The History of America by MK12

History of America

Kansas City-based motion graphics/design collective MK12 recently completed their long-awaited epic short The History of America. I, among many others, have been curious about this film ever since they posted a trailer of it online a couple years back. The film, a combo of CG and rotoscope animation with live-interludes, is a self-described “psychedelic Western space opera,” presenting an alternate American history of warring cowboys and astronauts.

Both streaming and downloadable versions of the short are available at The film is certainly a curious effort. The pacing of the story and overall tone of the film are very “live-action,” due in large part to the reliance on live actors, though for the most part MK12 manages to dress the roto with enough artistry to make it palatable to the senses. The film’s ultimate downfall is its half hour length, which is far too sluggish for the amount of story it offers. I can’t help but think this would have been much more entertaining and effective as a tightly edited fifteen-minute short. Still, one has to give them kudos for their ambitiousness, both graphically and conceptually, and their willingness to tackle such a large project inbetween commercial gigs. The film has been selected to screen next month at Sundance.

MK12 has a website about the film at and there’s also a recent interview with the MK12 crew in New York Magazine in which they talk about their ideas behind the film.