Welcome to the end of the world. Destination: Cromer, a small seaside town in the UK. In Sholto Crow’s imaginative 4-minute short, simply titled Martin, what starts as a picture-perfect depiction of coastal life in England soon becomes something much more sinister as our hapless protagonist discovers more than he bargained for with his metal detector.
Creating his film as somewhat of a love-letter to the town he moved to at age 13, Crow admits that “even though Cromer gets destroyed in the film, it’s a place which means a lot to me and I wanted to show it in a light it isn’t normally cast in”. And he certainly succeeded. We’ve seen a lot of imaginative locations used as ground zero for the apocalypse, but after watching Martin, I don’t think I’ll ever view UK beaches the same (the worst I ever imagined them hiding was a used condom and the odd dog poo).
And whilst Crow’s inspired premise for Martin is certainly one of the main talking points of his short, for me it was the style of the piece that really impressed. Inspired to create something “beautiful and frivolous”, his aesthetic blends multiple animation techniques to create a style both quaint and grand in equal measures.
Creating the backgrounds for the piece on his iPad on the train and then animating the film in Photoshop, After Effects & Adobe Animate, Crow was pretty much a one-man band on production (he did enlist a friend to help design the robot, but then only used it as the toy robot found early in the film), even composing the music himself.
Unleashing Martin directly on online, instead of opting for the festival route, Crow’s film was almost instantly selected for a Vimeo Staff pick upon release – and it’s easy to see why. Now returning to his shed to embark on some freelance work, lets hope Sholto will enter the short film arena once again in the near future as we’re eager to see what other wonders his striking imagination and style will dream up.