The Shark Was Aware Of Me is a gorgeous wee piece. Written by Alan Bissett, we meet Jemima (Alison Peebles) living alone in her little flat who, in a quest to escape the dreary day-to-day drudge, finds herself in an aquarium and encountering a shark. Animator Gavin Glover has created a marvellously evocative, miniscule model world containing our startled protagonist, her unremarkable neighbourhood and the eerily other-worldly shark. A soundtrack from Rowan McIlvride first adds pathos and then a sliver of hope as the story slides through the water to its conclusion.
A Pickpocket’s Tale by Uma Nada-Rajah is a pacy, perky tale of a pickpocket who’s been having a hard time during the pandemic (pesky social distancing) until a chance meeting with a mysterious stranger on a park bench makes everything fall into place. Nada-Rajah’s script is quirky, lively, and perfectly matched with Cat Bruce’s jaunty animation. A bouncy soundtrack from Pippa Murphy is a cherry atop this cake.
Morna Young’s Stella is a tale of a girl who informs her school careers advisor that she wants to be an astronaut. Mrs Burke isn’t impressed – until Stella (MJ Deans) explains quite why she’s such a suitable candidate. A warm, insightful script, shot through with dollops of stardust, is beautifully brought to life by Kate Charter’s animation – a lovely layered combination of photography, animation and paint.
The Night You Were Born by Ellie Stewart is a moving story of a goatherd, fleet of foot and perfectly at home in the mountains, told by Daniela Nardini. One day, she makes a surprising friend. James and John Kielty create a simple but evocative animated world with artful sound design that supports the tender pathos of the piece.
Swooping up at the rear, Quelle Trapeze by Laurie Motherwell tells the story of Olly (Andrew Rothney) ,who slips out of his jocular birthday bash to seek refuge in a deserted big top in a local park. Or is it? There’s an intriguingly gothic quality to Nisan Yetkin’s animation that manages to be boisterously overbearing and gently wistful, all at the same time. And Simon Liddell’s soundtrack conjures up all the right ooohs and aahs.
These short films – the longest a petite eight minutes – are a charming showcase for some of Scotland’s leading writing and animation talent. Available for free for a year, we’re invited to make a donation to An Tobar and Mull Theatre in return. Until we’re allowed back into the gorgeous Mull Theatre, Braw Tales is a lovely reminder of the talent and creativity scattered across our shores.