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  • Brandon MacMurray

From The Top Review

Updated: Feb 6

From The Top, dir. Rich Farris

Approaching the frustration of not fully reaching your dreams, “From the Top” narrates the story of Robin, a drummer that dreams of professionally following music as her career path, but after a lack of success, she decides to sell her drum kit and move on with her life. 

Barely even a minute in, Rich establishes the core narrative, introduces the main character and gives us an emotionally relatable backstory (something many full length features struggle to achieve within their first act). From thereon the pacing shifts slightly and we are given more time to process the film's visually striking experience.

But what really impresses the spectator is the large scope and high level of details present in the set, which was developed by production designer Nivitha Muralikrishna. The complete set was 3.5 meters and had to be divided into sections to allow the stop-motion animation to be done-in camera. As the director’s objective was to use as little VFX as he could, the inventive set is both an impressive feature and incredibly appealing to the audience.

Directed by Rich Farris, the film was produced at the legendary National Film and Television School, home of acclaimed shorts such as Joanna Hogg’s “Caprice”, Nick Park’s “A Grand Day Out”, and recent successes as BAFTA nominated “Do not Feed the Pigeons”. The film is based on Farris’ personal story, as he was a musician with a certain level of success and then had to leave it behind. It is basically a tale of his passion for music, but also moving on from that past reality. 

While it follows a standard narrative structure, the story written by Farris, Jack Maraghy, and Francesca Lin has the nuances and details necessary to be emotionally impactful and engaging. They use a universal narrative bit of giving up your dreams with the final scene ending in a crescendo. It reminds the public that even without your key instrument, if you love something - you will do it anyway. 

“From the Top” is a triumph of a 7-minute stop-motion short film that communicates through its powerful storyline, while also impressing with the marvelous production design and animation, working together to deliver a heartwarming film. Rich Farris is a name to be observed and he showed plenty of potential through his creative solutions in this short. The film is nominated for the 51st Annie Awards in the Best Student Film category.

Review by Pedro Lima and Robin Hellgren



The short end of the stick: The inferior part, the worse side of an unequal deal

When it comes to cinema and the Oscars it always feels like short films and getting the short end of the stick. Lack of coverage, lack of predictions from experts and an afterthought in the conversation. With this site we hope to change that, highlighting shorts that stick with you, predictions, and news on what is happening in the world of shorts. 

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