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Dustin Grella Posts Uplifting Special Election Day ‘Animation Hotline’ Short

Famed micro-animation series that uses crowd-sourced voicemail messages for content returns with ‘Seagulls’ (#217); hotline phone is back open for callers sharing their 2020 experiences.

Former New York and now Ohio-based animator Dustin Grella and his Dusty Studio have brightened up our day with a poignant, uplifting, and thought-provoking new Animation Hotline short, Seagulls. Like every short in the famed series, the new “micro-animation,” #217, uses crowd-sourced voicemail messages for content. Grella notes that in creating the new Animation Hotline video, he just wanted to “remind everyone to go outside and take a deep breath of fresh air.  Life is short and we are all in this one together.”

Poetry in motion if ever there was!

In sharing the new piece, and announcing his hotline is once again open for business, Grella tells AWN, “I think to not capture the stories of this year (pandemic, election, social unrest) would be a huge disservice. So, I’ve dusted off (pun?!) the answering machine and am ready to start animating people’s 2020 experiences.  The number is (212) 683-2490 - put it in your ‘favorites’ and tell me your story!”

Here’s what Grella had to say back in 2016, speaking about the Animation Hotline’s birth and its 200th short:

"Back in February 2011, I called up two of my favorite English professors, Bob Pope and Jerry Martien, and asked them to leave messages on my answering machine so that I could animate them. Then I posted those animations and the phone number for people to call and leave their own message. Now five years and thousands of voice-mails later, not to mention thousands of hours of animating, we’ve (and I say we’ve because it isn’t just me working on theses anymore, it’s the whole Dusty Studio team) created our 200th animation.”

Dusty Studio has moved out of New York, at least for the time being, announcing that  “We have set up a studio out in a barn (that Dustin helped build when he was 8 years old) in Medina, Ohio!  We have been able to set up slates for drawing and have the Jen Klockner downshooter made from recycled wheelchair parts and all the other animation equipment.  We'll see what happens!”

Noting recent projects including an animation for Zentropa Films’ The House That Jack Built, directed by Lars Von Trier and starring Matt Dillon, and Lobby Movie, commissioned by Karen Cooper and recently screened at the New York City Film Forum, the studio says it also worked with Loki Films providing animation for an episode of Quibi’s Mind Trip, which focuses on mental illness and specifically OCD. RIP Quibi… ☹

Source: Dusty Studio

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Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.