Review: The Hidden Life of the Burrowing Owl
Okay, I’ll admit it up front. I’m already a fan of Mike Roush and his films. There, I said it. The guy draws and animates like an angel. His draftsmanship all at once pisses me off because it’s so good (and I’m jealous) and then makes me stand up and cheer. This is the kind of guy you want to watch in the animation industry and I really appreciate Titmouse spending money to do short films and showcase new and seasoned talent. Not many studios do that even though it makes sense to do so. Sense in the animation industry quite often seems to go the wayside and yet Titmouse nurtures ideas, talent and makes themselves cool by default to artists wanting to share their vision.  That in and of itself  is a great calling card in my book.

That said; today marks the release of  Mike Roush’s latest short The Hidden Life of the Burrowing Owl. Mike is one of the many amazing artists which we were fortunate enough to interview a while back. Mike is a rare breed who seems to get just the right amount of emotion out of his animation and his latest film is no exception.

The Hidden Life of the Burrowing Owl is an extremely creative take on a wildlife program in which an 2D animated owl who lives in a real-life desert gets his mate taken from him by a malicious driver who runs her over on the side of the road. All the while in this five-minute short a male narrator talks to us about the life of a burrowing owl in a very casual manner, as if this is an episode from the Animal Planet or Discovery Channel. Despite the aloof narration the short has a very dramatic and sorrowful undertone when we find out the owl is plotting to kill the driver responsible for his wife’s death.

The film is beautifully animated and although the story is not necessarily upbeat it’s still very intriguing. Also, the creativity of the real-life scenery combined with 2D animation makes the story all the more quirky and entertaining.

We feel emotion, we feel sorrow and we’re treated to the art of the film itself. The goal of animation is in it’s barest minimum the illusion of life and Mike does that deftly by that by making us feel for the owl and his plight. We want him to succeed. We accept his revenge and it’s this kind of tasty morsel that is synonymous with Titmouse. They give you a bit of edge but keep you enthralled and I for one appreciate that. The detail of the wings alone boggle the mind if you’ve ever animated in Flash. Hats off to Mike Rosuh, Chris Prynoski (who we interviewed sometime back) Shannon Prynoski and Ben Kalina in a well done film. One of which I hope to see many more of.

You can download the full film on iTunes here.

Below are a few exclusive pics from the making of the film.

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