The Little Boat: A Bittersweet Tale of Persistence and Adversity

The Little Boat: A Bittersweet Tale of Persistence and Adversity

The Little Boat is a bittersweet, sometimes heartbreaking minimalist five-minute animated short film by CalArts student Nelson Boles. After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in September 2005, Boles enrolled in the Teen Program at The Animation Academy in Burbank. He was a 16 year-old young man from New Orleans, a refugee from the storm. Later, when things got back to semi-normal in New Orleans, he returned home.

The Little Boat imbues life into an obstinately mundane object, as the little red the dinghy steadfastly pushes forward through storms, floods and wars. One shot, at the 2:10 mark in the film, shows the little boat resolutely thrusting forward upon the stormy seas, only to have its mast shattered in half; it’s as heartbreaking a moment as anything that could happen to a more conventional animated character with eyes, hands and legs.

The Little Boat: A Bittersweet Tale of Persistence and Adversity

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