‘Dani’ wins Best Animated Short at Palm Springs


Danielle Hernandez discovered she had stage 4 breast cancer in her early 30’s.

No matter your age, that diagnosis is as devastating as one can get.

Some people fight back. Some unfortunately crumble. Worse, others succumb to it.

However, in Hernandez’s case, she inspired a wonderful stop-motion animated short film made by her former roommate, director and visual artists Elizabeth Hodgenson. And it’s a damn good moving piece that has just won Best Animated Short at the Palm Springs International Shorts Film Festival and was just selected for LA Shorts.

Dani depicts the traumatizing conversation Hernandez had with her mother about her cancer treatment. It was a perfect subject for Hogenson who is drawn to women’s topics and loves to add a touch of whimsy. Take a look at the teaser below:

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Before the short, Hernandez, who was born and raised in Miami, actually recorded her journey and experiences on her podcast Well This Sucks with the support of her two best friends Heather Alacon Higginbotham and Tana Hamilton.

Hogeson told Las Vegas Informer she was decided to tell Hernandez’s story in stop-motion because, “I think that there’s just something really charming about its tactile nature. You’re forming the world and the performance with your hands. It really creates an intimate relationship with the materials and subject. I think stop motion works particularly well for this subject, though, because it adds some physicality to the phone call. I also chose to use materials like felt and yarn to add a warm and cozy feeling to the subject. I think it helps the viewer feel a softness while ingesting such a heavy subject.”

In addition to the Palm Springs win, Dani also took home the Grand Jury Prize for Best Animated Short at Mammoth Lakes Film Festival 2019 and has screened at the American Documentary Film Festival and Film Fund 2019.

The film was executive produced by Kyle McClary and edited by Robert Panico. Dani will screen at LA Shorts International Film Festival on Sunday, July 21 at 3:15 pm. Don’t miss it.