“Rosa” by Jesus Orellana

For the past year Jesus Orellana’s epic sci-fi short Rosa has been winning awards at festivals and attracting attention in Hollywood (it’s already in development to be a live-action feature). The short was created by Barcelona-based Orellana with “no budget” and took a twelve months to produce. What’s all the fuss about? It’s now online:


  • http://oyetoons.deviantart.com Seni

    Pretty darn impressive!

  • http://www.jinhienlau.com jinnaboy

    What’s all the fuss about indeed. It pains me to watch these kinda short films where months or even years of effort go into making fluff. all those fancy angles and rendering can’t hide 6 minutes of nothingness, sure aesthetically it’s “cyberpunk” but does it say anything about humanity’s relationship with technology ? are there any thematic resonance for the existence for this piece ? zero. We get a lot of spin kicks. that took months and months and months to accomplish.

    It just reminds me of when I was 12 and me and my brother reenacted Playstation game openings. we get a few immature visceral highs from it, but that’s all it is. Aesthetic purely for the purpose for aesthetics (and not very original aesthetics i might add, yes. we’ve all seen ghost in the shell and played the new deus ex) to make young boys go “cooooooooooool” this is the reason people mock the CGI industry.

    and no, im not gonna give it any leniency because one person worked really hard for it. Hey, this other guy i know has collected his boogers for the past 40 years. thats also a lot of effort, but meh

    ps. oh yeah, why did they keep spin kicking when the dude had a gun all along. also, come to think of it, if you’re a walking hunk of super advanced amalgamation of technological achievement, wouldnt you i dunno…. do a lazer blast or sumthing instead of kung fuing each other ?

    • lanabon

      Oh, Jinnaboy, I would like to give you a hug. Your comment is so spot on. We live in the age of mediocrity, so no wonder why Hollywood like this. Jesus Juice and Bloody Mary, I almost fall asleep after the first minute! But who I am to argue with BLOODY DISGUSTING who said – I try to quote here – “EPIC”.

    • http://www.michaelspornanimation.com/splog/ Michael Sporn

      You said it.

    • http://step-henmiddleton.blogspot.com/ Peave

      I wouldn’t discredit the concept of the film just because it doesn’t serve the ideas on a plate for you. Sometimes a good short film will ask questions that leaves your imagination to fill in the blanks; where are we? why is she here? who is behind all this? what is the significance of her blood turning to roses? It’s certainly a comment on the relationship between technology and nature.

      If thats not enough then whats wrong with a film being beautiful for the sake of being beautiful? I dislike motion capture and the majority of CG mainstream products as much as the next man, but films like this are pushing the artistic boundaries of CGI.

      Plus it is incredible that it’s the work of one man, it’s a completely personal project, his vision on the screen. Let’s give you the same time and technology and see the thematic resonance of your film.

      • tgentry

        I’ll give you one thing… it is impressive that it’s the work of one person. I take issue with everything else you said. As Randy perfectly summed up below, this is just a cliche fest devoid of any meaning. It’s the storyteller’s responsibility to provide meaning to a story. Things can be left open to interpretation, but there has to be -something- there to begin with for the audience to ponder. I know the answers to all the questions you asked above: because the director thought it looked cool. That’s it. It doesn’t get any deeper than that.

        I’m not discrediting the concept because it’s not served on a plate for me, I’m discrediting it because there’s not a single thing in here that doesn’t feel like it was lifted directly out of every mediocre video game that’s come out in the last 20 years. I would have been far more impressed with a two minute long -story- instead of a ten minute long demo reel. But again, as a demo reel, it IS a -resounding- success. For that I tip my hat to the creator.

      • http://www.jinhienlau.com jinnaboy

        As a matter of fact Peave, I am in the process of reviving and rewriting a script I’ve worked on for 2 years and is gathering a team and writing up a proposal to get funding from the Australian Screen Commision. So once everything is in place I’ll keep you posted about the progress.

        I assure you sometimes you have to take more into account then “HEY BACKFLIP KICKS LOOK COOL IN SLOW MOTION” to truly start working a film. But that’s just my belief.

    • Kristofer Pettersson

      I’ve been looking for quite some time for anyone with an intelligent view on humanities relationship with technology. It is easy to criticize any expression attempting to give a holistic perspective (like a feeling) on the future of human kind and technology. Much easier than actually expressing something. I find it almost offensive to read comments like yours where there are no concrete evidence that your point of view is better despite that you don’t even bring an counter example to support this view. Here is a beautiful composition, with excellent detail, trend breaking execution and stunning innovation, yet you fart it in the face with a pointless attitude of “i know there is better”. Where is there anything better? Please show us the light.

    • Eggman

      While I admire the technical proficiency of this film I like many of you cannot see the point in this film. All style no substance, no heart and to me it’s merely a cut scene from a generic post apocalyptic video game that all look the same.

      Like a few people it pained me to watch it. It is indeed an epic achievement but why, to get a Hollywood deal and earn top dollar, well it was worth it then…

      All i could think of was the line from British sit-com Phoenix Nights:
      “Ever kissed a girl son?”

  • http://juan-bauty.blogspot.com Juan Bauty

    Brilliant, i think the “unperfect” factor isn’t important when this is the FIRST work from ONE person only, across an entire year, with 0 budget. It’s really impressive.

  • tgentry

    I was thinking to myself “please, please, please don’t be what I think this is…” That hope died as soon as Badass Three Point Landing Stance #1 appeared — with two characters at once no less.

    Another visually impressive but completely meaningless exercise in action cliches and empty storytelling. Who are these “characters”? Why are they fighting? Are slo-mo nature shots supposed to be “deep” or something? Who are the people that gave this an award? And who can I write to get 10 of my life minutes back?

  • Randy

    Oh, wow…..another 6 minutes of Punk Cyber Robo Edward Scissorhands chick gets stuck in Blade Runner Universe and uses Terminator Metroid Prime scanner eyes to kill Dune-worldish bad guy/thing/creature who resides in Dungeons and Dragons world filled with broken doll-like parts and skeletons and uses flashback, cyber punk DOS based computers (like it’s 1989 or something) to watch her and eventually engages robot girl creature. who wears too much makeup and Tron outfit, in Matrix slow-time Kung Fu type fighting.

    Wow, that’s fresh. NOT.

    This thing is EVERY Science Fiction cliche thrown into a pot and stirred. YAWN.

    Why bother?

    • goleenStreet

      i love how people can criticize outstanding work like this just because they’ve read a few film books. I’m envious of Jesus Orellana – because i too think that if i had the same motivation/skill/talent – i could probably come up with something better. But I know I dont, and you probably dont either.

  • Keith

    I agreed with every word that jinnaboy posted.

  • http://merks-art.blogspot.com/ Tim Merks

    Beautifully designed, clean direction and great pacing.

    I love this one

  • http://benjamindrake.blogspot.com Benjamin Drake

    “Attracting attention in Hollywood” is a pretty dubious honour.

  • Jez Hall

    If I ever EVER see another slow motion fight scene. Or THAT landing. I’ll scoop my own eye balls out.

  • Lola

    I liked it! I wanted to love it but.. My brain started to blank out once they started hopping over roofs. I wish there was more time to take in the beauty of the world you created, everything went by very quickly.

  • eldodo

    Well, that should obviously get this guy a ton of well deserved job offers in the industry. Hearing Hollywood’s gonna make a movie about somebody’s portfolio is a bit silly, though.

    I actually don’t think this film is just a vacuous videogame cutscene-grade exercise; but it does try so very hard to give that impression. I can hardly remember a movie getting in its own way quite as much as this one does; ultimately, it just takes too much effort eating through the visual obnoxiety to actually care is there’s some substance beneath.

    (After refreshing and reading some comments) I have to say don’t believe there’s much room to interpretation or “meaning” outside what’s just shown to us, but the general storytelling is so blurred by overstylization that it does look as if there might be; this is the plot as I understand it:

    * So there’s this future derelict world in which natural life has ceased to exist.
    * You get this two kinds of robots: plant robots, and insect robots; the former being consistently smacked around by the latter.
    * The ROSA (as in SCIENCE for rose) awakens and gets hunted down by two butterfly robots. It kills one, and the other promptly gives chase. We also see that ROSA’s blood totally generates roses.
    * After some running, ROSA finds a garden created by its fellow plant robots’ corpses and, before getting finally killed, understands its purpose is to be scattered and destroyed by the insect robots to recreate vegetal life.

    The problem is that the film doesn’t really tell you all this. The plotline most likely to stick to us is:

    *There’s these good and bad robots. And they fight. And the good girl robot kills the bad girl robot. And the bad guy robot chases and kills the good girl robot. And there’s roses and we’re in Hong Kong or whatever.

    Take the other impression; in this shallow by-the-numbers industry we have made for ourselves, there’s far worse storylines out there, and this one has some potential for making some mildly compelling statement about the role of passion inside purpose; even the fully CG nature of the film sort of adds to the underlying concept and hints some actual artistic vision, even if it’s most likely accidental. It’s the lack of personality or storytelling craftmanship beyond the ability to just regurgitate every visual cliché EVER what really undermines any transcendence.

  • http://www.sneezemeaway.com Ryan G

    So eventually down the road, I want to direct feature films, mainly animated films. I try really hard on my first film to get something that tells a good story, and sure my first film is not without its faults, but I felt that my story has the heart that I wanted it to have. It gets released online, and let’s face it, doesn’t have the pull I would have liked. But no matter, I learn from my mistakes and now I am trying again with something that has more of a unique visual style.

    Then I watch films like this, with its polished visuals, devoid of any real story, sexy fighting chicks, a moody grades and action scenes practically lifted shot for shot from video games and other manga, and I then read that because of this one film, the guy is getting Hollywood attention.

    I know, I shouldn’t be thinking like this…but hey what good is a comment section without at least a little venting ;)

    But to be sure, I still am impressed by the amount of work this one person did, if in fact it really was only one person.

  • evan

    They already made this slap-fest into a movie, it’s called The Matrix, and it wasn’t very good.

    Fight scenes with people slapping each other aren’t interesting, unless you’re Jackie Chan. They’re laughable, which ironically, Chan understands.

    Slick graphics, meaningless fights, and uninteresting shallow characters are not epic. Seven Samurai is epic and has none of this.

    • http://deoclicianocgiportfolio.wordpress.com/ Deocliciano

      Please, please!

      You didn’t see the story?

      OH, are you fed up by the ” There IS no God ” message?

      I saw A world were Machines rule, and there is no solace for the flesh carrying beings.

      That preoccupation predates Matrix.

  • http://deoclicianocgiportfolio.wordpress.com/ Deocliciano

    Nature breed you, NOT god!
    Men (women included) create Gods.
    The irony, or tragedy IF you like, is that in the END we end up fearing it, to the extent of killing in its name.

    Will robots be more human ( whatever it means ) than US, while we become more robot like?

    Funny, NO?

  • http://somebodyelseslightbox.blogspot.com/ Dani Boy

    If this were a Hollywood movie, I’d have walked out, and I’m not being flippant. I found this short film very boring, which is a mighty shame considering the vast amount of time and effort put into it. Over-stylized tripe? Maybe a little flippant..

  • Bob_l

    I’m confused. Those of us who regularly play videogames see art direction and animation at this level all the time. What’s the big deal?

    • Mike Johnson

      My guess would be that the ‘big deal’ is that this is the result of ONE man’s effort, and that it looks pretty much as good as a video game put together by MULTIPLE people. This man obviously has talent, and passion, and I would enjoy seeing anything he cares to produce in the future.

  • akira

    no budget? i guess they stole the software? and they must work for free? no wonder they’re getting so many job offers.

    • http://kelseighn.blogspot.com Kelseigh

      Maybe they used blender, like the folks that made Sintel: http://www.sintel.org/

      • John

        Yeah, it was a combination of Blender and Daz Studio according to this interview with the animator: http://www.shortoftheweek.com/2011/11/16/interview-with-jesus-orellana-rosa/ The project was produced on an iMac that was replaced with a Mac Pro in middle of production, which is not cheap, so even though this short was a personal project, I doubt he worked for free in his main line of work as graphic novel illustrator.

  • Toonio

    Very impressive job, if a feature ever gets the green light, I hope they keep the looks of the shorts and don’t make it look like underworld.

    It may have cliches all over the place but you have to praise the guy on costume and environment designs.

  • http://kelseighn.blogspot.com Kelseigh

    I spent pretty much the whole film alternately wishing the film would look into the reasons why the world (or at least this city) had died, and cursing the bloody green filters that made everything hard to see.

    Yes, it’s technically proficient, and the non-green bits looked wonderful, but you’re setting this fairly generic fight in an environment full of potential storylines, and opting instead for bullet time, three-point landings and chases down identical alleyways.

    The “robots turn into bushes” thing really confused me too, right out of left field that was.

  • Bud

    OK for a student film. But characterless, and without charm, wit, or good design. And what’s with the fear of COLOR?

    Other than that? Meh…it’s like a million other mo-cap things out there.

  • E. Nygma

    Not into it at all. looks like a bad video game.

    The cyberpunk thing has been done so much that you have to have a really fresh concept and idea to make it work anymore….at least I think so.

    As much as they try video games are not movies. They shouldn’t try to be. I will pass on this kind of stuff every time. I have seen Ghost in the machine and The Matrix…why do I need this? Also, a green filter will cheapen a movie 9 times out of 10 unless you are David Fincher.

  • Mark the witt

    Those matrix style landings are used in almost everything now! Please stop!

    • jay dee

      Oh man, that is the exact thing that pissed me off about this beyond the annoying lack of exposition. There has got to be another way to land!

      That said, of course he probably couldn’t hire a fight choreographer, but that’s no excuse. Go to blockbuster and rent some old Jackie Chan movies.

  • Mike

    Will this be available for Playstation?
    What? You mean this isn’t…?

    Oh.

  • http://wix.com/ericrowsey/papertiger Tyrone Sakimoto

    I was impressed with the detail, and I did feel concern for Rosa when she was being stalked. However, I began to lose interest somewhere in the middle of the “War of the Rosas” if you will. I also didn’t understand the reason behind the running mascara – especially if she was a Perhaps if she had escaped the citadel area only to find several primitive humans worshipping it as a shrine or something like that, it have been more interesting to me. Orellana seems to be a promising animator with a great amount of talent. Perhaps with the proper writers this artist will become very successful.
    I notice that there are too many stories in Hollywood now that have weak storylines. Perhaps that is because our lives have also become weak storyboards driven by what impresses everyone else – or more so – what has been impressed upon us.
    Good luck to everyone.

  • dbenson

    Once upon a time this would have been three minutes of cel animation, beginning with the female emerging from a pod and ending with her blood producing a new plant and pod. Still somewhat cryptic, but clear about what it’s giving us to chew on.

  • Mapache

    Yeah. Incredible vissuals and shoot. But how long can you see that action secquence without loesing your interest.

  • Sleezy Exec

    If only she would went out with the guy, none of this would of happened.

  • JinnaboyIsDumb

    I would imagine that Battle Angel Alita, whenever James Cameron gets around to making it, would feature characters similar to this.

    Oh, and jesus christ are there a ton of jaded commenters here on Cartoon Brew:( You guys can’t appreciate a short like this for establishing such great atmosphere? You DEMAND it have a higher purpose – the kind that would be nearly impossible to do in any meaningful way in the time slot allotted, no less? Get over yourselves. It’s a short film, not a film. And sometimes, guys just want to make action. Stop being so bitter, people.

    • http://zeteos.blogspot.com/ Mick

      There is an even split on cartoon brew. Jaded nerds with unquenchable expectations and contrary apologists. It basically falls to the type of day people are having as to their stand point.

    • http://kelseighn.blogspot.com Kelseigh

      Short films can have story too.

    • tgentry

      The director had 10 MINUTES to fit in a story beyond fight, fight, slo-mo butterfly, fight, fight, shoot. I’ve seen better stories in 20 seconds of animation.

  • hitface

    I thought visually, it was very beautiful, but the characters and story didnt grab me. It just seems to be another hot chick in skin tight clothes fighting stuff in space!1! It’s very impressive that only one person did this, but still..

  • Gerard de Souza

    Two types of short films I do not want to see anymore:
    The extended chase sequence and the extended fight sequence. Adding a twist at the end does not a story make. And it’s not just this example but many more,from many schools and individuals.
    The cliches in this are particularily pronounced as I just saw the Jumbie “trailer” on CB’c FB page. Same kind of stuff.
    Not to say it is one genre either. I’ve had it up to here [past my head] with slapsticky cartoony chase fly-throughs.
    I can see why Hollywood wants this idea; if they can expand upon Rosa’s story like a Logan’s run, and we can feel for her without it being on extended fight-chase, there may be something….but nahhh. They probably won’t.

  • RichardInVA

    [Comment removed by editors. Per our commenting guidelines, "Be considerate and respectful of others in the discussion. Defamatory, rude, or unnecessarily antagonistic comments will be deleted." If you have a criticism, be constructive and mature."]

  • Van

    Nice looking eye candy and great effort…but for goodness sake, can the movie/entertainment industry stop using that Jet Li/Matrix landing pose? Yes, it’s the one where the person lands crouching on their 2 feet, with one hand on the floor and one raised up (4:00 mark). That move summarizes the whole movie if you want to talk about the epitome of cliches.

  • Jim

    Wow, reading these angry and bitter posts that are essentially saying “THIS FILMS SUCKS!!” and not offering any type of support or CONSTRUCTIVE criticism to the film maker makes me very sad.

    We should be building up our PEERS (yes, these people are your PEERS no matter how highly you think of yourself) and supporting their work and not tearing them down and calling them talentless hacks.

    • Gerard de Souza

      Not to take away from Jesus’ single-handed immense talent (and he deserves every success that comes his way as a result) but I think for the most part the comments have been constructive;
      People don’t want a series of cinemaic cliches;
      people want a story.
      I read no one, not even in sub-text, call anyone a “talentless hack”.

    • Chris M

      This isn’t a cheerleading section, and people have clearly said why they didn’t take to this particular short – all for similar reasons.
      Many also mentioned that for Jesus to have completed this on his own in a year is quite a feat.

      See the earlier Emperor’s New Clothes post if you want some proof of positive reaction.

      Credit where it’s due, simple as.

      • http://zeteos.blogspot.com/ Mick

        the lad is clearly an immensely talented and tenacious fellow. I feel the criticism comes from the seemingly obvious check list of…

        -blade runner, future cityscape replete with faux japanese symbols
        - matrixy slow mo fight scene and THAT landing
        - parkour for it’s own sake
        - nature juxtaposed with technology
        - cyber punk/ ethereal goth attitude

        It looks great and for one man to pull it off is a lesson to us all. So it needs a more original approach to story, in that respect his next will be much improved I am sure

  • http://animationreview.wordpress.com/ Gijs Grob

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one disliking this film, despite the obvious talent that went into it. I totally agree with Jinnaboy, Randy and others: why wasting so much effort and talent on such a shallow, empty story? Pity.

  • Sage

    *Sigh* Why are so many talented animators pouring all their energies into design projects and not films?

  • DJM

    Why a live action film?!?!

  • Courtney

    this………….is………………….. awesome.