Summer Shorts sellout: My favorite CGI films

19-Jun-13 12:23 PM by
Filed under Films; Comments Off on Summer Shorts sellout: My favorite CGI films

I spend so much time watching YouTube that, in 2009, I applied that knowledge toward creating a Showbits feature: Summer Shorts. Every weekday for a week, I posted a different short film to this site. In 2010, I revisited the format but over a longer period of time, sharing one video every Friday for 17 weeks.

After a two-year hiatus, I'm pleased to announce Summer Shorts is back, though in a new context. Going with a thematic approach and a commercial outlet, I've compiled my nine favorite CGI shorts into a video gallery. "9 animated shorts that give Pixar a run for its money" is my first freelance feature for ITworld, an affiliate of Computerworld, the magazine where I was an editor for six years.

9 animated shorts that give Pixar a run for its money

Who needs Pixar? Here are my 9 favorite CGI shorts that you can watch for free right on YouTube.


Two of the nine shorts will be familiar to long-time Showbits readers. Pigeon: Impossible and Kiwi, though older, stand as some of the most enjoyable and memorable animated films I have seen online. Five other shorts I'd seen before but had not previously shared, leaving Rosa and The Chase as new to me, the result of extensive research into YouTube's library.

There were enough other candidates that ITworld's gallery could have been nearly double its length: six more videos, including The Passenger and Sebastian's Voodoo, nearly made the cut. As is, the final playlist totals an hour, making for an fun and diverse showcase of the fastest, funniest, most poignant CGI films YouTube has to offer.

Summer Shorts: Pigeon Impossible

18-Jun-10 12:00 PM by
Filed under Films; 2 comments.

Toy Story 3 comes out today, but you don't have to patronize the House of Mouse to get an excellent CGI story. Behold Pigeon: Impossible:

This short parody of the spy genre creatively draws on a number of cinematic archetypes. Although it may strain credulity that such an inept agent would be responsible for war-instigating weaponry, such buffoonery is not without precedent — just look at any incarnation of Get Smart. The scene in which the pigeon takes a strafing run at the agent is akin to Hitchcock's North by Northwest, while the enormity of the missile's launch is reminiscent of Fail-Safe and The Iron Giant.

The film is supported by a comprehensive Web site with a blog, podcasts, and merchandise. The first episode of the creator's 19-part behind-the-scenes videos reveals his initial belief that, since Pixar does one 90-minute movie a year, he could produce a six-minute short in a fraction of the time. The reality? Pigeon: Impossible, released on June 25, 2009, took four years to create. (It could be worse; The Passenger took twice that time.)

Whether Lucas Martell created this masterpiece for pleasure or profit, he has an incredible work of art on his hands that will likely lead to a bright future. Such fortune also has precedent: when Victor Navone created "Alien Song" in 1999, it wasn't long before he got snapped up by Pixar to lend his talents to everything from Finding Nemo to WALL•E.