Series Review: The Little Broomstick Rider (Slamdance 2021)

Title: The Little Broomstick Rider
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Matteo Bernardini
Episodes: 6 (total runtime 37 minutes)

What It Is: This handmade animated short series follows the story of a young boy who goes on trial for witchcraft in the 1620s, interacting with dumbfounded and hilarious jurors.

What We Think: Director Matteo Berardini, stuck in quarantine without any access to a traditional crew, made this short series, illustrating the characters himself and letting his hands do the rest. I loved this collection of stories. The art style is as cute as it is detailed, and being that there is no voice acting (instead, the characters hold up title cards, which makes for some very funny moments depending on the speed they hold them up) I could make out how each character would sound just by looking at them.

The writing is very clever and the comedy works great. The 1620’s setting makes the dialogue even more hilarious, especially from the colorful cast of characters within the jury. The show also dives a bit into dark comedy in some instances, and it is welcome as it definitely matches the sweet yet gaunt look of the art style. There are also some philosophical themes presented in the show that can actually be a little unsettling (which I won’t get into because it regards some plot-heavy details). Being that this was made in quarantine is impressive and shows that this short series was passionate labor. Its hand-crafted and winsome presentation make the series feel like a home movie, which is quite endearing. If you’re worried about length, the entire show runs just under 40 minutes, which all fly by.

Our Grade: B+, This short series is delightfully diabolical! The Little Broomstick Rider is comedic, charming, and expressive. Catch this one at Slamdance!

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Author: James Snyder