Rabbits Under the Shed
28 Oct 2021
Emmi McIntosh, Darwin Shire, Nolan Bunting
Rabbits Under the Shed is a fun family film that acknowledges a difficult reality for its characters, but also recognises the importance of hope. Made as a student film by multiple collaborators during COVID-19 restrictions, this short film explores a warm-hearted way of finding a place of belonging.
With innovative animation and escapism with nature, this short film focuses on a young girl, Natalie, who comedically runs away “into nature” (her back garden) after an argument with her mother. At the end of Natalie’s garden, Bella the rabbit and her family are anxious to be above ground for long, fearing predators, and express how humans and rabbits are too different from one another. In a neutralised safe space close to the shed, two worlds collide and Natalie ultimately seeks to befriend the rabbit family and live harmoniously with them.
Released onto YouTube earlier this year, Stegner’s film fits well into the ‘YouTube kids’ category with its Watership Down vibes being less threatening and more family friendly. Whilst the rabbits are having to hide away and still search for food, the musical scenes build an optimistic and more hopeful element into the film. Music highlights parallels between Natalie and the rabbits in terms of how they learn to trust each other and overcome their fears through singing, whilst connecting through their differences to make room for everyone – even making room for a bird-of-prey-turned-vegetarian!
Despite being labelled as a short film for children, there is content for adults watching too, parents or not. The more serious themes, such as a commentary on nature, are written in a way that children and adults alike can understand, which is a great writing skill. The accessibility of both animation and script is fantastic and spreads a simple message of acceptance and that being kinder to everyone makes the world a better place.
Natalie’s day of adventure ultimately teaches her something – and teaches the rabbits too.
Rabbits Under the Shed is a delightful short film and promises positive future content for the filmmakers and collaborators involved. It has already been nominated for and won several awards and its success can only continue.
Rabbits Under the Shed is available to watch on YouTube now.