Negative Space (Oscar nominated)

A poignant story of a son who remembers how perfectly his father packed his suitcases.
by Max Porter Ru Kuwahata
5 Min / France

Award WinningAnimationFamily


Academy Award nominated “Negative Space" is a short animated film that depicts a father-and-son relationship through the act of packing a suitcase. Based on a 150-word prose poem by Ron Koertge, the adaptation by co-directors, Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata, is a 5-min film using handmade stop-motion animation to bring visual metaphor and subtext to the original words.

When reading Ron Koertge’s text, Ru Kuwahata, connected with the characters on a deeply personal level. As an airline pilot, Ru’s father traveled often when she was growing up and one of the most vivid images of her childhood is her father’s packing list pinned to the wall of his study. Max and Ru mined their own childhood memories of specific objects, textures and banal routines to portray the small things that make up a large part of life.

Negative space is a beautiful short, with perfectly designed shots and in its simplicity it captures a rich internal life of the characters. Every element is carefully chosen to resonate its key themes. 

To date, “Negative Space” has won 129 prizes (including 65 Grand Prix/Best Animated Short awards) and played in over 322 festivals.