The New Yorker has slated another of the year’s festival favorite animated shorts for its digital channels this month, announcing that The Clearing will debut as part of the magazine’s award-wining Screening Room series on December 9. Director Daniel Robert Hope’s Oscar-qualified, unconventional stop-motion comedy presents a snapshot of a family on a camping trip and the problems that plague them.
In a desperate battle with his ballooning ego, husband Bill struggles in vain to re-woo his wife, Deb, with his below-par outdoor skills and shocking behavior — that is until their last-ditch camping trip takes a very sinister turn. Bill and Deb are voiced by real-life couple and U.K. comedy royalty Julian Barratt and Julia Davis, making this animated short a must-watch for fans of the comedy heavyweights.
Barratt is known for performing in The Mighty Boosh” alongside comedy partner Noel Fielding in the 2000s. The show generated a cult fan following and won many awards.
Davis wrote and starred in BBC comedy Nighty Night and the comedies Hunderby and “Camping, which she also directed. Critics have lauded Davis for creating boundary-pushing black comedy that centers female anti-heroes. A nine-time BAFTA TV Award nominee, she won Best Comedy Writing for Hunderby and Best Scripted Comedy for Sally4Ever.
Hope wrote, directed and animated The Clearing with a team of students and volunteers. He was joined in that effort by producer Johannes Schubert, who was named Austria’s Producer on the Move at the Cannes Film Festival in 2022 and was featured on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.
As part of an impressive festival run that includes BFI London Film Festival, Ottawa, Stuttgart Animation Festival, and Flickerfest, The Clearing scooped Best Animated Short at both Aesthetica Film Festival and RiverRun International Film Festival, qualifying for the same category in the run-up to the 2023 Oscars.
The Clearing is the latest breakout animated short to come out of the U.K.’s prestigious National Film and Television School, including Wallace & Gromit, The Hill Farm, Head Over Heels, The Bigger Picture, and many more.