Weary of Hurricane Sandy? Watch This Cute Tiny Boat Weather the Storms!

Little Boat: A Bittersweet Tale of Persistence and Adversity

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.

Boles’s Little Boat is an inspiring story of adventure and perseverance, starring a surprisingly expressive little dinghy. The short film went viral a while back, charming thousands of viewers and winning a number of festival prizes, but it feels particularly relevant while people all up and down the East Coast braced themselves for the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy.

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 deceptively simple animation contains lots of surprises, so make sure to watch it full screen with the sound turned up; half the story is in the audio.

Little Boat: A Bittersweet Tale of Persistence and Adversity

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