The Saturday Night Special: La Noria

“From seasoned animator Carlos Baena (ILM, Pixar) and a crowd-sourced community of over 100 people, “La Noria” tells the tale of a grieving young boy who one day encounters dark creatures that turn his life upside down.” from Short of the Week

This film is from the YouTube channel Short of the Week. I will probably be watching them a long more often. Short of the week says about what you are about to see:

“From seasoned animator Carlos Baena (ILM, Pixar) and a crowd-sourced community of over 100 people, “La Noria” tells the tale of a grieving young boy who one day encounters dark creatures that turn his life upside down.”

“LA NORIA Directed by Carlos Baena A NightWheel Pictures Film “The minute you press play and the initial images of La Noria wash over your eyeballs, one’s immediate reaction is a simple “wow”. Maybe you’re more jaded than me, and the sheer insanity of modern CG animation fails to move you, but speaking for myself, despite 10,000 hours of short film watching under my belt, a life-long love of animation, and the existence of recent photo-real short films like Garden Party, the level of design polish in great, commercially-minded 3D animations can still take my breath away. Fortunately La Noria has a couple of minutes of setup in the beginning, because shortly thereafter my breath taken away again for altogether different reasons.

“The annals of CG horror shorts in this sort of mainstream style is rather limited—”9”, by Shane Acker, certainly played in this space, and “Alma” is a creepy holiday classic. Both films are over a decade old though, and neither can really match “La Noria” for sheer terror. From the monster design which feels ripped out of some the most twisted corners of the Resident Evil game franchise, to the tense horror-chase mechanics, this film is, in spite of its seemingly kid-friendly design, truly adrenaline-producing.

“The story itself is a touch less impressive, but ultimately satisfying. It has elements of heart-string pulling, as it focuses on a ferris wheel-loving child who is torn up over the loss of his father. Gathering photos and other mementos together into a sort of shrine, the child’s heart-ache seems to birth the darkness that soon threatens him. Details from the photos hint at a back-story—the military uniform his father wears for example—and naturally create associations in one’s mind to the work of Guillermo Del Toro and his masterpiece “Pan’s Labyrinth”. While this setup is nicely pulled together into a cathartic and feel-good ending, it is mainly table-setting for the action, which is intense, and in comprising the bulk of the 11min runtime, quite long by short animation standards.

“One can’t question the exquisiteness of this action—a spooky old mansion, replete with string lights and stained glass windows, provides a splendid backdrop for scrambling chases and doors frantically being shut in the face of grasping monsters. More so than even the design quality, it is in these sequences that the experience and skill of director Carlos Baena seems to show.

“Baena has over 20 years of experience in animation with tenures at Industrial Light & Magic, and Pixar on his resume, with credits that include work on massive franchises such Star Wars, Toy Story, and Jurassic Park. Produced under the banner of his own production company, NightWheel Pictures, Baena took advantage of his status as co-founder of Artella, an animation platform that allows for virtual collaboration, in the creation of the film. Baena used the platform to source a diverse crew of independent artists to work on La Noria, with over 100 contributors ultimately joining the project, hailing from all over the world.

“The result paid off—not only is “La Noria” a stunning showpiece for Baena and Artella, it has received widespread acclaim, winning dozens of awards, including Best Short at Tokyo’s prestigious Short Shorts Asia. Dropping online this week with an exclusive post on Variety, the celebration from worldwide audiences is sure to spread. As for Baena’s next steps, he is currently set up at Paramount Pictures. Details on his projects there are under wraps for now, but with luck, we’ll be seeing a feature film from Baena on the big screen in the near future.” – S/W Curator, Jason Sondhi


Written & Directed by Carlos Baena Produced by Sasha Korellis & Carlos Baena

VFX Supervisor: Yasin Hasanian

Music by Johan Söderqvist

Sound Design by Oriol Tarragó

For more information:

Let me know your thoughts on this film.

Candle Light — rogermoorepoet

Candle-light Five candles burn at my table.Outside, the night wind howls like a dogand scratches its pelt on my roof. The wind has torn branches from the treesand polished the evening frost until it sparkles like eighteenth century silver. A moth circles, sizzles, and flares. I keep my vigil at night’s altar and place a […]

Candle Light — rogermoorepoet

Update Nov. 7, 2020, 1:19 a.m: A Few Booksellers Carrying My Works

Here are a few of the book retailers where you can find my works.

Yesterday, I became curious as to what booksellers I could find that carry my works now that I am publishing through IngramSpark. I went to different bookstores online and simply searched for the ISBN of the new edition of A Tale of Hell and Other Works of Horror, after which I searched for “Phil Slattery” to see which of my Amazon books they carry. To my pleasant surprise, I found that most of the major bookstores carry both. I also found out that IngramSpark also distributes through Amazon, because the new edition of A Tale of Hell popped up there in each site for the US and other countries.

In any case, here are the bookstores where you can order each of my works via print-on-demand, i.e. you have to order them from the store. Also, if you are looking specifically for my latest version (i.e. the IngramSpark edition), use its ISBN to ensure you get it and not one of the earlier Amazon editions: 9780578759913. Search the bookstore for “Phil Slattery” to get one of my other works, which are available through Amazon.

Don’t forget to retweet and share this post with your friends.

Books A Million

Parnassus Books (Nashville, TN)

Wordsworth Books (LittleRock, Arkansas)

Joseph Beth (Lexington, KY)

The Strand Bookstore (New York City, NY)

Book People (Austin, TX)

Collected Works (Santa Fe, NM)

Elliott Bay Bookstore (Seattle, WA)

Word Bookstores (Brooklyn, NY and Jersey City, NJ) (UK) (UK)

Also check the Amazon page for each county (e.g.,,, etc.

Cover of A Tale of Hell by Phil Slattery