A mother tries to lure her sullen, couch-sitting son away from his video games with the gift of a new puppy. At first, the boy shuns the dog for reasons that are not immediately clear, but the animal soon wins him over. That’s the simple but affecting premise of The Present, a charming, four-minute-long animated film from writer-director Jacob Frey. Exquisitely rendered in a Pixar-esque style, with appealing characters and richly detailed backgrounds, the short has already been making the rounds at film festivals, winning numerous awards in the process, before finding a home on the director’s Vimeo account. Under different circumstances, the film might have made a good supporting feature to accompany Pixar’s Up. The dog in The Present is vaguely reminiscent of Dug, both in appearance and temperament, and Frey’s film tugs at the heartstrings in the classic Pixar fashion.

The Present from Jacob Frey on Vimeo.

Frey’s film is based on a comic strip by the Brazilian cartoonist Fabio Coala. A representative excerpt is presented below. To show any more of the story here would be to deprive readers of the joy of discovery. Still in all, the story is worth experiencing in its original form as well. If the dialogue seems a bit stilted, that is because it has been translated from Portuguese. Tellingly, Frey’s adaptation keeps the talking to a bare minimum. Some recognition should also go to the film’s warm, evocative soundtrack, provided by Zealand.

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[via Boing Boing]