of Christopher Hinton and Norman McLaren. I also took some sound and thematic cues from the film Walkabout and Terry Gilliam's work." In this way, the film's exaggerated aesthetics coat each scene with expression, commenting on the difficulties of human expansion while simultaneously providing perfect cues for slapstick. Set against a cacophony of violin sparkles from Marty Tzonev, and tribal didgeridoo vibes from Tomas Brown, a.k.a., Didgespiral, the resulting short film has never made the human/animal divide more apparent. 

The Divide earned many film festival accolades. Check out some stills from the captivating short film below:

Visit Brent Sievers on Vimeo for more ani-mazingness like The Divide

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