Journey through a world of mosquito armies and nocturnal predators in this action-packed animated short by Ecole Les Gobelins graduates Max Maleo and Aurélien Prédal. A roller-coaster ride through subway tunnels and across train roofs, BATZ is the tale of an improbable friendship between two bats (in case the title didn’t give that away) – one a mosquito loving carnivore, the other a cowardly vegetarian flying fox – this is a short that takes all the tropes of the buddy comedy and applies them to the world of our winged odd-couple.
Created by Maleo and Prédal, a pair of animators who first met and worked together whilst studying at Ecole Les Gobelins back in 2006 (you can check out their Gobelins short Burning Safari on Vimeo) and produced by the industrious Kawanimation team, the initial idea for Batz originated when Max was working on Madagascar for Dreamworks. Although the narrative of BATZ isn’t the most complex, what it lacks in plot depth, it more than makes up for in visual style and good old-fashioned fun. Described (by Aurélien in a Kickstarter video) as a “way to create some animated illustration, trying to keep the charm and richness of the drawing while it is animated”, the aesthetic aim of BATZ seems geared towards capturing the magic of 2D animation, whilst employing the efficiency of 3D. Though it may seem at times like BATZ is just a visually-stunning action-sequence designed to turn the heads of industry-types, there’s no denying the adrenaline-fuelled fun it dishes out in its energetic 7-minute run-time.
We always try to aim or focus here on Short of the Week on a narrative-first approach, but it’s important to remember that short film, like all other types of filmmaking, should also be fun. At times this story-centred emphasis can mean the site is in danger of getting weighed down with gritty dramas and heavy subjects – so hoping to inject a huge dose of merriment back into our catalogue today and lighten the mood a little…ladies and gentlemen….we give you BATZ