I’m Fine Thanks

With the announcement of the 2013 BAFTA nominations last week came news of the great success of an Encounters favourite. ‘I’m Fine Thanks’, the darkly humorous delivery from Irish director Eamonn O’Neill that was screened at the festival in 2012, has been nominated in the Best Short Animation category for this year’s British Academy Film Awards, joining only two other nominees on the shortlist for the prestigious prize.

The film follows a young man through his fairly nondescript life that teeters on the edge of pathetic – he lacks any real purpose, is consistently bumped into on the tube and ignored by the opposite sex. Thus has been his life since childhood, and when he receives an online friend request from a girl who mistreated him many years previous, his sad existence is hammered home to him. Through a series of vignettes we see the man slip into psychosis as his long-dormant frustrations begin to boil over, and the once-timid man transforms into a violent maniac.

Both comical and disturbing, ‘I’m Fine Thanks’ is a clever exploration of the human mind and the stigma that’s attached to asking if (or admitting that) someone needs help. Visually impressive, the use of bright colours contrasts with the dark content, while the character’s distress is conveyed through the chaotic elements of the animation. The design is fresh and original, and there’s definitely the sense that O’Neill has created something that will become recognisable as his own style.

O’Neill obtained his Masters in Animation from the Royal College of Art last year and produced ‘I’m Fine Thanks’ as one of his graduate projects. The film achieved success on the festival circuit, being screened at the likes of the London Short Film Festival and the Annecy International Animation Festival, as well being chosen for official selection at Encounters in 2012. The film has also picked up a number of awards to date, including Best Graduate Film at the Ottawa International Animation Festival 2011. Let’s hope the BAFTA is the next achievement under O’Neill’s belt.

The ‘I’m Fine Thanks’ trailer is available to view here

The trailer for O’Neill’s latest short ‘Left