By JENSEN LIM LEONG
“Shelter” is a short film produced by A1 Pictures (Sword Art Online) and Porter Robinson. “Shelter” was released on October 18, 2016 and was featured on the YouTube trending page for several days. It currently sits above four million views, making it one of the most popular short films of the year.
The story follows Rin, a girl marooned off in a space pod for seven years. During those years, she has been living in a virtual world that she can mold alone with no memory of her time on Earth. Everything changes when she touches an unfamiliar swing, sending her flashbacks of her childhood in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo. In these flashbacks, she learns of how her father made a shuttle to send her away from Earth before its inevitable doomsday.
The story is nothing extraordinary; many apocalyptic narratives comment on loneliness and isolation. However, the story is unique mainly in the way it is presented. “Shelter” tells a simple visual story without needing many words, yet it is able to touch the audience because of the somber narrative. The huge set pieces emphasize the isolation and loneliness of the story beautifully.
A1 Pictures did a fantastic job helping animate the film. There is no lack of detail or movement in any scene, and each frame is stunning and breathtaking to look at.
“There were so many conversations about what Rin’s room would look like,” producer Porter Robinson said. “Viewers won’t see 90% of those sketches and they’ll barely see her room.”
Porter Robinson is a music producer and DJ who brought together this team of animators from different backgrounds to create an anime film unlike any before. His music with producer Madeon compliments the short film greatly. When the scene is awe-inspiring, the music loudly sweeps up emotions with volume while conversely, hush and somber tones creep to mind when the scene is sorrowful. These creators were dedicated in leaving a part of their heart and soul in this project and the result is gorgeous.
“Even if the world could never see this video, the process alone would have made it all worth it,” Robinson said.
In a world where only huge franchises get greenlit and most movies are sequels, remakes, or adaptations of already popular material, “Shelter” is a beautiful short film that proves art in its simplest form is the key to success -art for art’s sake.