Review by Mark Schwab
Good animated films are truly special. Somehow they are able to transcend the "indie film" label by allowing you to completely focus on the message without thinking about budgets or "big name stars", etc. All the while, you are becoming enchanted with the creative visuals painstakingly drawn frame by frame.
DEAR DEATH is a wonderful short animated film currently playing the festival circuit (it premiered at the Animaze International Film Festival in Montreal in August) that details a day in the life of Stewball (perfectly voiced by Alexis Harte) a horse who is convinced that Death itself is literally stalking him - in his apartment, on the street, at his boring and depressing job. It becomes so pervasive that Stewball sits down to write a letter to Death demanding the truth. Surprisingly, Death writes back and a face to face meeting is set in a local park where the real mystery of Stewball's angst becomes revealed.
It is a testament to writer/director Kate Isenberg that she makes Stewball instantly likeable and relatable. Stewball is passionate and sensitive but never whiny and annoying. She also populates Stewball's world with animal characters (no humans allowed in this world!) which showcase the creative animations all lovingly hand-drawn. The pace is brisk and engaging over its 7-minute runtime and the message it implies is especially useful in today's times. Kate Isenberg is certainly an animated talent to watch. I'm excited for her next project - whatever it might be - and you should be as well. Check out her website and facebook page to keep up to date.