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Review: The We Are One Festival’s Shorts For Families Curated by Annecy Film Festival

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BY June 8, 2020
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Annecy Film Festival Shorts For Families is part of the We Are One Film Festival. The festival was the first of its kind to feature a program encompassing multiple festivals from all over the world for a virtual experience. With the world on lockdown due to COVID-19, We Are One is a global film festival to raise money for those affected by the pandemic. The festival ran for 10 days from May 29, 2020, to June 7, 2020. The Annecy Film Festival curated their own programming for the fest, one of which was the Shorts For Families.

We Are One: A Global Film Festival

Currently, the threat of coronavirus COVID-19 has affected industries all over the world. The film and entertainment industry has been just as affected, with there being a complete shutdown on production of new content. The effects are being felt in film industries all over the world. Many Film Festivals cancelled their events, not to mention film productions and releases as well. Filmmakers rely on these festivals to showcase and sell their movies to distributors or streaming services. Luckily, some festivals and conventions, like Comic-Con 2020, are going virtual as a workaround to the pandemic. 

Similarly, the We Are One Film Festival came about as a means of still providing filmmakers and content creators a platform to showcase their work. Partnering with YouTube, the festival debuted countless films from all over the world, for free. The Annecy Film Festival from France is a festival that features some of these animated works. The Shorts For Families program at the We Are One Festival features three family-friendly short films that are sweet, funny, and incredibly well done. 

Bird Karma Is A Frantic And Hilarious Take On Consequences

Annecy Film Festival Shorts For Families Bird Karma. Image via Annecy Film Festival.

The first animated film in the Annecy Film Festival Shorts For Families program is Bird Karma. The 4-minute movie is about a long-legged bird fishing for food in a pond. Having had his fill of the regular fish the pond has to offer, the bird becomes fascinated by a different kind of fish. The bright and colorful fish dips in and out of the bird’s reach, almost teasing him. The mystical fish ends up brightening the bird’s life with its rainbow streams and magical qualities. In the end, the bird still ends up eating the fish, despite the magic it brought to its life. But it’s too much for the bird to handle as the fish’s colors infect it and it keels over into the pond. The other nearby fish devour its body. 

Bird Karma is a cute-at-first but quickly-turns-dark type of a short film. The karma aspect is right on point as it teaches a great lesson about actions having consequences. It’s a perfect cause-and-effect type of cautionary tale aimed at younger audiences. 

Annecy Film Festival’s Shorts For Families Features Bilby As An Allegory To Parenting

Annecy Film Festival Shorts For Families Bilby Image via Annecy Film Festival.

Bilby is the next movie in the Annecy Film Festival Shorts For Families. The 8-minute movie is probably the best I’ve ever seen on parenting. The story is sweet, hilarious, and ultimately moving. The short is about a bilby, a type of marsupial from Australia. It opens in an Australian dessert, as the bilby is attempting to forage. Surviving many attacks by the other predators that reside in the desert, the animal finally has time to gather his food. However, when he comes across a helpless and abandoned baby bird alone in the desert, he becomes emotionally invested. Against his better judgment, he protects the baby bird a few times from the other predators. But his conscience doesn’t allow him to leave it alone to fend for itself, and he ends up protecting the bird risking his own survival in the process.

In the end, he accepts his role as the bird’s protector, as the story ends with the bird all grown up and able to provide all the fruits the bilby could ever want. Watching this short, I went through all the motions of being a parent. The frustration, irritation, constant sacrifice, and the protective instincts that come with all those feelings as well. The short film takes audiences through a wild journey full of funny and shocking moments. Ultimately, Bilby perfectly captures the essence of being a parent despite its short runtime. It’s an accomplishment on the part of the directors to be able to evoke such emotion in such a short time. 

Marooned Continues The Self-Sacrifice Theme At The Annecy Film Festival Shorts For Families

Annecy Film Festival Shorts For Families Marooned Image via Annecy Film Festival.

For the next film, we go into outer space. The story is very Wall-E-like, about an abandoned robot on Earth’s moon. All alone and trying to get back to Earth, the robot frantically designs a ship to take him home. While scavenging for parts, he finds a smaller robot, who he brings to life using his only power source. Bonding with the small robot, the two build a spaceship to go to Earth. However, when it’s completed the first robot realizes that he used his only power source to bring the small robot to life. The short ends as the the robot uses his own power source to send his smaller friend back to Earth in the ship he made. 

The message of Marooned is the same as Bilby, but a lot more heartbreaking. It’s about sacrificing one’s own desire for the ones you care about. And this time, it’s done through the eyes of an artificial being. Robots who do not speak always seem to invoke emotional reactions from audiences. Be it the aforementioned Wall-E by Disney, or R2-D2 from the Star Wars franchise, they always make us fall in love with them. Similarly, Marooned uses a lonely robot who has a very deep desire to return home, and shows us how a machine can also be capable of love and sacrifice. 

The We Are One Film Festival runs until June 7, 2020, on YouTube. 

Did you get a chance to check out the Annecy Film Festival Shorts For Families? Which short was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below. 

MoviesAnnecy Film FestivalBilbyBird KarmaMaroonedWe Are One Film Festival

Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.

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