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The Present

This short animated film was written, directed, and animated by Jacob Frey and rendered, lit, and shaded by Markus Kranzler as their thesis project for the Institute of Animation, Visual Effects, and Digital Postproduction at Baden-Wuerttemburg in Ludwigsberg, Germany. It is based on a comic strip by Brazilian comics artist Fabro Coala. In the film, a teenage boy is sitting in the dark playing a first-person shooter video game when his mom comes home, deposits a box in front of him, opens the blinds, and tells him he should go outside. As his mother goes upstairs, she tells him to open the present she got him. The boy opens the box to find a puppy inside, but is disgusted when the puppy licks him. He throws the puppy across the room, and we see that the puppy has only three legs. The boy kicks the puppy whenever it comes near him until he realizes that the puppy is missing a leg. Then he picks up the ball the puppy has been trying to give him and takes the puppy outside to play. When he gets up, we see that he is also missing a leg.

discussion

What present does the boy’s mother get him? Why is it significant?

Does the boy’s initial reaction to the dog reinforce any stereotypes? About kids and technology? About disabled people?

How does the film’s tone change from the beginning to the end? How do the creators use the soundtrack and the boy’s facial expressions to change the tone through the film?

How do the filmmakers use the reveal at the end (showing the boy’s disability) to complicate stereotypes of people with disabilities? Do you think they succeed? Why or why not?