Danny Madden

Confusion Through Sand Short Film

With its violently kinetic camera moves and expressionistic suggestions of chaos, Confusion Through Sand is one of the best short films I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a stab at traditional animation that feels anything but traditional. It also manages to capture the fog of war in a way that’s as beautiful as it is disarming. The story follows boots on the ground as they hunt an unseen target and become targets themselves, lost in a maze of squat buildings and a field of vision blurred by beige. Writer/director Danny Madden has crafted a walled-in experience marked by sharp, punctuated sound design and a dangerous environment we can’t entirely see. The short played at SXSW, won a few other festivals and is now playing on PBS. It’s a fantastic short film that deserves all the exposure it can get, and I was surprised to see Madden’s name because of how familiar it looked. After plugging into IMDB, I realized he’d also directed the inventive coming-of-age story Euphonia, which goes even crazier with sound design. So, Confusion Through Sand is an outstanding bit of experiential storytelling, but maybe the most exciting thing about it is the future facing the name behind it. The more work Madden can make, the better. Speaking of which, check out the video of how they made Confusion Through Sand to be even more impressed.

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Euphonia Vimeo

“Danny Madden‘s Euphonia is a love story between a boy and his digital recorder. It’s an experimental work with plot momentum that intensifies imagery through pristine, almost violently clear sound design. With moments of zen-like beauty and maddening disorientation, it might just be the most inventive coming of age story since Never Let Me Go. Exploring the idea of replacing a boring world with exactly what you want to hear is a fascinatingly relevant one — and here at least, we get a glimpse of how that can block out elements of surprise, discovery and growth. A device has created a new way to connect with the world, but as soon as it becomes the obsession, the world starts to take a backseat.” That’s what I wrote in my review of this hour-long, experimental character study back when it played SXSW, but now Euphonia is out of the festival cycle and running freely into the wild. It’s a very cool movie, and its creators are doing something just as experimental with its distribution by giving it away. Naturally it doesn’t fit into the mold most distributors go after, but it’s encouraging to see Madden and company offer it to the world despite not making their money back. If the responses are any indication, fans are happy they did, too. You can see it at Vimeo, it’s embedded below if you hate clicking links, and if you only want a taste, the trailer is below that.

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Euphonia

Danny Madden‘s Euphonia is a love story between a boy and his digital recorder. It’s an experimental work with plot momentum that intensifies imagery through pristine, almost violently clear sound design. With moments of zen-like beauty and maddening disorientation, it might just be the most inventive coming of age story since Never Let Me Go. In the film, a high schooler (Will Madden) is desperately bored, crawling through his suburban existence and hating every minute of it. He trades clever notes with a cute classmate (Maria DeCortis), laments the lack of a good radio station and passes dull days with his friend (Benjamin Papac). On a whim, he starts recording everything with a digital mic, and while it lets him appreciate the smallest wonders in life, it also places a barrier between him and truly experiencing the world.

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published: 01.31.2015
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published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.30.2015
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published: 01.29.2015
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