The short and the short of it: Have Heart and the existential crisis of an animated looping GIF

(image via YouTube (c) Will Anderson)

Will Anderson’s latest Have Heart, a humorous and relatable tale of a looping animated GIF in the midst of an existential crisis, has already charmed live audiences worldwide and is now looking to blow a few minds online. With a healthy festival run throughout 2017 and early 2018, Have Heart has received critical acclaim with a “Special Jury” Award at the London International Animation Festival and a nomination for the 2018 British Short Animation” BAFTA (Anderson already has one BAFTA for his film The Making of Longbird and another nomination for Monkey Love Experiments). (synopsis (c) Short of the Week)

Life take its toll.

What was fresh and interesting becomes tired and mundane, a creeping sense of ennui that we can’t quite put our finger on and to which we ascribe all kinds of quietly desperate reasons for being such as “I’m just tired” or “I’m stressed”.

Multi-awarded Scottish animator Will Anderson knows just how it feels, pouring an entirely relatable “same shit, different day” sensibility into his whimsically serious short animated film, Have Heart, which he made on his commute from Edinburgh to Glasgow, and which he wondered, when he talked to Short of the Week, might have an interesting time of it when it was released online.

“It’s a challenging film I think. Its over 12mins, so it’ll be interesting to see how it goes online, particularly as it’s talking about, and testing what our attention spans are these days. In terms of how audiences view them when making, I guess I assumed that with this it would be for online first actually. But as the film grew it became more clear that I wanted it to be viewed more cinematically”.

Anderson needn’t have worried because as you watch Have Heart, which is frank and honest about burnout and the existential crises that often accompany it, and you see how real the struggle is for the protagonist duck, whose schtick is to fall part and regroup ad infinitum, there is an instant relatability to how real that sense of having lost your mojo is (and how weird it can be having it play out in the digital surrounds of social media with everyone’s-a-critic watching on).

We are all, for want of a better word, caught on the great treadmill of life, and watching how the protagonist gamely tries to carry on and fails – nothing to be ashamed of there; keeping all those balls in the air when you can’t find the energy to juggle anymore is tough – and how he is supported with love and understanding by his partner is just beautiful.

It hits home in the best possible way, brought vividly to life by animated that is luminously gorgeous even as it packs a solid emotional punch.

Find out more about this beautifully affecting film.

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