One of my favorite short films I got a chance to view at the HIFF University students screening was SHELL YEAH, directed by Ridge Hirano. SPOILER ALERT: This animation tells the story of a sea turtle’s first day at his new college. He quickly befriends his roommate, a dolphin, and they have a blast playing video games. That is, until a group of other turtles invite him to an exclusive “Turtles only” party. Even though he had promised to spend the night playing video games with his roommate, he decides to attend the party after the encouragement from his roommate. He begins to feel extremely out of place at the party, due to the other types of turtles comparing the differences between then and inflicting stereotypes about him due to him being a sea turtle. He ends up going back home and reuniting with his roommate. After listening to the creator speak about the inspiration behind the film, the deeper meaning becomes very apparent. Hirano described the inspiration stemming from his move to the mainland for college and how he was invited out with his fellow Asian classmates. Once he was at the party all the typical “Hawaii Asian” stereotypes were being said about him and he realized that there can be underlying prejudice even within your own race. The video was visually bright and filled with fun colors and great graphics. It was definitely one of the most uplifting and universally enjoyable short films that was shown at that screening. I personally enjoyed the concept of aquatic animals living everyday human lives, especially as college students. Along with the underlying themes the film was also packed with humor at various times and funny comparisons. It was cool to see how Hirano was able to compare a piece of his college experience in such a unique and creative platform while also having deeper elements and substance that cartoon animation can some times lack. I would definitely be interested in seeing Hirano’s characters and graphics turn into a reoccurring short series, it has a lot of potential and charm to it.