This film explores our desire to "be perfect" based on popular images in the media.
Scott V. Swearingen, Art and Technology
Todd Fechter, Design
Ian Butterfield, Art and Technology
"Gladden" is a sad but humorous short story. The story was partly inspired by an excerpt from the classic book, "The Box Man" by Kobo Abe. In Abe's book there is a subculture of people who live in cardboard boxes. They live separate from the mainstream and don't worry about who or what they are.
"Gladden" is a commentary on the daily bombardment of popular images in our culture. It explores how these images shape us, turn us into things or hurt us and it probes our common quest to change, correct, or redefine ourselves based on this pressure. More importantly, it concludes that we ultimately cannot obtain perfection.
The character Gladden is very unhappy with his image. He decides to cover himself with cut-out magazine pictures. These pictures are "ideal" images of men who seem perfect. Gladden tries to hide the man that he is and recreate himself, but only on the surface. When his friend Lenny stops by to visit, Gladden hides himself in a box. This shocks him back to reality. Afterward, Gladden is faced with needing to decide who he is and who he wants to become.
"Gladden" received the 29th Annual Student Academy Awards - Certificate of Regional Achievement (June 2002). Bestowed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, prizes are awarded in 5 categories: alternative (experimental), animation, documentary and narrative and foreign films.
Completed in 2002.