Short of the Week


A young pyromaniac bear misses his mother in this Sundance and Ottawa favorite.

Great films make you think, make you feel, and show incredible craftsmanship. Stephen Irwin’s Moxie hits on all of these telling the story of a destructive, drug-fueled, mentally disturbed bear who did a “bad thing” and spends a week coping with the death of his mother. Stephen’s common theme of a corrupted innocence appears again as the young bear struggles with heavy issues beyond his control —a tragic seed cultivated by a lonely world.

“It’s very hard to live nowadays.”

We first featured Stephen with his short The Black Dog’s Progress which earned a spot on our year end favorites in 2009 and have been fans of his work since his short Dialog (2005). Moxie shows an evolution in Stephen’s distinctive black and white style by experimenting with film footage to provide a layer of depth. It’s a tricky technique to seamlessly blend live footage with flat, cartoon-inspired animation but can produce amazing results when done well as it has in Don Hertzfeldt’s Everything Will Be OK and Joseph Pierce‘s upcoming The Pub.

Stephen has been in the animation game for awhile, and Moxie feels like a culmination of many things. It has the epic feeling of an opus (like David OReilly’s The External World) complete with an operatic score and grand statements like “It’s very had to live nowadays.” Moxie has spent the past year at over 80 of the biggest festivals (Sundance, Ottawa, Annecy). The only challenge with such a grand film is how to follow it.

Andrew makes no attempt to hide his love for the magic art of animation. He appreciates compelling visuals but never forgets that in this modern age, a strong story always reigns supreme. You can see his work at or his latest film The Thomas Beale Cipher.
  • Cory Lance Gunz Gaskins

    WHAT WAS THIS!!!!!!??? This was pretty shocking. I guess that’s a good thing though…… Very different.

  • James McNally

    Very evocative, and although some of the more “shocking” moments felt a little puerile, overall I found this really strong. There’s enough mystery and melancholy here for a much bigger film, and the technique was really different and interesting.

  • Enid cohn

    This film just create a hole in my stomac.