Good Intentions | Award-Winning Stop-Motion Animated Short Film

23 Mar 2024

In this small thriller about decision making and guilt, a young woman responsible for a car accident. She escapes the scene but can’t stop thinking, or imagining, what happened to the other driver. And soon strange things starts to happen…

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Good Intentions
Directed by Anna Mantzaris

"After blowing our woolly socks off with her craft in the warm and fuzzy But Milk is Important and making us cry with laughter in the darkly-comic Enough, fans of Anna Mantzaris will be happy to learn that this director’s talents continue to shine in her latest animated short Good Intentions. The eight-minute stop-motion, completed as her graduation film at the Royal College of Art, is a tale both laden with ominous atmosphere and disarming charm, all at once. It is also entirely consistent with Mantzaris’ homespun aesthetic, which persistently delights audiences and offers a two-fingered salute to the genre’s CGI contemporaries.

When a young woman causes a car accident and she flees the scene of the crime, her guilty conscience, over leaving the other driver behind, starts to eat away at her and she soon becomes a shadow of her former self. Good Intentions may first appear to be aimed at a younger audience, but don’t let the cutesy puppets and quirky set design fool you, this is a short filled with as much tension and mystery as you’d expect from any quality live-action thriller. If not more…

“Originally, I was interested in the concept of ghosts, if they can be more things than a dead person. Like if you can become a ghost of who you used to be, if someone can be a “living ghost”. And I was also curious about the idea of guilt and how it can sometimes be worse than the real action” – Mantzaris shared with S/W – “That’s how the idea started and I wrote it together with my boyfriend.”

I am a huge fan of Mantzaris’ work, and I must admit that after the huge success and mass appeal of her first two shorts, I was a little bit doubtful about whether she’d be able to rise to those great heights once again. Thankfully, I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I finished Good Intentions, because it was indeed as good, if not better, than I had hoped. Though that sigh might have also been provoked by the fact the short was so intense and at times downright scary, I watched almost the entire thing with bated breath.

Rather than being weighed down by the pressure of her success, Mantzaris seems to have used it as a leverage to take her craft and knack for dialogue-free storytelling to the next level. It’s as if she handpicked the best parts of her work thus far, and interweaved them together in Good Intentions – a method that has paid off in spades.

The director’s genius for production design comes to the fore (I imagine that having worked on Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs may have helped too). The sets are elaborate treasure troves, filled with enough Easter Eggs and tiny, quirky creations for Mantzaris’ fans to feast their eyes on, time and time again. There is also the intriguing oddity of delving into a very grownup issue, something we saw glimpses of in But Milk is Important, using the adorable lightheartedness of Enough and the perfectly imperfect puppets that have become the director’s signature.

It’s an oddity that in theory may be doomed to fall between the sensibilities of adults and children, yet Mantzaris has somehow managed to preserve and extend the innocence and enamour of her handiwork, and shaped it into something positively spooky. The result has its plush feet firmly grounded in the gloomy world of adulthood, with just the right amount of charm and imagination to pull at the heartstrings." - S/W Curator Serafima Serafimova

Director: Anna Mantzaris
Producer: Anna Mantzaris / Royal College of Art
Writers: Anna Mantzaris, Hugo Vieites Caamano
Cinematographer: Donna Wade
Scenography: Hetty Bax
Animation: Tim Allen, Anna Mantzaris, Quenting Haberham, Tobias Fouracre
Music: Phil Brookes
Sound: André Parklind
Post Production: Hugo Vieites Caamano

Reproduced on this channel with the permission of the filmmakers.

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