Watch the Annie-Nominated Film The Story of Walls

The gorgeous and thoughtful Annie-nominated short, The Story of Walls, is now viewable online. Director Pete Oswald worked with an all-star crew that included Animation Director Noor Mohammed, Storyboard Artist Andy Suriano and Chris Reccardi who provided the amazing background layouts. The Flash-animated film is “an absurdist history of trade protectionism,” that was animated at Badmash Studios. You should also check out the Badmash series Doubtsourcing.

8 Comments

  1. It is sad to see antisemitic drawings here. The Jewish caricatures are an obvious visualization of antisemitism. The killing of Jews in Israel began long before the wall. If you learn history you will find that the Arabs in Israel were counting on the Nazis to do the job for them. (http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_mandate_grand_mufti.php) That is beside showing the Jews as aliens landing in “PALESTINE” (which was named like that by the Romans and not by Arabs! It was called Israel much before.)
    And finally did you notice walls that were not mentioned in this movie? Like those made by the Nazis to separate the Jews? to lock them? to kill them? NO! I wonder why. Maybe because Mohammed is the animation director..

  2. I’m not sure about this alleged anti-Semitism, but either way, this animation was amazingly crafted and beautifully designed. The story (whatever the message you may take away from it) is undeniably skillfully told.

    And Yoni, just so you don’t misunderstand me, I’m not denying anything you’re saying, especially since my own knowledge on the topic is next to null. It sounds like you know what you’re talking about and this is a subject you’ve got strong feelings and a firm grasp on. All I’m saying is that you might be reading into a message that isn’t there. But then again, maybe I am too.

    I’ll totally admit that there was some extremely blatant stereotypes being used here, but it wasn’t just the Jews being poked at. Every ethnicity depicted in this short was about as narrow-minded of a representation as possible. I was definitely a little shocked by some of it, and yet, I can’t help but think that the creators were being simply naive or bigoted. In fact, I almost feel like they knew exactly what they were doing.

    There are two reasons I feel like they might have been making a point with the use of these stereotypes.

    The first, if you look at the style of the animation, the backgrounds and, above all (and most pertaining to our discussion), the character designs, they’re all very 1950/1960’s. I don’t claim to be an animation historian, but I believe that many (if not most) of the western animation studios during these times were fairly ignorant (and sometimes downright racist) in many of their works. This was obviously wrong back then, and it’s still wrong today. But I think that the choice to use this style of animation, stereotypes and all, was intentional – not to be malicious, but to acknowledge the past, and how we’ve continuously screwed it up.

    The second reason kind of stems from the first. To me, the whole focus of this animation seemed to be to discuss why our different cultures and societies feel the need to rope ourselves off from one another. I felt like it was trying to illustrate how we as the human race choose to define ourselves by our differences and blow those differences out of proportion in order to take advantage of those who aren’t part of our pack.

    I feel that this main idea – of deciding our enemies and allies based on cultural and geographical differences – makes the use of these stereotypes highly relevant to the conversation. It doesn’t make the stereotypes themselves appropriate, but they’re used to make a point. Stereotypes are born from preconceived ideas we have about people who are not us. They’re blown out of proportion and irrational, as is the emphasis and importance we place upon them. I may be projecting all of this onto the film, and the creators might have been saying something completely different, but the message I got out of it was how we must be more open and accepting of each other, lest we drown in our own isolation and paranoia of losing our identity.

    Long ramble, I know. Sorry about that. And Yoni, let me know what you think. Maybe I’m missing something important you picked up on.

  3. I am utterly amazed by the beautiful layouts and incredible animation. The film has a really powerful sense of style and brings back so much good stuff from old animated cartoons.

    I’d love to see what this team can make with a better story though.

  4. Well Matthew, thank you for your respond.
    I think many movies lately are having problems with content while the art and visual are very professional. You can see it in Oscar nominated short animations every year. I was disturbed by the movie because of that. because it was so well done.
    I think there is a line between using metaphor and stereotypes and being just flat. As an Israeli I see it happens all the time, How hard it is to explain the true nature of what really going on here. As an animator I understand how hard it is to express abstract ideas in a movie. This movie told more about hookers than about walls. I am against walls but I cant ignore the many lives of Israelis saved by the wall. I think nations should learn to leave one beside the other. I think ignoring differences will not get us there. Look at the liberals in Europe how they look at Muslims. How hard it is to be a liberal when you no longer know who you are. What I am saying is this movie haven’t dealt with what it was meant to. I think it happened because it dealt more with caricatures than real politics, real dilemmas, and above all – real people.

    in spalms it is said:
    “May him Who does peace in the sky, Make peace in us.”
    AMEN

    yoni

  5. Well Matthew, thank you for your respond.
    I think many movies lately are having problems with content while the art and visual are very professional. You can see it in Oscar nominated short animations every year. I was disturbed by the movie because of that. because it was so well done.
    I think there is a line between using metaphor and stereotypes and being just flat. As an Israeli I see it happens all the time, How hard it is to explain the true nature of what really going on here. As an animator I understand how hard it is to express abstract ideas in a movie. This movie told more about hookers than about walls. I am against walls but I cant ignore the many lives of Israelis saved by the wall. I think nations should learn to leave one beside the other. I think ignoring differences will not get us there. Look at the liberals in Europe how they look at Muslims. How hard it is to be a liberal when you no longer know who you are. What I am saying is this movie haven’t dealt with what it was meant to. I think it happened because it dealt more with caricatures than real politics, real dilemmas, and above all – real people.

    in psalms it is said:
    “May him Who does peace in the sky, Make peace in us.”
    AMEN

    yoni

  6. The character design and overall look of this piece is just drool-worthy. Awesome stuff!

  7. chuck May 6, 2010

    this is an amazing design and the animation is beautiful. the messege is verry simple and touches everyone who has a wish for freedom and peace and i love it.
    yet i was verry much disturbed by the way the jews were characterised in this film. as for being a secular jew, who belives deeply in peace, and in the solution of two contries, palestinians and Israelits, side by side,
    the way of showing the jewsih people in this film, even for a milisecond, as almost antisemitic stereotyps of an orthodocs jews pulled out from darker days,
    rocket men, that comes in a storm from nowhere, lands in “palestine” and push away the simple ,lovable palestinian family beheind the wall, with an evil smile full of sharp teeth,
    just leaves u with a bad taste in u’r mouth and a bad feeling in u’r stomach.

  8. I really do not get the idea of trying to bring the antisemitic subject into anything that criticizes Israel’s actions or the current situation in Palestine/Israel or whatever name you find in the version of history you decide to go with.

    EVERY population in history has its own drama, Arabs, Native Americans, Jews, Aztecs, Bush-mans EVERYONE!

    I am not educated when it comes to history, I don’t think that history is neutral, however, this I know: this small of land Palestine/Israel was at peace before the Jews from Russia, Poland, Germany and East Europe countries moved in and used force to exist including military actions against other countries like Egypt, Syria and Lebanon.

    Please do not get me wrong, I am not saying that Arabs are victims, they are as stupid as anyone else who thinks that any land is theirs and no one else has the right to it.

    I am just so pissed whenever the Antisemitic subject is brought on over and over again even if it is NOT relevant.

    Instead of bringing a subject that has more than 50-60 years history to it PLEASE work for a peaceful future or even better, a peaceful present!

    “And the Germans killed the Jews, and the Jews killed the Arabs, and the Arabs killed the hostages… and that is the NEWS…” Roger Waters.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>