Skywhales – the story

Hours later, after much strenuous labour, the beast has been cut up to provide the food and other products which the city needs and Nilbul is clearing up ready to go home. Suddenly a spasm of pain hits his body and his hands begin to shake. He looks down at them and as his vision starts to blur he realises that they are turning blue. That is the last thought he has before his mind is filled with the urgent need to reach the centre of the city. He starts off with his friends as escort.

Soon he reaches the Temple and his friends remain at the door as he crosses the floor to the Well. For an instant he stands on the edge. He is completely blue now and his body appears covered in a fine cobwebby substance. He plunges head first into the darkness. Down and down he falls, out beyond the deepest point of the city and through the vegetation. The cobwebbing has grown around him until he can no longer be seen inside it. For miles he falls through the dark¬ness until light once again begins to filter in from outside as he nears the underside of the plant mass. Within the cobwebbed form something new stirs and strives to break free. Slowly the cocoon parts and a wing pops out, then the head. As the rest of the substance is blown away by the updraft, Nilbul no longer exists. He is now a young skywhale.

Spreading his new wings to greet the light the young creature soars out into the empty air and away into the sunset.

On the balcony of their house Nilbul’s wife and child wear funeral robes and look out at the clouds. The child is holding his father’s harpoon.

SKYWHALES – 1983 – 11.00 mins.- 35mm

Written and Directed by: Phil Austin and Derek Hayes.
Animation: Phil Austin, Derek Hayes, Rowen Avon, Gaston Marzio, Ric Machin, Rick
Villeneuve, Aruna Douglas.
Editor: Lea ley Manning.
Production Co-ordinator: Andy Walker.
Voices: Robert Llewellyn, Bernie Evans.
Music: Dirk Higgins.
Camera: Terry Handley, Neil Bradshaw, Steve Cutmore.
Backgrounds: Denis Ryan, Sue Branch.
Painters: Julia Llewellyn, Steve Calvert, Nick Yates, Michael Hackman, Gaby Kovacs, Susan Smart, Debby Evans, Terry Kester, Ginny D’Santos, Gillian Mayle.

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Originally printed in Animator’s newsletter Issue 7 (Winter 1983)