Ralph Mathers, Ewa Smyk
"Homebird" takes Indy Shorts Animated Grand Prize
It's difficult to describe the cinematic wonder that is Ewa Smyk's lovely and remarkable Homebird, a 10-minute animated short that has captured the Indy Shorts International Film Festival's Grand Prize for Animated Short along with that prize's $5,000 cash award and instantly being thrust into the Academy Award race for 2022.
By now, it's absolutely no secret that Heartland Film's Indy Shorts is one of the country's leading film fests for shorts and its status as an Academy Award-qualifying film festival means it has become one of the destination fests for filmmakers globally.
Homebird is, quite simply, an extraordinarily beautiful and meaningful short film with a story centered around Nina (Laura Greenwood), a struggling artist whose move from a small village to the big city has been anything but successful. Longing for the inspiration of home, Nina's journey becomes our own journey thanks to the simple yet poignant script crafted tenderly by Ralph Mathers and director Ewa Smyk. Homebird is only the second film for Smyk, though it's masterfully rendered and so beautifully animated that you can't help but want to see more and more and more from Smyk.
Smyk wonderfully creates Nina's rose-tinted memories of life within the village and takes the young artist on a journey of introspection that feels as meaningful to audience members as it is to Nina. The color palette here is absolutely sublime with the expressiveness of both Nina and her, well, Homebird absolutely mesmerizing.
The original music by Natalia Tsupryk is transformative while lensing from Pep Bosch Calvo is immersive and experiential. While actual dialogue is minimal here, Laura Greenwood's work as Nina is wonderfully inspired.
All three of the Grand Prize-winning films this year at Indy Shorts are directed at women - it's an appropriate and typically inspired result for Indy Shorts and the Heartland Film 50/50 pledge working toward equity in the film industry.
For more information on Indy Shorts, visit the Indy Shorts website.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic