The HoloFiles

TRIBECA REVIEW: Corvine

By Josh Bate & George Bate

Corvine review

From the acclaim of Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio to the recent release of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, there is (finally) a growing recognition that animation a) is not just for children and b) that is a medium, rather than a genre, that enables an incredible diversity of stories and characters. The trend toward animated projects whose visual spectacle matches their emotional draw is abundantly evident in Corvine, one of the surprise highlights of this year’s Tribeca Festival. The warm and touching animated short from writer/director Sean McCarron follows the tale of an eccentric young boy who develops a love for crows. The boy’s unique interest, while fostering a sense of comfort, leads to him having trouble fitting in at school.

Corvine is a beautiful and deeply personal story about growing up, the pressures to fit in, and the joy that comes from being yourself. On the surface, its somewhat unusual premise of a young boy obsessed with crows may come across as idiosyncratic and unrelatable, but writer/director McCarron crafts a universally applicable story through the prism of a wonderfully singular story. The boy’s interest in crows can represent anyone who has had an interest that diverges from those of other’s and, in turn, makes Corvine a project with extraordinary emotional depth.

Corvine review

Clocking in at just over 10 minutes, Corvine is a labor of love that was eight years in the making. Every ounce of this labor is evident in the meticulously hand-drawn short. Each frame is so picturesque and tells a story unto itself. When brought together, what results is a deeply moving love letter to uniqueness, the arts, and the importance of healthy adult figures.

Adding to the universal applicability of Corvine’s themes, the short features no dialogue. Instead, the short film uses its gorgeous visuals and an emotionally rich orchestral score by Suad Bushnaq to bring the young boy’s journey to life. It’s a testament to the strength of the film’s animation and score that so much emotion is packed into a 10-minute short without the assistance of dialogue or narration.

Corvine has already garnered praise, and rightfully so. It won the Audience Choice Award for Animated Short at Calgary International Film Festival and has since screened at other festivals including the Chicago International Film Festival and the Canadian Film Festival. Now, screening at Tribeca means the short will hopefully reach a wider audience as it’s a project that both casual viewers and animation fanatics will thoroughly enjoy.

Further evidencing the short’s emotional impact is how the film compares to other, large budget feature length animated films. Some may have 10x the budget of Corvine, but they don’t have a tenth of the heart of this film.

Corvine review

VERDICT: 9.5/10

Corvine is a beautifully hand-drawn and emotionally rich animated short screening at this year’s Tribeca Festival. Writer/director Sean McCarron crafts a deeply moving story about a boy and his obsession with crows, an incredibly singular premise that McCarron deftly uses to explore universal themes about fitting in and being oneself.

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