“Confusion Through Sand,” an animated short film created by Ornana Films and directed and illustrated by Danny Madden, is so much more than a war story. It’s also so much more than than just an animated video. In the nine-minute film, anger, fear and panic coalesce to create something all too rare in portrayals of war: a genuine depiction of feeling.
The idea for the story began to develop when friends of the production team started returning home from tours overseas, and through their experiences, the story emerged. Perhaps its because the story was drawn from so many experiences that the unknown protagonist is so compelling --- it could be anyone in the audience.
“The idea going into it was you can project your own face to it,” Madden told the Washington Post’s Thomas Gibbons-Neff. “Nothing is concrete about it … hopefully by designing the character like this it would [allow] all people to be in that position a little more viscerally.”
After fleeing his attackers, the unnamed main character is spotted by a pair of teenage boys who smile and wave. Even without a single spoken word, it’s clear that he has a brief crisis of conscience. Maybe they’re spotters? Maybe they’ll give him away? Maybe they’re innocent kids who will get hurt if they stay near him? All these thoughts go unvoiced, but not unfelt as he levels his rifle at them, finger off the trigger, and scares them away.
The rapid juxtapositions cause the audience’s perspective to lurch jarringly, catching a glimpse of the ankles of an unknown soldier walking through dusty and familiar Middle Eastern city streets, then leaping to wide eyes behind goggles as a sand storm blows past.
As Madden explains in a short video about how the animation was made, each panel is hand drawn on recycled paper, all 6,500 pages of it. After each illustration is made, and then gone over again with markers to add color, backlit photos are taken of each individual sheet, bringing the grainy brown hue to life. Considering the size and scope of the project, it’s not surprising that it was nearly two years in the making.
“We found pieces of recycled paper that, when you held them up to the light, looked a lot like a sandstorm,” said Jim Cumming, a producer with Ornana Films, in a Washington Post interview. “The form fit the story.”
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Karl Munson pilots a 26-foot boat while Petty Officer 2nd Class Gabriel Diaz keeps an eye on a boarding team who is inspecting a 79-foot shrimp boat in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of New Orleans, La., on April 27, 2005
Radio transmissions to the U.S. Coast Guard are usually calls for help from boaters, but one captain got on the radio recently just to say thanks to the men and women who are currently working without pay.
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Saturday to receive the remains of four Americans killed in a suicide bombing in northern Syria.
Trump, locked in a battle with congressional Democrats that has led to a nearly month-long partial government shutdown, announced his trip via a pre-dawn tweet, saying he was going "to be with the families of 4 very special people who lost their lives in service to our Country!"
Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.
In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.