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CBTV Student Fest 7: Always, Only, Ever

Always, Only, Ever was created by Barbara Benas at the Columbus College of Art and Design. There’s so much to like about the film including Benas’s expert handling of color, design, and storytelling, but what stood out above all else was the quality of her animation, both technically and emotionally. From the tender, drunken behavior of the main character to the exuberant choreography of the women, the animation in Always, Only, Ever carries us into a world that is both familiar and magical.

Barbara wrote the following about the making of the film:

My principle for making animation is to make stuff that I’d want to see, and to never be boring or too serious. For my thesis I wanted to push all of my skills farther than what I was comfortable with. I figured if it was going to be easy, then it wasn’t worth doing.

Coming up with the story was a process of figuring out the stuff I really wanted to animate and making it all fit together. Drunk, sad guys, saucy women and dancing were all on my list. My favorite things to animate are boisterous and lively things, so I made sure I had some of that in there so I wouldn’t get bored. Though I realized after I was finished that I had more fun doing the subtle stuff! There were also parts like cleanup and background design that I was dreading, and I ended up enjoying doing pretty much everything. Even with all of the pre-production work, I wasn’t sure exactly what the end result was going to look like. The whole process was full of unknowns for me, and it’s gratifying to find out that I can do it, and that it’s actually a lot of fun.

The film would have been nothing without the help of my two friends Michael Lovett and Tyler Mele. Michael composed the music for the film, and Tyler provided the voices.

Visit Barbara Benas’ website.

  • bob

    Thanks for a wonderfully honest and surprising animation. I love your imagery and drawing style. Looking forward to more.

  • Terrific, great everything I love about animation.

  • Jay Sabicer

    I think what is a telling sign of an excellent work is eagerly waiting, or re-watching parts of this short while it downloads to one’s computer. I was engaged with the character and his life viewed through beer goggles. You can see the care taken in the subtle bits of animation. I can see this short being very successful on the festival circuit. Excellent job, Ms. Benas!

  • diego

    amazing short, I loved it.

  • Dave Knott

    Really mature work! This subject matter in the hands of a student (or anyone else for that matter) usually is packed with cliched acting and a bunch of crass burp and fart gags. Kudos to you in going for the story of a heart-sick guy who just happens to be drunk. I felt for the lil bugger. And it was nice to see why the grumpy bartender was so grumpy. At first I thought it was because he was tired of the drunk’s antics, but there’s that look of concern he gives the passed out fella near the end; he cares about his customer and is angry at the chick who broke his heart. Really nice stuff.

  • Joe S.

    I really like it, but the sound was a bit off…

  • What a fantastic piece! Love the style, it’s unique and fitting

  • Loved the colors and the fluid animation, very well done.
    Oh, and this was done in Flash, so eat that, all you Flash haters!

  • Jorge Garrido

    Wow! Absolutely great use of the animation medium to tell a story! You could never do this kind of thing, for example, the colour shifts, in any other medium in this way.

  • Mac

    This short is really great. I love the world you created with this.

  • Now this is an animated short. It has a unique look. This film could only be made by Ms. Benas. Truly visionary. My only question is why is the bartender angry in the beginning?

  • Genius. that line quality!! is so premium

  • Hello! Thanks everybody for the kind words, it’s really encouraging

  • It’s fantastic, Barbara. That little furry drunk dude is a work of art.

  • solid piece, barbara. awesome drawings, great design, fun animation, creepy music, and a crying shower scene. that spells a perfect movie to me.

  • Wonderful work! Don’t you love how the best combination of originality and expertise nowadays comes from animation students?

  • Overall I enjoyed and admired it. I did not “get” the story on first viewing.

    My major hesitation is about how the perfect flatness of the color fills becomes distracting after a while. I begin seeing abstract shapes rather than characters. Some element of imperfection might need to be introduced. Perhaps the decision to sometimes not draw interior lines compounds the flatness problem.

    Also the color choices make it hard to read at a times. The preview image that shows before you hit play on the video is an example.

    But now that I “get it” I like it more. Unlike most student films it’s not glacially paced.

  • Paul K.

    Brilliant! This was an highpoint of the 2010 CCAD Student Show earlier this year– I’m glad it has achieved international visibility with CBTV.

  • Sandypants

    I love this, and… I gotta say… it’s really sexy.

  • Rafael Rosado

    Barbara, I always thought you were the real deal, and this film confirms it!
    You have a bright future ahead of you.

  • Brooke Keesling

    Love the color and design…all of it :)

  • Ben

    Arg, I would love to do the sound design on something like this. The animation is great. I love the whole thing from a visual standpoint, but the sound design has some shortcomings (some visuals need to be accompanied by sound, voice track is distorted, etc…). If those little issues with the sound track were resolved this would be such a great short.

  • Lovely.

  • That. That was outstanding.

    It’s beautiful, it’s moving and it’s believable.