10 minutes





Ethan ponders his daughter’s future without him in this celebrated short

In his award-winning short animation Rosemary AD (After Dad), the US filmmaker Ethan Barrett plumbs the depths of his psyche to ponder that most fundamental question: ‘To be, or not to be?’ And, like the Bard and a great many other artists who have preceded him, Barrett mines plenty of gallows humour from this evergreen existential quandary, considering the many ways – fantastical and plausible, playful and tragic – a decision to take his own life might impact his baby daughter. In one outlandish scenario, she channels misandristic fervour into rock stardom. In another, she dies young battling the demons Barrett left in his absence. In yet another, she lives a mostly normal and pleasant life, but the void his death leaves never quite lifts.

Using simple crayon-drawn figures and mouth-made sound effects, Barrett’s somewhat crude surface masks a work that’s both aesthetically and emotionally rich. Small offbeat jokes flash across the screen in an instant and are echoed in later callbacks. His own stick figure’s small eyes crinkle with determination in some sequences, and look heavy with burden in others, betraying a slight ‘let’s make it through the day’ smile. With his unusually candid take on depression, fatherhood and how these two forces meet in his mind, Barrett crafts something special indeed – a work that may well inspire both laughs and tears across its 10-minute duration.

Director: Ethan Barrett