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We can’t wrap our heads around this strangely beautiful animated short

We’ve seen plenty of short films about divorce and separation, but we’ve probably – correction: definitely – never seen a short about someone who wants a divorce from his own head.

For his graduation thesis at Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy for Art and Design, filmmaker Stav Levi created a surreal five-minute animation called HEAD. It tells the tale of a disheartened man who bafflingly decides to get rid of his bald noggin, leading to an unfortunate and irreversible consequence.

It may seem absurd, but by the end of the film, viewers will oddly find themselves yearning to know more about the character’s story following the separation. As Levi explained to Booooooom:

“The principle was simple: A man separates from his head. But will it bounce, fall into the abyss, accidentally drop or thrown in anger? Every option resonated with me, and still does.”

HEAD recently finished its two-year festival run. It was screened in over 50 events worldwide, and received several awards such as ‘Best Short Animation Award’ at the Jerusalem Film Festival, ‘Best Animated Short’ at the European Film Festival, and ‘Best Animation Award’ at Defy Festival.

We managed to get a hold of Levi and did a quick interview with him about HEAD. Take a look below:

HEAD was a festival favourite. What does that actually mean for the short film in practical terms? More dollars? More exposure? Any opportunities come on the back of the festival run?

“Haha, I’m still wondering about that. I can’t say it was a favorite, as it was rejected from 80 percent of festivals applied, and from almost all the major animation festivals.

“I think it was persistence, or stubbornness, that allowed the movie to find a home in sometimes smaller or specialized festivals, and once in a while a major one. The most practical thing about it for me was the test to see how it would do, and it told me a lot.

“Of course, it is also useful to have something to show as success in the real world, but the same can be achieved by a handful of top-grade festivals, one major award, or viral amount of views online.

“Money-wise I pretty much broke even, so it definitely didn’t mean profit. Theoretically, it did mean exposure, but without knowing who it was exposed to or what the reaction was, it remains quite theoretical.

“My favorite thing about the festival run, by far, was the opportunity to be invited to these events and travel with film itself. The experiences and the people I’ve met have been worth the whole thing. I traveled to five different festivals, I wish I could have gone to more.”

What is it about ‘classic animation’ that particularly excites/inspires you?

“The ability to express yourself directly through drawing. As far as animation goes, that is as direct as you would find. Also, the constraints of having to recreate each frame forces so much attention to be used that even the failures are fascinating.”

Of all the festivals HEAD screened at, was there a particular personal highlight for you?

“Anim’est in Bucharest was made with so much love and attention, and so much respect to the artists that the atmosphere was just ideal as a visitor. I’m trying to say I had a lot of fun.”

Where did the idea for the short come from?

“Just keep picking at this image of the head falling off. It seemed to trigger something in me that seemed worth exploring and see where it takes me. The first image I made was of the character being so gloom and heavy that the head just falls off into oblivion, another image was of the head being bitten off by a lover. They all seem right in a way.”

You can find out more about Stav Levi and his filmmaking here.