Our latest featured pick is an award-winning Slovenian and Croatian short by Špela Čadež of Slovenia. Beginning in darkness and with what looks to be a dead badger, you know “Nighthawk” is going to be dark in every way when the first spoken line is, “Get the shovel.” But what also strikes you from the start is the adept artwork of the multiplane scenes and then–slowly, the humor in the darkness.

“Nighthawk” opens with the police attempting to clear a country road at night of what they think is a dead animal, but soon realize is a dead drunk one. But the bulk of the eight-minute short is taken up by the surreal twist that happens when the badger wakes up and drunk-drives away, getting more and more slurry as he continues to feast on his vice of choice: rotten pears.

At some point if you still think you’re watching a cute animal short, it will surely dawn on you that the badger’s drunken mutterings and the growing blur of the night road as it moves past, are actually starting to make you pretty uncomfortable. Soon one can’t help but relate to the dangers and crises of the night that await some of us.

The way we are left feeling almost ill by the time the drunken ride is over is a credit to Čadež’s skilled direction. The contest circuit agrees. The film has picked up quite a few prizes including the Grand Prix at the prestigious Animafest Zagreb.

Director: Špela Čadež
Scriptwriters: Gregor Zorc, Špela Čadež
Animators: Zarja Menart, Matej Lavrenčič, Špela Čadež
Editor: Iva Kraljević
Post-production: Mario Kalogjera
Voices: Andrej Nahtigal, Karin Komljanec, Gregor Zorc
Music: Tomaž Grom
Sound design: Johanna Wienert
Producers: Tina Smrekar, Špela Čadež / Finta Film
Co-producer: Vanja Andrijević / Bonobostudio
Co-producer: RTV Slovenija
Financial Support: Slovenian Film Center, Croatian Audiovisual Center