Shot on 35mm film and adapted from Marian Churchland’s stirring untitled graphic novella that was a part of the indie comic compilation “Meathaus S.O.S.,” Will Blank’s long-gestating — it was an IndieWire Project of the Day way back in 2015 — new short “Limbo” is a stunner that asks (and perhaps even answers) some big questions with the maximum of elegance and the minimum of time.
Directed by Blank and penned by the director and Richard Kaponas, the film stars “Riverdale” and “Looking” standout Raul Castillo alongside a magical dog (no, really) voiced by Hollywood legend Sam Elliott (currently enjoying a bit of a resurgence thanks to his recent role in “The Hero”). The film has screened at a number of festivals, including Fantasia, Fantastic Fest, and Toronto After Dark, and has even earned some famous fans along the way — including Guillermo del Toro, who billed it as an “excellent short.”
The film picks up in the middle of the desert — always a great start — and finds our leading man at loose ends. Undone by the seeming end of a cherished relationship, he’s also struggling with some material issues, including a crappy car and a lost cell phone. When he stumbles upon said mystical dog in the middle of the landscape, he’s suddenly presented with a surprising choice, a reward for his thoughtful charity to the ailing creature.
Veteran creature designer Tim Martin of Studio ADI (who also worked with del Toro on his “Hellboy”) worked with Blank to craft the dog puppet over the course of several months. It was then brought to life with the talents of animatronics technician Dave Penikas (also of Studio ADI), and it required three puppeteers to simultaneously operate. Elliott, of course, brings the entire performance home, thanks to his signature voice.
You can check out “Limbo” in full below, exclusively on IndieWire. The short will premiere on VOD platforms tomorrow, June 27.