Oscars 2018: Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata's animated short 'Negative Space'

Negative Space/ikki Films 

"Negative Space"
is a short animated film that was created by Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata. The duo is based in Baltimore and has directed short films, TV commercials, music videos, and comics. "Negative Space" is their fourth professional film and it was produced by Ikki Films and Manuel Cam Studio in France.

"Negative Space" is a beautiful 5-minute film using handmade stop-motion animation that is actually based on a 150-word prose poem by Ron Koertge. It's about a father-and-son relationship through the act of packing a suitcase. The father travels a lot and the only thing that he and his son have in common is packing. He teaches his son how to pack the perfect suitcase.

The son (now an adult) reminisces about how his father taught him and how his father would praise him when he would pack his father's suitcase perfect. From what I got from it that's the only way that the father could show his love.

For those who get a chance to watch "Negative Space" are lucky. Like stated before the animation is beautiful, but the story is hauntingly beautiful. With just five minutes you will be feeling all kinds of things, especially with that gutwrenching ending. I personally didn't ever read the poem by Koertge so wasn't sure where the story would lead. I loved how suitcases were used as a metaphor too.

What's also interesting was reading the production notes. Not only is "Negative Space" based on a poem, but director  Ru Kuwahata was inspired by the message because her father was an airline pilot. She remembers growing up and the images of her childhood are her father's packing list pinned to the wall of his study. Also for those who are interested, you can watch the "Making of" by clicking here. 

The producers of "Negative Space" are Nidia Santiago and Edwina Liard. The set decoration was created by Ru Kuwahata, Marion Lacourt, Victoria Tanto, and Max Porter and the puppets are Ru Kuwahata, Satoru Yoshida, Tomas Gebcyznski, and Max Porter. It was filmed in France and produced by ikki Films & Manuel Cam Studio.

So far the short film has won 52 awards (including 25 Grand Prix/Best Animated Short awards) and has played at over 137 festivals. It's currently nominated for Best Animated Short Film at the 90th Academy Awards.