Animation Movies Shorts

Hot Flash

Director – Thea Hollatz – 2019 – Canada – 10m


From the Annecy 2020 Online Animation Festival

Suffering from a hot flash just before she’s due to go on air, weatherwoman Ace Naismith (voice: Christine Horne) desperately employs the cooling fan in her dressing room to blow cool air on her face, under her boobs and up her dress in a desperate attempt to cool down. A moment of embarrassment ensues as she’s interrupted by P.A. Natalie Van Damme (Grace Glowicki) who tells her, Don wants you to talk about paragliders.

In the studio, under the lights against greenscreen, Ace is visibly suffering. Don (Tony Nappo) enters, but she can’t talk to him about the paraglider thing because he’s jugging three conversations on three different devices, one of which could be with his wife. So she delivers the report to camera on the incoming ice storm and then, paragliders, a reminder of warmer weather which she, in her current hot state, could well do without.

Her quest to cool down continues – sitting in the car park with the car door open while a male colleague walks past, warmly wrapped against the freezing cold. She drives home, rushes upstairs, rips of her clothes opens the window, cools down. Unfortunately she and workman up a telegraph pole Tom (Tyler Johnston) find themselves looking at each other. My mom likes your show, he embarrassedly calls at her rapidly drawn blind.

She wakes in the bath to missed calls from Don and the horrific realisation she’ll be too late for her 6pm slot. Her car is delayed by Tom’s rig trying to fix a high up pole box. He dropped his spanner earlier and she walks it to him in the snow. When her coat blows open (nothing beneath), she’s past caring. She gets to work and finds Natalie has filled in for her broadcast slot.

Writer director Hollatz has been working in live action production design for the last few years, turning to drawn animation for her first gig as writer director. She certainly knows how to pick her subject matter: menopausal life could so easily become an audience alienating soapbox, a trap Hollatz admirably avoids here.

What she and her animation team come up with is beautifully paced and visually striking throughout, a fresh look that isn’t really like anything else and which fits her material perfectly. The laughs may not be that frequent, but when they come, they’re highly effective in what is basically a comedy of distressed manners. Potentially embarrassing material is handled with just the right amount of sympathy and distance, never getting overly emotional.

It’s a terrific little short and it’s great to see someone with production experience outside of animation dipping her toe in the medium to such effect. Hopefully something about animation clicked and Hollatz will try her hand at the medium again, possibly with a very different project because this film absolutely refuses obvious typecasting: long may that continue. For the time being, though, this excellent short will do very nicely thank you.

Hot Flash plays in the Annecy Animation Festival which is taking place in a special online edition this year right now. It can be found in the the Official Shorts 3 programme. No trailer or clip available, sadly.



Annecy Animation Festival special online edition:

Monday, June 15th to Tuesday, June 30th.

Festival trailer:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *