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GIRAF17 Signal Film

This officially makes it a tradition: We're once again writing about the signal film for our GIRAF animation festival. But can we help it when the films are this good?

A girl with a distorted face holds up a pillbug as an offering

I think this officially makes it a tradition: we're once again writing about the signal film for our GIRAF animation festival. But can you really blame us? Molly Little's stinger fits in perfectly with Sheena Agnew's curious critter from GIRAF16, or the haunted machinery of Saje Damen's trailer for GIRAF13. The signal film is meant to set the mood for the festival, and it's always fascinating seeing the festival through the eyes of a guest animator. The consensus seems to be that GIRAF is a little spooky, a little magical, and maybe even a little dangerous.

Molly Little's signal film packs a lot into its 30 seconds or so of animation. The first shot sets the mood beautifully, the main character snapping to attention with a satisfying secondary bounce to their hair. Eerie lighting and Brock Geiger's soundscape combine to hint at something sinister, followed by a succession of excellent details—the reveal of the terrarium, the warping of the girl's features as she moves, and maybe the best shot of the piece, the offering up of a grub, limbs twitching in front of her saucer-plate eyes.

We're big fans of animators finding subtler ways to work giraffe imagery into their signal films, and Molly does that nicely in the psychedelic tongue, and the pattern on the frog's back. Frankly, it's always been a bit of a ridiculous name (which is not a bad thing), and we're glad to see artists have fun with it.

That's probably enough said about a 30-second film, but honestly, we can't help gushing. It sets the tone for the festival beautifully. Now, make sure to check out the rest of the festival.

dir: Molly Little
syn: A girl discovers a strange secret hidden in the basement.