Clutch Diamond Clutch Diamond

As we await its Sing and Minions sequels, Illumination is releasing a series of new films that mark a new departure for the company.

The studio behind Despicable Me and The Secret Life of Pets has partnered with L.A. streetwear brand Brain Dead to produce five animated shorts under the banner Mutant Sequencer. Each was created by a Brain Dead artist working with “complete artistic control.” The resulting series is eclectic in tone, storytelling, and visual style.

The films have been dropping on Brain Dead’s Youtube channel, with three released at the time of writing:

Gremlin Foundry by Jordan Speer:

Clutch Diamond by Devin Flynn:

It is Just the Night Winds Waving the Tree Branches by Darío Alva:

The remaining two shorts are created by Pete Sharp and Steve Smith. Brain Dead describe the series as their “first foray into a ‘media-first’ project, in which they create the media before the merch.”

The films were produced with Illumination Labs, a division that “explores alternative and boundary-pushing short-form animated content geared towards an older audience.” Sure enough, the shorts are pitched closer to bizarro Adult Swim territory than Illumination’s features.

This is a new venture for Illumination, but the studio has produced dozens of family-oriented shorts for theatrical, tv, and home video releases, many of them based on its franchises. Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri has spoken of his interest in short filmmaking: in a keynote speech at 2015’s Annecy Festival, he cited shorts and online distribution as key ways to spot and develop talent.

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