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Indie Animations Worth a Look!

I’m always down for Coraline or the Nightmare Before Christmas, and Up made me cry like a baby (in a good way).  But just because big-name movies are easy to locate doesn’t mean they’re the only ones worth seeing!

There are tons of art house, foreign studio, or amateur “scrapster” animations that are not to be missed. Next time you’re looking for something different to watch, try one of these…they’re all at the library.

Whoa! Sita Sings the Blues weaves together the passion of love, the sadness of breakups, a 3,000 year-old Sanskrit epic story called Ramayana (told in graphic novel here), and the 1920’s blues croonings of Annette Hanshaw. If that sounds confusing, don’t worry. Each narrative is told in a different style of animation–which keeps things clear and interesting. This film is a great example of what novice filmmakers can do with a little passion and time  – filmmaker Nina Paley had never animated anything longer than a few minutes when she started making this one.




Watch as Alice‘s inanimate world comes to life in this quietly bizarre stop-motion film. If you grew up with Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, it may seem twee in comparison with this darker 1988 adaptation. I shiver every time the White Rabbit chomps his teeth. This version of Alice is really faithful to the classic Lewis Carroll, where the world of Alice that you think you know expands. If you’ve participated in QuickFLIX already this summer, you may find inspiration for your next stop-motion creation here!



Mary and Max is an Australian claymation film set in the 1960s that follows the unlikely friendship of two pen-pals. Mary Dinkle is a lonely, homely kid in Melbourne. Her mom is an alchoholic, and her dad just seems not to care – so picks a name out of a phone book and begins writing to Max, who she learns is an obese New Yorker with Asperger’s Syndrome. Over 20 years (don’t worry – they go fast), the quirky duo follows and changes one another’s lives.



The Secret of Kells is the story of the book that “turns darkness into light.” Brendan lives with monks at a remote outpost, Iona, when a visit from a master artist turns everything upside-down. He confronts evil, hidden in a deeply enchanted forest, and his darkest fears. If you like quest stories, faeries, Ireland, or medieval art, this one’s for you.

The stylings throughout this film are a clear homage to the painstakingly elaborate illuminated manuscripts of medieval Ireland–heck, the Book of Kells is one. For you art history buffs (I know you’re out there!), this is icing on an already delicious cake.



Madame Sousa’s grandson is kidnapped while riding the Tour de France, but she’s not just going to sit and watch it happen. She enlists her pooch, Bruno, and a spinster trio of jazz singers (because hey, why not?) to help her find young Champion. The upbeat retro soundtrack of The Triplets of Belleville is a little bit reminiscent of the music from a high-school classic, Ghost World, and the animation – well…watch it and find out!

These are just a handful of what we’ve got at the library, but what do you think? What’s the best animated film for teens?

Whitney, CLP – Main

One Response

  1. Great stuff, Whitney! I especially love that Alice movie and The Triplets of Belleville.

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