If you are close with your mother (or any female adult figure in your life), animated short contender, New Moon, will make the hairs on the back of your head stand up. Using lush blues, greens, and blacks, real-life partners, Raúl and Colman Domingo, have created a beautiful love letter to Colman’s mother. New Moon deserves to be in the hunt for Best Animated Short Film.
New Moon conjures up a very specific feeling. The film is set mostly on the porch of the home of a young Black boy and his mother on a sweaty, humid night in West Philadelphia. You imagine that they spent innumerable nights speaking on wishes and unfulfilled dreams. When we are younger, we don’t realize that we are silently and subconsciously collecting details about our parents, and New Moon brings those memories flooding back as Colman Domingo guides us.
New Moon stays true to its theater roots but including small details like seeing the moon hanging on a string or seeing how the porch was built on a set. That connection taps back to the original play’s roots, and we are reminded of how much this remains in Colman’s heart and mind. The pair also revealed how collaborative the venture was with animation artists since they have never played in the medium before. Hearing Colman drop into his mother’s voice gave me chills.
New Moon offers the audience to reminisce about our own relationship with our mothers. Mothers are the first ones who encourage us to dream, and this film brings us quite literally inches away from grasping the stars.