Sticky (2013) – By Philip Smolen

Many years ago, Lord Howe Island (a tiny island that lies between Australia and New Zealand) was the home of a particular stick insect that could be found nowhere else. The bugs were quite large and prolific and were a common site to visitors. But in 1918, rats were inadvertently introduced to the island and within a few years had consumed the island’s entire population of stick bugs. Since that time, they have not been found anywhere else, but back in 2001 a group of scientists miraculously found a small population on a tiny, craggy mountainous island known as Ball’s Pyramid, which only had one small outcropping of vegetation. Scientists couldn’t believe that the extinct species was holding precariously on to life at this one location and they set about trying to save the species from total extinction.

“Sticky” is a 19 minute animated short film from Australian film maker Jilli Rose. It’s a phenomenal and enchanting scientific tale that speaks to the amazing wonders of this planet and man’s intense efforts to save one type of life form. Rose’s animation is brilliant and she vividly uses light and shadow to evoke an emotional response. Her color choices are mesmerizing as well and draw you in to the simple storyline and magnetically hold you captive until the film’s conclusion. Rather than telling the story blandly with static interviews, Rose’s animated movie casts a haunting spell. “Sticky” is both a dazzling animated tale and a scientific success story and proves that art and science can coexist together to each other’s benefit.

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