Dane Winn – Ada

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Nearly-silent and haunted by a score like a last breath, Ada is a heart-stopping survival story. 

From UK Production company Blue Zoo, this award-winning animated short tells the true story of Ada Blackjack, a young indigenous Inupiat mother who left her son at an orphanage as she joined an expedition to the uninhabited Wrangel Island. Intending to work as a cook and seamstress for the team, Ada became the last surviving member of the convoy and survived for nearly two years alone in the Siberian wasteland. 

Moving and glorious in pencil-like strokes and movements, Ada has a three dimensional quality to the traditional chalky animation that makes the expressions feel real and rounded. There is depth to the story and the animation that is unique and moving. As the story progresses we see the struggle of Ada as a mother, the fight against the world, the reflection of the world around her. 

The film is beautiful. Directed by Dane Winn, we watch an expertly paced and haunting elegy to a remarkable woman. Using Unreal and Realtime, the mixed-media expression of the film creates a unique graphite texture to the background and characters. The score and sound design, both by Matt Wilcock, is restrained, evocative, and extremely emotional, pacing out our expectations and allowing hope and fear to rise up as we watch Ada survive.