‘Heavyweight’ Packs Heartfelt Punch

/ Jul 23, 2013



The overnight sensation that vogue media pundits call “storytelling” was actually heralded as an art form long before it became a tool of persuasion adopted by marketers waxing romantic over the wonders of an Oreo. While the interweb has provided the platform and tools to empower great telling of tales, we find simple stories that touch the heart, provide subtle layers of complexity, and leave the audience pondering its varied nuances in short supply. I point to “Heavyweight,” by British animator/illustrator Joe Sparkes, as several cuts above the pedestrian Film School 101 clips that overpopulate the web channel universe.

The film school analogy refers to the fact that Sparkes, 26, created this two-minute, 40 second clip as his recent graduation project from London’s Kingston College’s School of Animation and Illustration. This filmmaker is no newcomer to the art world, previously making his mark as a book illustrator for Random House. In “Heavyweight,” we see the story of a fighter unfold, from locker room to the ring and back again, blurring the enigmatic boundaries between expectations and reality, as well as the muted contrasts between rage and simple acts of kindness. To go into greater detail would spoil the beauty of the marvelous work — a colorless, voiceless animation whose complex narrative requires repeat views to understand its elegance.

The boxing ring is perhaps only a metaphor for anyone entering an overwhelming challenge armed with talent, but unsure of his or her footing, letting self-doubt overrule confidence and experience. A trip to this young animator’s personal web page provides a look into his process as it evolves from sketch to completed video. As an added bonus, proving the accuracy of the “birds of a feather” adage, it’s worth checking out the work of Sparkes’ colleague and sometime collaborator, Jonah Ainslie. Both have become Vimeo darlings, giving hope for the future of real storytelling.

Tags: , , , , , ,

  • Andrew Orillion

    Thank you so much for recommending this! This was art in the truest sense of the word.


Pioneering Hip Hop Exec Lyor Cohen Joins YouTube as Global Head...


Legendary Digital Reveals Alpha Subscription Service Launch...


Time Inc. Teams with Digital Comedy Producers Jash for Branded Content

Amazon Logo

Amazon Greenlights Three Comedy Pilots as Series

Industry Tickets Selling Fast!
Click above to lock in your registration for VidCon 2015!

How the Cartoon Network Combined the Best of VOD and Linear TV...


Jukin Media Goes Viral for Brands with Ethos Division Launch

Streamy Awards

Streamy Awards Trade In VH1 for YouTube, Again


Matching Ads to Videos Not So Simple, According to Zefr’s...


Plug Pulled on Canadian SVOD Service Shomi


What’s Trending on the Twitter Sale

Machinima Logo

Machinima Teams with SiriusXM for Daily Esports Radio Show


AwesomenessTV, Vice, Complex to Power New HearstLive...


VIDEO: ‘Dirty 30’ Confessions with Stars Hart,...


Facebook Says It’s Sorry It Vastly Overestimated Video...


Pilgrim Media Group CEO Craig Piligian (‘The...


Heroes or Rats?: YouTube Unveils New Program for Creators Who...

Vessel says it's doing well in its first month

Why Verizon is Pursuing Vessel, the...


How Canvs Media is Harvesting Emotional Insights on YouTube,...


Marlon Wayans Getting ‘Naked’ for Netflix with Regina Hall


HuffPost RYOT Launching Virtual Reality Comedy Series and News...


YouTube Launches #voteIRL Campaign Targeting Digital-First Generation


How Top YouTubers (incl. Tyler Oakley & Meghan Rienks)...


Charlie Sheen to Star in Crackle Feature ‘Mad Families’


Gunpowder & Sky Buys Distributor FilmBuff As Vision for...


Toy Freaks Top Viewed YouTube Channel in August According to...


Emmy Wrap-Up 2016: Jeffrey Tambor (‘Transparent’)...


Twitter Scores 2.1 Million Viewers for Thursday Night Footall Kickoff


Vloggers Not Unique Snowflakes: 90 Million Flag YouTube Videos...

Mode Media

‘Billion Dollar Startup’ Mode Media Shuts Down


Who Is Winning The Marketing Revolution And Why?


Netflix Orders ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ Series...


What Is ‘Swedish Dicks’ and Who Is Selling It?


How GMC is Using the AOL Series ‘Seamlessly She’...


Liberty Global to Put Netflix on Set-Top Boxes in 30 Countries


Getting to the Spine of VR’s Monetization Challenges with...


Meredith Hosted Its Own “Front” Stacked with 20 New Series


Verizon and Hearst Move RatedRed.com and Seriously.TV Under...


Twitter Launches Live Streaming Apps for Amazon Fire, Apple TV...

YouTube Community

YouTube Fights Back Against Social Media Rivals with Community Feature

Casual Hulu

Vimeo Opening Television Store with Lionsgate Content, Launching...