Watch Animators Pass a Red Ball Around the World

Right now the world feels far too connected in all the worst ways. At the same time it also feels far too unconnected in the worst ways. But a new short reminds us that even when we can’t be together we can come together. “Pass the Ball” features the work of 40 different animators “passing” a ball around the world via their art. In a film that reminds us what it’s like being a part of something bigger than ourselves.

“Pass the Ball” (which we first saw at Laughing Squid) includes three second animations of a red ball moving from one animator’s sequence into the next. With 40 artists from different countries involved in the project, the short is a celebration of animation styles. There’s everything from stop-motion and computer-generated animation to various versions of hand-drawn art.

But this film is just as much a tribute to collaboration. And what a collaboration it is. The project’s mastermind, Nathan Boey, said this film required 40 months of work. Why put in all that time for a short film? Boey shared the inspiration behind the project on his Instagram account.

I always liked how rappers were able to collaborate with other rappers by featuring them on their songs. That doesn’t exist the same way in the film world.

Years ago I came up with an idea that would allow animators to work with other animators they admired from around the globe on the same project…months and months and months later, this is that film.

An animation of two black hands tossing around a red ball
Nathan Boey

All that effort and energy was worth it. If this were just 40 different ways to animate a red ball moving it would be interesting, but it wouldn’t be nearly as meaningful. Of course, Boey never could have predicted just how true that would be when he began working on his film. Forty months ago we didn’t feel so disconnected from one another. Hopefully we don’t have to wait that long to feel connected to one another again.

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