Welcome everybody to the Wild Wild West! David Stumpf’s fun animated short Cowboyland takes its audience on a whirlwind tour of an old West town overflowing with sex and violence. Featuring a jailbreak, a bank robbery, a shoot-out and a horse chase Stumpf’s 5-minute short packs in all the action you’d expect to find in a feature-length Western and a whole lot of laughs too.
Following a criminal as he rather fortuitously breaks out of jail and proceeds to take advantage of all the town he finds himself in has to offer, Cowboyland serves up an action-packed narrative, steadily supported with an impressive black-and-white hand-drawn aesthetic.
“Most of the ideas were based on my notebook, full of drunken cowboys, naked women, bandits, and hens”
Originally given the brief of ‘animal dressage’ for a school project at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava, Stumpf decided to turn this theme somewhat on its head by creating what he describes as an “anti-dressage” about a drunken cowboy unable to realize the steed he’s trying to ride is actually a child’s wooden horse. “Since I had little time to prepare, so many things were improvised and I handled them step by step”, he reveals. “Most of the ideas were based on my notebook, full of drunken cowboys, naked women, bandits, and hens”.
With digital 2D animation his usual method of animation, Stumpf decided to challenge himself with Cowboyland and create his drunken cowboy narrative by animating with pencil on paper. With production taking 6-months – 4 months animating, 1 month coloring and scanning and 1 month of post-production – the director admits the process wasn’t without its problems. “After the first version of the film was finished, I was not happy with it”, he says. “It was too long and unclear. So I made some changes, I cut of lot of animation off and reanimated some things”.
Well, whatever you did in that recut David, it definitely worked. Cowboyland is a grin-inducing watch that borders on the realms of being family-friendly (if you ignore all the sex and violence!) and it’s a pure joy to watch from start to finish. Now about to start production with Michaela Mihalyiova on new short film The End, if the trailer is anything to go by this bizarre story of Noah and a hard-to-solve love triangle with his wife Eva and a widowed Deer should be another fun watch. You can follow updates on this latest film on Tumblr.