The short and the short of it: Spell of the West – birds, a cowgirl and the mysterious Ax-Man

(image via Vimeo (c) Sam Lane)


Who is the mysterious Ax-Man and what is doing that’s traumatising the non-opposable thumb possessing and capacity for abstract thought-lacking birds that inhabit the cowgirl’s isolated cacti farm?

Hint it’s not good and what starts out as three hysterical birds frantically trying to call attention to a serious, ever-growing problem, soon becomes epically catastrophic and the basis, so says writer, director and animator Sam Lane, for a possible series that frankly has all kinds of great Adventure Time vibes about it.

Seamlessly blending some great storytelling, otherworldliness, great music by Diego Gaeta and gloriously irreverent humour that works beautifully to cement a sense of the characters, Spell of the West has some enticing mystery, a delicious sense of removal from our everyday and yet some real heartfelt resonance.

It’s exactly the kind of animated show I would watch, and you can only hope that Sam Lane’s third-year film – he’s a “BFA student studying experimental animation at the California Institute of the Arts”, according to his Vimeo bio – catches someone’s attention and Spell of the West gets the full storytelling treatment it so richly deserves.


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