More than anything else, what signals the tension in the BESTIA trailer, is the sound track. It builds as the trailer progresses, making it almost obvious that what originally seemed like a mundane snapshot of life would soon feature both a knife (twice) and a gun by the end. Inspired by real events, BESTIA, by Hugo Covarrubias, enters the life of a secret police agent in the military dictatorship in Chile.

Ingrid is working in the Chilean Intelligence Directorate (DINA) in 1975. Her relationship with her dog, her body, her fears, and frustrations reveal a macabre fracture in her mind and a country. “To conceptualize the short film we based ourselves on a dollhouse aesthetic,” director, Hugo Covarrubias told us. “It is a character with a face that resembles being made of ceramic or porcelain, which is directly related to a German imaginary of old German or Eastern European dolls.”

The effect is both soothing in a nostalgic way, and as the pacing moves towards more disturbing, a bit creepy (in the way dolls can be).“The facial expressionlessness provided by porcelain turned out to be very consistent with the protagonist’s psychology. For this we decided to generate that aspect based on different resins so that the heads are a little lighter than real porcelain. The brightness of the faces contrasts with the cardboard materiality in the sets and props.”

The piece comes off with adeptness, but there are always challenges along the way. “The most important challenge,” Covarrubias told us, “was dealing with such a delicate subject in animation. Ultimately, that contrast greatly helped the premise of presenting human evil and its contradictions in an aesthetically beautiful way.”

The film had its world premiere in June 2021 in the official selection of the Annecy festival, where it won the Festivals Connexion award, and in July it won the award for the Best Latin American Short Film at the Chilemonos festival. We wish it warm congrats and look forward to seeing how it fares in the rest of the year’s showings.