It’s hard to pinpoint the line between Julian Glander’s films for kids and the ones for adults. Maybe there isn’t even a difference. Glander specializes in a 3D world defined by its simple shapes, pastel colours, silly stories and childish characters. There’s a reason he was tapped by Disney to create three different series of “microcontent” for their Disney LOL app — his films are eye-catching, off-beat, and surprisingly wholesome, even at their most surreal.
So why do Glander’s films resonate with such a range of audiences? Maybe the important distinction is that his films are child-like, not childish. They’re full of wonder, imagination and playfulness, and they tend to unfold with the “and then this happened” logic that makes kids’ stories so strangely charming. Shorts like Bloop’s Birthday are way too laid back to have you on the edge of your seat, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t invested.
Skybaby strikes a slightly different tone than Glander’s other films, but it’s clearly part of the same universe. Originally created as a comic and adapted with help from Sylvia Skyy Irizarry and David Kamp, the film takes Glander’s usual aesthetic and soaks it in digital noise and cavernous reverb. Like Kirsten Lepore’s surprise viral smash Hi Stranger, it taps into self-help, positivity and ASMR moods in a way that feels like a parody and the real thing all at once; you can laugh at it, but you also walk out of it feeling calm, refreshed, maybe even a little more confident.
Aside from animation, Glander has channeled his aesthetic into offbeat video games, illustration, even PSAs (sort of), clearly willing to embrace whatever medium best suits a given idea. Which is fortunate for us, because it means a whole variety of ways to enter into his oddly reassuring cartoon world.
dir: Julian Glander
syn: SKYBABY is a short film that I completed with the help of my friends Sylvia Skyy Irizarry (voice) and David Kamp (music).
Officially selected for over 100 billion different film festivals.
Look at clouds. You’re 12.
Bonus: A little less recent, but if you want a glimpse into Glander’s creative process, this 2016 Pictoplasma artist talk is a great start.