Short films matter. Vimeo wants you to know it. So do we. That’s why every week we’ll take a look at some of the short film world’s best and brightest. This week, we bring you Nick Black’s philosophical claymation comedy Time Chicken.
The Plot: One brave chicken tries to heal a societal rift by answering a really big question. Things do not go as planned.
The Film: Some people believe that cinema exists as a means to examine society’s countless problems. It’s often a lot easier – and funnier – to do that through animation. And with chickens. See Time Chicken.
Why Press Play?
Minus the chickens, that last statement is as true of the short form world as it is of the feature. If you don’t believe me, you should go and check out the last animated flick that made the cut as our Short Of The Week. It was called Mr. Madila. It was centered around an African spiritualist’s rumination on creation and existence. Nick Black’s Time Chicken takes as cheekier look at those same themes … but a no less cerebral one.
The film revolves around a society of highly evolved chickens. That’s the cheeky part. But these chickens aren’t of the Chicken Run (2000) sort. Humans do not exist in Time Chicken. By that measure, the advanced poultry are the dominant species in their world. Maybe the only. Black presents their world as a crude but canny mix of claymation and practical model work which gives the film a playful, DIY feel that almost dares you not to take it too seriously.
You should ignore the instinct. Yes, Time Chicken is a lot of fun to watch. But Black tempers the playfulness with some piercing insight into the nature of existence. After all, the question that drives the film’s narrative, “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” is more than a matter of genealogy for the chickens on hand. It’s a matter of origin. That makes it a matter of faith. Or a matter of science.
The film’s central conflict arises from that quandary. It hits home because, well, humans have been having the same debate for centuries. While Black’s incisive writing occasionally takes that debate into dark places, the darkness is always tempered. It’s often hilarious. And Black never judges too harshly on either side of the argument. In fact, Black seems to posit an oddly prescient answer in the end. But only after science runs amok and all hell breaks loose and, well, you should really just press play and check the madness out for yourself.
Meet The Crew:
Written, Animated & Directed by: Nick Black Narrated by: Coleman James Music by: Nathan Stornetta & Martin Batchelar Performed by: The Prague Symphonic Ensemble
I hope you enjoy Time Chicken! The festival circuit certainly has. Black’s film has been making the rounds and racking up raves for the better part of the past year. Black is now looking to turn that exposure into a a bid at his first feature film. He’s working on that script as we speak. With any luck we’ll see the results on the big screen in the very near future. Until then, you should really head over to Black’s Vimeo Page and check out some of his previous work. His short Patrick & Patrick is well worth a look … and not just for its incredibly awesome title. While you’re kicking around and check out a few of the thousands of other short films – animated, live action and documentary – the Vimeo team have made available for your viewing pleasure (via desktop or mobile device – SWEET!). You’re sure to find something interesting. And you may just stumble across the next great filmmaker.