‘Ice Merchants’ Thaws Out Online Release with New Yorker Screening Room

Academy Award shortlisted animated short Ice Merchants became the latest film festival darling to join The New Yorker‘s digital channels today, streaming through its award-winning New Yorker Screening Room series. (Available to watch now for free here.)

Created by Portuguese director-animator-illustrator João Gonzalez, the film follows a father and son, who, every day, harvest ice from their mountain perch and then parachute off their deck to deliver it to the valley dwellers far below. Then, coins in hand, they return to their altitudinous home using an ingenious contraption and prepare for another day, the same as the one before.

While the dualistic absurdity/familiar comfort of repetitive labor is one theme of the film, Ice Merchants also explores how daily rituals serve as a foundation for human relationships and how the breaking of these connections interacts with these seemingly mundane routines. The floppy hats father and son lose to the wind on each dive to the valley are replaced with new ones, while a yellow coffee mug is unused, yet brooded over. Gonzalez describes the film as “a family drama about loss and family connection.”

Ice Merchants
Ice Merchants

“Deeply affecting, exquisitely animated, Ice Merchants poignantly addresses the existential threat posed by climate change by depicting one family’s determination to stick together, even as their world comes — quite literally — crashing down around them,” said Soo-Jeong Kang, The New Yorker’s executive producer of video.

Prior to being named one of the 15 Oscar shortlisted animated short films this year, Ice Merchants picked up numerous accolades on the festival circuit, including the Leitz Cine Discovery Prize at last year’s Cannes Critics’ Week. It was also named Best Animated Short at the Chicago International Film Festival and the BendFilm Festival.

Gonzalez wrote, directed, art directed and composed the original music for the film, created all the backgrounds and animated the short with Ala Nunu. Ice Merchants is a co-production of COLA Animation (Portugal), Wildstream (France) and the Royal College of Art (U.K.) with the support of ICA Portugal and XCUT. Bruno Caetano is producer, with Michael Proença as co-producer.

Read more about Ice Merchants in Animation Magazine‘s featured story here. Watch the short below:

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