It is no secret – we love short stories that transport us to a world or situation which engages and entertains us. Doesn’t really matter if it is dramatic, comedic, romantic, or, in the case of Evan Mann’s film today, absolutely bananas.
Voyage of the Galactic Space Dangler tells the story of a spaceman on a mission to explore a distant planet, who makes contact with a Neanderthal man. If that perhaps sounds like a straightforward sci-fi then probably it is better if I describe it as being 2001: A Space Odyssey starring The Mighty Boosh and directed by Terry Gilliam. Having previously worked solo and in more experimental pieces, this was Evan’s first narrative piece, although truth be told the film is not a massive leap away from his abstract roots.
The film draws in concepts of advancements of technology versus the life experiences of those first humans, and the colonization of native people. Using these to form a narrative where the underdog is given a fighting chance, and the limits of technology are made clear. Well…reasonably clear. I won’t pretend this is a strong traditional narrative, but Evan and his team create a world that may well be absurd and bewildering, but it is also funny, entertaining, intriguing, and engaging – a world we enjoy being part of and want to spend time in, whether it makes sense or not!
A big part of this working is how tangible the world is. For sure much of it is ridiculous, but it somehow all works within the film’s own (nutty) logic. More importantly the use of practical effects and stop-motion animation give the sense of a real place, of a real situation. This element of the film working so well is by design, as Evan tells us: “it is important to me that everything in front of the camera be grounded in reality, and having a sculptural background, I really enjoy making props and objects from everyday objects. In the film you will notice q-tips, tampons, a motorcycle helmet, a record player, a nerf gun, and other familiar objects. It was my goal to re-contextualize the objects and transform them into the unfamiliar.”
Voyage of the Galactic Space Dangler is certainly on the abstract edge of what we normally feature on Short of the Week, but the sheer weight of ideas, techniques, and imagery combined with the fascinating and comedic world it creates means it was one we really loved and were excited to share.
Evan’s next ‘project’ will be a little different from this film – he will take a small break as he and his wife are expecting their second child any day now! In the meantime you can see more from Evan on his Vimeo channel (below) or his website.