EXCLUSIVE: The HBO Max & Warner Bros. Discovery Access Animated Shorts Program will showcase the final short films collection exclusively on HBO Max on March 23. The animated short films will debut as episodes in a Max original series titled: Only You: An Animated Shorts Collection.
These eight short films were created by 12 underrepresented artists, selected last year for a year-long program during which they were given a production budget, training, and tools to complete their original five-to-seven-minute adult animated short. Participants were paired with executive mentors from across WBD brands including HBO Max, Adult Swim, Warner Animation Group and Rooster Teeth, and all films were overseen by established Producer Amanda Miller (Christopher at Sea).
In addition, creators participated in masterclasses from award-winning writers, producers and artists including Justin Halpern & Patrick Schumacker (Harley Quinn), Erica Rivinoja (Clone High), Dan Dominguez (Seis Manos, VP Powerhouse Animation), Matthew A. Cherry (Hair Love), Noëlle Raffaele (DC Super Hero Girls), Ron Kurniawan (Puss in Boots) and Teddy Newton (The Incredibles).
What’s a story Only You can tell? Inspired by this prompt, a diverse group of artists bring their personal tales to life across a spectacular range of animated styles. From a high-stakes Wall Ball tournament in Coney Island, to a redemptive odyssey through the Pacific Northwest, to a psychological showdown with a health-conscious vampire, these stories cross multiple genres, including horror, comedy, and fantasy. A visually exhilarating and emotion-fueled journey, this collection of eight short films welcomes us into the hearts, minds, and communities of the next generation of storytellers.
Episode 1 – Burning Rubber by Chris Fequiere (he/him)
Duane Ruiz is out of college and out of options. Down on his luck, he has to choose between responsibilities at work and home or competing in the high-stakes Burning Rubber Wallball (AKA NYC handball) tournament.
Episode 2 – Welcome to 8th Street by Yoo Lee (she/her) & Xin Li (she/her)
When newcomers attempt to settle into their New Jersey neighborhood on 8th Street, some odd encounters make them question their decision to move. However, that changes when a wild turkey shows up on their block.
Episode 3 – Kent Hammer by Dominick Green (he/him)
Kent Hammer, a confident and highly successful businessman with a loving family, slowly loses touch with reality through a psychotic episode and descends into madness. Kent befriends his briefcase as it talks to and guides him through his journey, but other office supplies may not be as trustworthy or helpful.
Episode 4– Yellowbird by Tsvetelina Zdraveva (she/her) & Jerred North (he/him)
While living in New York, a young immigrant receives tragic news from overseas, and must choose between going home or staying in the US to maintain her legal status.
Episode 5– Monstr by Tank Standing Buffalo (he/him) & Xstine Cook (she/her)
How do you go on living when everything is taken from you in the blink of an eye? A true story of a young artist who confronts his inner demons while apprenticing with a northwest totem carver after the death of his beloved.
Episode 6– Aroon by Miriam Presas (she/her)
A deluded hero has trapped himself within a storybook legend where he always saves the day. After a harrowing experience, the hero starts to question his morality, his purpose, and what makes his life worth living.
Episode 7 – Kimotiwin: The Act of Stealing by Keara Lightning (she/her) & Caeleigh Lightning (she/they)
To steal back a flower that is special to her lover, Tiska embarks on a dangerous journey across an overgrown landscape, fighting demons in a post-apocalyptic city.
Episode 8– Leech by Aalaa Mohamed (she/her)
A vampire obsessed with the quality of the blood they consume poses as a health coach to ensure they can control their clients’ lifestyles. This is the story of Minna, one victim who attempts to break free.
“It has been a pleasure to continue our pipeline efforts by championing underrepresented voices and giving access and exposure for these next generation of primetime animation storytellers,” said Karen Horne, Senior Vice President, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, North America, Warner Bros. Discovery. “We are excited that this program culminates with the opportunity to showcase the artists’ unique visual artistry with HBO Max consumers.”
“One of the best parts about working in animation for 20 years is the feeling when you find a truly original artistic voice, someone who can tell a story with a visual style that is wholly unique.,” said Suzanna Makkos, EVP, original programming, HBO Max & Adult Swim. “I’m thrilled to say that the inaugural HBO Max X WBD Access Animated Shorts Program has not only yielded an impressive slate of content, but has set a high bar for how we discover and develop new voices in primetime animation.”
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