'Hand,' Tsz-wing Ho 'Hand,' Tsz-wing Ho

Tsz-wing Ho’s 2021 student film Hand is now available to stream after an impressive international festival run. Across 2021-2022, it screened at dozens of events including Ottawa, Zagreb, Odense Int’l Film Festival, Supernova (where it won the grand prize for student short), and the London Int’l Animation Festival (best abstract animation winner).

Describing the film’s origins on her website, Hong Kong-based animator and illustrator Ho says:

The idea of the work is to present the weird beauty of hand creatures composed of gestures, geometric shapes, and abstract patterns in order to create a surreal journey for the audience. The creatures undergo different transformations such as phenakistoscopes in synchrony with the music.

The film, made at City University of Hong Kong’s School of Creative Media, features accompaniment in the form of Danish musician Mads Lindgren’s “Sekktortjek Ft. Tone.” The short, like the song, is divided into two distinct parts with the film’s aesthetics changing as the music dramatically evolves.

To start, kaleidoscopic black-and-white shots of waving hands overlap and disappear into one another as echo-y guitar and ambient sounds plays behind a wispy singing voice. Halfway through, the beat kicks in and color, so much color, is added into the animation, which similarly picks up its pace, always pulsing and shifting to the electric rhythm of the song.

Ho created the film using rotoscoping to draw the hand sequences in Photoshop before inserting the multi-colored elements using After Effects for editing and compositing the film.

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