Over the years, the animation industry has evolved right before our eyes as technology progresses each and every day. The preconceived notion of animated narratives being playful, fantastical, one-dimensional, light-hearted, and primarily targeted toward children is slowly becoming a thing of the past. Many storytellers have chosen to utilize animation to tell mature, complex, and thought-provoking social issues through the eyes of imaginary and original characters who invoke waves of emotions that are effortlessly compelling and entertaining to people of all ages.
Away We Go
Away (2019) is the brainchild of award-winning Latvian animator, Gints Zilbalodis. At a young age, classic films have always mesmerized and sparked his curiosity, which eventually inspired him to become a filmmaker. He kickstarted his career by shooting short films and commercials and within a short span of time, he has impressively made seven films that make use of creative techniques such as hand-drawn animation, 3D animation, live-actions, and various aesthetics.
What sets Away (2019) apart from most animated films is Zilbalodis’ audacious choice of making it into a dialogue-free feature. While this is his directorial feature debut, he has demonstrated sophistication and proficiency in the craft of storytelling and animation, meticulously piecing the parts together for over three years as the sole director, writer, producer, scorer, and animator.
What sets Away (2019) apart from most animated films is Zilbalodis’ audacious choice of making it into a dialogue-free feature.
The story follows the adventure of a young boy who survived a plane crash and got stuck on a deserted island. Relying solely on himself and his innate survival skills, he ventures far and wide to find his way home while escaping the dark entity that has been relentlessly chasing and hindering him from reaching safety.
Truth be told, the absence of dialogue in a feature-long animation was considerably worrying, but amplifying the sound effects of from the rustling leaves, the gush of water, mother nature, to the escalating noise of imminent danger, symphonic ensemble of background music, vibrant visual effects, and emotional cues conveyed the story and increased the tension in a meaningful way that gave justice to the filmmaker’s bold choice.
It allows the audience to participate in shaping the narrative by putting a name to the face of the characters and merely relying on personal understanding and interpretations to make sense of the events. Overall, it simply forces you to focus on the heart of the matter – cultivating friendships, overcoming obstacles, facing your fears, exercising empathy, developing self-consciousness, belongingness, breaking free from one’s comfort zone, and discovery.
Our fascination for animation stems all the way from our childhood, tirelessly watching hours of films, cartoons, and anime brought to us by leading animation studios such as Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks, Cartoon Network, Warner Bros., and Studio Ghibli, which ultimately became a pivotal part in shaping our formative years. In fact, animators flawlessly use computer-generated imagery (CGI) animation nowadays and impeccably integrate it into live-action films or TV series that spectacularly adds depth, creativity, and emotional impact to the story, which later go on to bag awards at esteemed festivals and award shows such as Cannes, Sundance, TIFF, The Academy, The Emmys, Berlin and Venice international film festival.
This strongly substantiates the fact that animation is an integral part in crafting stories that awaken our sense of wonder, spark ingenuity, and also transport us into a foreign yet familiar realm no matter what age. Away (2019) is a thrill-seeking and meditative narrative that undoubtedly resonates to a universal audience.
Away (2019) is distributed by Subliminal Films and is showing in select theatres in the US as well as Vimeo and Amazon starting on November 29, 2019.