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Tin House Reels: Manolo Moreno

This week’s Tin House Reels short is Manolo Moreno’s riff on ukulele cheese, “Silly Little Hate Song.” The inspiration behind the film is almost as charming as the final product.

“Around seven years ago,” Manolo recalled, “I wanted a tiny guitar so the portability would counteract my clumsiness and the size would be easy to store. My sister found out, so for my birthday, she got me a ukulele instead. I learned it, performed with it a few times, recorded with it once, and wrote a few love songs for people, but mostly it was just a showcase for dust. What puts me over the edge is this dumb smile that people have when playing [the ukulele]. I wondered what my current version of an obnoxiously cute ukulele song would be, and I realized it would be full of hate. The song’s premise was based on Tom T. Hall’s ‘I Love’ and the scene is a direct homage to the ukulele scene in The Jerk, where Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters walk through the beach serenading each other with ‘Tonight You Belong to Me.’ I think that scene is one of the first moments in pop culture that made the ukulele love song fashionable.”

Since I discovered his work a few years ago, I have often thought of Manolo as a beacon in the world of short filmmaking. As someone new to the art form, I was taken by his bitter but beautiful digital illustrations and with the comic animation he had done for sites like Vulture’s  “Pop Culture Memory Lane”. I fell in love with what makes his animation swing: honest body movement, witty sound, and the right color.

I am happy to say that those elements are front and center in his latest work.

For this project, Manolo says that “after creating each element, I used After Effects to do my lazy version of rotoscoping where, traditionally, one would trace over each frame of film. In my version of rotoscoping, I float and stretch shapes over elements of a composition, so that the nuances of realistic movement I like are emphasized. With this video, I get to use a lot of the media I like: narrative, music, motion, painting, and comedy. In the content I get to celebrate love, hate, nonsense, and rhythm.”

Manolo Moreno is freelance illustrator/animator who mills about New York’s comedy scene. He’s currently working on b2b media for a medical device.

Eileen Connors  provided additional vocals on “Silly Little Hate Song.”

Tin House Reels is a weekly feature on The Open Bar dedicated to the craft of short filmmaking. Curated by Ilana Simons, the series features videos by artists who are forming interesting new relationships between images and words.
We are now accepting submissions for Tin House Reels. Please upload your videos of 15 minutes or less to Youtube or Vimeo and send a link of your work to tinhousereels@gmail.com. You may also send us a file directly.


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