On December 11th, the Frank E. Abney III directed and by Paige Johnstone produced animated short film Canvas came to Netflix. The film tells the story of an African-American grandfather and painter who has lost his creative inspiration after the loss of his wife. We find him waking up alone next to the empty spot where he wife once laid as he is forced to embrace his new reality.

Years later, it would be another woman in his life – his young and curious granddaughter – who would help him find his creative touch again. Through revisit old paintings he’s able to reconnect with his lost love one more time, reigniting his creative spark.

Although the film is centered around an African-American family, it has a story with universal themes, including loss and the need to start over again, that can connect with any viewer. The Black community has been calling for stories that not only shed light on the Black experience (like the Oscar winning animated short Hair Love), but on stories that humanize Black people and demonstrate that in many ways we are the same as everyone else. Canvas does exactly that.

What also stands out is the spot on animated depiction of Black people, from their body shapes to the coarseness and texture of their hair. Clearly, much care was given to the level of detail given to depicting the characters on screen.

At nine minutes in length, and with a potential Oscar nomination in the cards, this is a movie that anyone who loves a feel good story should take the time to watch.

Click the header above to watch the trailer for Canvas.


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