We like to think that here on Short of the Week we know our audience pretty well and we like to think we know the kind of things you’re expecting when you come to our site. With that in mind, there’s no way we’d be featuring a 30-minute short unless it was something special and Takahide Hori’s Junk Head 1 is exactly that. Winner of the prestigious ‘Best Animation’ award at the 2014 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, Hori’s ambitious Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror/Comedy (you decide!) is an epic stop-motion short featuring one of the most complex on-screen universes you’re ever likely to witness in the genre.
As the title-card at the beginning of the film informs its audience, Junk Head 1 is somewhat of a labour of love for creator Takahide Hori. Created over a 4-year period, in his spare time, with no budget, Hori has managed to invent a world of weird and wonderful creatures with some outstanding character design that seems to resemble the creatures you could find in the on-screen worlds of Henry Selick or Clive Barker. Not only did Hori manage to create his film without any assistance, except for a few cuts where had somewhere do some CG work, Junk Head 1 was his first experience of stop-motion (although he does have a background in doll and marionette making), with all of the filmmaking techniques used throughout his film self-taught.
Creating a complex backstory for his universe, where humans take to living underground due to the global environmental destruction that has made the planet unlivable, Junk Head 1 is a film with a narrative as intricately detailed as its outstanding aesthetic. At 30-minutes in length, we know this is a big ask for an audience used to watching shorts a third of that length, but trust us, it’s not often something like this comes along – it’s really worth your time.
Unfortunately it looks as if Hori was unable to fund his attempts to make a sequel for Junk Head 1, but if you interested in finding out more on how Hori went about creating his incredible vision, check out his Facebook page, which acts somewhat of a production blog for the project.