Hike is an animated short film focusing on the relationship between a mother and child, gently exploring the emotional turmoil of grief, memory and growth in the wake of a tragedy. It follows a young teenager honouring the memory of their mother while connecting with nature, ultimately discovering catharsis and resolution.
Monkeystack’s Hike was selected as one of the finalists across Australia and New Zealand for the second year of Epic Games’ South Australian Film Corporation-supported Unreal Engine Short Film Challenge.
AWARDS & ACCOLADES
World Premiere – Adelaide Film Festival
Best Animation Short Film (under 30 minutes) Finalist – New York Animation Film Awards (NYAFA)
Short Film Finalist – Australian Effects & Animation Festival (AEAF) Awards
Best Animated Short Winner – Hong Kong International Short Film Festival
Honourable Mention – Los Angeles Animation Festival
Official Selection – Toronto Lift-Off Film Festival
Official Selection – New York CineFest
Special Mention – UK Seasonal Short Film Festival (Spring)
Monkeystack partnered with emerging director, Alexander Rodeghiero-Smith (he/them), to produce Hike as a 4-minute animated short film within a tight timeframe of ~8 weeks as part of the Unreal Engine Short Film Challenge.
As a studio, we strive to support and provide opportunities to a diverse range of emerging talent. The Unreal Engine Short Film Challenge presented the opportunity to work with Alexander, producing Hike as their directorial debut in line with their focus to create story-rich works that explore unique ideas.
Alexander Rodeghiero-Smith – Co-Director, Original Concept & Story Creator
The original inspiration for Hike came from a number of personal experiences of Alex, namely the loss of their Nonno and Nonna (grandparents) and the birth of their niece. Alex wanted to explore the relationship between memory and grief, as well as the catharsis the passage of time can provide.
In coming up with the concept for this piece, Alex referred to the work of Studio Ghibli and particularly the concept of ‘Ma’ – stillness, and allowing characters to simply exist in space as an inspiration.
Justin Wight – Director & Producer
Hike allowed the Monkeystack team to flex their creative abilities and demonstrate their capability in using the Unreal Engine for visual storytelling alongside the unique opportunity to nurture the talent of emerging director Alex Rodeghiero-Smith.
As active members of the creative industry, we are constantly seeking opportunities to grow the talent pool of artists in South Australia and to fill the gap between education and employment. The Unreal Engine Short Film Challenge grant has supported us in hiring two graduates of Flinders University as animators for this project and given Alex the rare opportunity to be involved as a creative lead with an experienced team.