Arts and Culture

On a darkened screen, stars appear, forming a miniature Milky Way. An orchestra swells as a voiceover proclaims: “Alan Brown, the first precognitive homosapien whose research shook the foundations of modern science.”

Cut to a tiny, sunshine-filled kitchen. Alan Brown sits at the table journaling his deeply scientific (or so he thinks) musings; his wife turns from the counter and wishes Alan would come back to earth.

This is a portion of “The Alan Dimension,” one of the 16 inspiring animated shorts that are being shown in the The 19th Annual Animation Show of Shows at the Speed Cinema.

The Animation Show of Shows is a traveling selection of the year’s best animated short films, curated and presented by Acme Filmworks founder, Ron Diamond. It was a way of bringing the year’s best shorts, selected from festivals around the world, to industry professionals who might not otherwise have an opportunity to see them.

This year’s collection of short films is sourced from all around the world and covers a wide variety of topics — though the films really focus on our place in the world in a time of social and political instability.

A particularly deft example of this is the film “Everything” by Los Angeles-based Irish director David O’Reilly. It’s based on a 1973 talk given by the renowned British-American philosopher Alan Watts, which you hear in a voiceover, but on the screen you see the visually stunning video game graphics O’Reilly has created.

The “Show of Shows” isn’t just about new work though. As part of the event’s film preservation program, a recently restored version of the 1964 classic “Hangman,” by Paul Julian and Les Goldman will be shown as well.

Here’s a full list of the shorts in order of appearance:

“Can You Do It” — Quentin Baillieux, France

“Tiny Big” — Lia Bertels, Belgium

“Next Door” — Pete Docter, U.S.

“The Alan Dimension” — Jac Clinch, UK

“Beautiful Like Elsewhere” — Elise Simard, Canada

“Hangman” — Paul Julian and Les Goldman, U.S.

“The Battle of San Romano” — Georges Schwizgebel, Switzerland

“Gokurosama” — Clémentine Frère, Aurore Gal, Yukiko Meignien, Anna Mertz, Robin Migliorelli, Romain Salvini, France

“Dear Basketball” — Glen Keane, US

“Island” — Max Mörtl and Robert Löbel, Germany

“Unsatisfying” — Parallel Studio, France

‘My Burden” — Niki Lindroth von Bahr, Sweden

“Les Abeilles Domestiques” (Domestic Bees) — Alexanne Desrosiers, Canada

“Our Wonderful Nature: The Common Chameleon” — Tomer Eshed, Germany

“Casino” — Steven Woloshen, Canada

“Everything” — David O’Reilly, U.S.

There are multiple showings between December 29 and 31. More information is available here.

Ashlie Stevens is WFPL's Arts & Culture Reporter.