Co-directed by Hornet's Sam Mason and Hugo & Marie's Mario Hugo, this short film is an ode to childhood, when things were a bit mysterious and unknown. Made as a gift for Mario's daughter, the film is less of a sequential narrative and more of a symbolic string of ideas that charts the beautiful, but frequently confusing, journey of a toddler who's navigating life's greatest mysteries: you know, things like empty rooms, strange sculptures, and the underbellies of tables and chairs.
To create the film, Sam and Mario used CG, photogrammetry, and real objects found in local vintage shops. Set to a sweet recording of Joe Rapaso's classic Sesame Street song, "Little Things," this film is a dreamy celebration of all things playful, wonderful, bizzare, and little.
"As a kid, I can recall spending hours staring at few particular pieces of furniture and losing track of reality. When you’re three or four, you’re seeing the underside of tables and chairs. This short film has something to do with those memories. The moments of childhood, daydreaming in a world of table legs and bottom book shelves—so many things that don’t yet have names. The landscape that was so frightening and wonderful for a short time before it became completely ordinary."
Obsessed with world-building, Sam Mason grew up inspired by artists such as Terry Gilliam, Jim Henson, and Yuri Norstein—auteurs known for creating unique and immersive worlds. His passion to create beautiful and fantastical landscapes embedded with secret languages landed him at Central Saint Martin's in London. His student short won the attention of many studios, not to mention a spot in that year's Annecy circuit.
It also led to his mentorship with acclaimed director Pete Candeland. This partnership launched his directing career on worldwide campaigns for Coke, Toyota, Mazda, and Honda as well as music videos with Sofi Tukker.
In terms of craft, Sam is always excited about applying a style of CG that reflects his lo-fi/hi-fi hybrid approach to making things. He prefers to utilize emerging technologies to apply a physicality and textured realness to his films. He especially likes to start with real objects and from there set up constraints that he can work within, like he did with his collaboration with Hugo Marie for Little Things, where they scoured vintage markets for objects that could ground the film.
With a romantic nod back to the textured details of the Baroque movement, to the reduced instincts of Bauhaus, Sam seeks to create a middle ground aesthetic—a style that straddles both animation and traditional film. The excitement around his methods is a continued push to find new ways of creating a moving painting. The undercurrent of his work is the desire to make something romantic and playful; not overly designed, yet rich with feeling and detail, and always rooted in history. In Sam's own words, his work is never cool but is always playing with the vulnerable.