The Friday Short: ‘Fission’

In our new weekly feature The Friday Short, we curate one unforgettable short film.

If Michel Gondry were to direct a street-art Fantasia, it might look something like Fission. Winner of a recent Student Academy Award in the Best Alternative Film category, recent School of Visual Arts grad Kun-I Chang’s explores a quintessentially New York concept: A young man (Jamil Shamasdin) imagines himself as graffiti on the wall — and watches himself mutate into different environments, genres, and even media. “As a motion-graphic artist, I always wanted to use motion graphic as the main narrative of the film instead of just decoration,” says Chang, 27, who now works a day job as a designer and animator at the firm Spontaneous, NYC. Fission required four months of preparation, intense shooting in a warehouse on Long Island, and an extended post-production process, with five months spent on the rotoscoping alone. It was worth it: The result is one of the most exciting shorts to come out of New York in years: four minutes and 53 seconds of restless, vibrant imagery. Don’t miss it. –Bilge Ebiri