The Godfather is a classic, there’s no denying it! But like all mafia based films there’s one thing it’s missing – a gang of frogs running havoc in a gangster’s paradise. Never fear though – Short of the Week has your back when it comes to that amphibious crime-thriller you’ve been waiting all your life for. In Ecole MoPA short Garden Party you’re invited to join an army of amorous, hungry frogs as they rampage through a crime scene and unexpectedly discover who “croaked” it.
“As they croak, I see myself in the pistol smoke” – Coolio
On paper, the synopsis to Garden Party seems ridiculous, but in reality it’s a stroke of genius as rewarding as the gorgeous animation the film is presented in. Essentially a hilarious romp featuring a group of inquisitive, accident-prone amphibians, this 7-minute short avoids hopping down the path of saccharine sweet anthropomorphism (we see all too much in animation) by blending its delicious dark subplot into proceedings. It’s a move that really lifts this short above and beyond a lot of the other films we see in the genre.
Though the clever, unfolding plot was my own personal highlight of Garden Party, it would seem neglectful to gloss over that glorious aesthetic without mentioning it in more detail. From that meticulous opening shot of the frog gliding through the debris-filled pool to that incredibly textured frog rising from the plate of oyster shells, it’s the attention to detail here that truly impresses. It’s not only the frogs that are the carefully considered characters in the design though, the location feels as much of a player in the storyline as any of our long-legged protagonists and if anything it’s the conscientious depictions of the backgrounds that add that extra level to both the aesthetic and that compelling subplot.
Screened in the ‘Horror: Thrilling and Chilling’ programme at this year’s Encounters festival (where it was easily the stand-out film of the session), Garden Party has been impressing audiences and juries at festival worldwide throughout 2016 & 2017. Winner of the ‘Best Graduate Short’ at GLAS Animation Festival, ‘Best Student Project’ at Siggraph and a ‘Special Jury Mention’ at Clermont-Ferrand, this is undoubtedly one of the best independent 3D animation’s we’ve encountered in sometime.