Having cancer isn’t always the hard part. On top of managing your fears and expectations, you feel obliged to wear a brave face for your loved ones. Delivering bad news with a mixture of dry science and irrational optimism becomes second nature… Dani brings such a conversation to life, as 30-year-old Danielle Hernandez delivers her grim breast cancer prognosis to her mother Violeta. A story that’s as unique and personal as it is disturbingly universal. Using stop-motion animation, Dani shows us how a simple phone call can be a study of human courage, faith, and love.

A conversation between a daughter undergoing chemotherapy and a mother wishing to be strong for her daughter is realised in stop-frame animation and is wonderfully brought to life. Blending characters of fabric, elements of plasticine and other mediums making up Dani’s world, this is a beautifully crafted, powerfully told and real story in an impressively easily accessible medium.

Based on audio from an actual phone call recorded as part of the Well This Sucks podcast, Dani (Danielle) talks to her mother about her cancer diagnosis and the treatment that she’s undertaking. It’s a complex topic, but one that is dealt with in the most human way possible, a conversation between mother and daughter.  

Neither Dani nor her mother are consumed by histrionics, but both are emotional, with the mother as the pillar of strength to her equally strong daughter. There’s little regret in the conversation, nor is there any apportioning of blame.  There’s just pure honesty as both speak truths and of hope.

The winner of Jury Award Best Animated Short at Palm Springs ShortFest and Mammoth Lakes Film Festival. Dani is a grown-up story that capably deals with a sensitive issue with a matter of fact approach that isn’t detached from the emotion of the subject. It doesn’t turn cancer into a soap opera topic, opting to deliver its story in honest terms. The final line is Dani at its most emotionally devastating.

Dani is a wonderful achievement and a story about surviving and love that will resonate with its audience no matter their age.

Lizzy Hogenson’s website can be found here https://www.lizzyhogenson.com/

Dir: Lizzy Hogenson

Cast: Danielle Hernandez

Prd: Lizzy Hogenson

Country: United States

Year: 2018

Runtime: 9 mins