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‘Deep Fears’ is one of the most beautiful lessons on friendship we’ve had the honour to see recently. The story focuses on a sea otter that is a little bit too afraid to go into the water. When you are on the shore, the ocean seems dark and unfriendly, capable at any time to take you away in the same way it takes the drawing in the sand. You need the courage to go deep and explore, and most of the times, this kind of courage does not come from the inside. Certain events will trigger the courage, and you will not be prepared, but the outcome may surprise you as everything happens for a reason.

The two protagonists of this short animation are a sea otter and a seal. Their random encounter proves to be fructuous for both sides as they learn a valuable lesson. Ryan Chu foregrounds two important matters in this short: friendship and the fear of the unknown. The latter happens in many cases when people lose their confidence whilst doing something, and the need for help is intrinsic, the reason why we are always too afraid to ask for it. The fear of the unknown is what kills most of the good ideas as we are too afraid to embark on a journey that we know very little of, and the possibility of failure is not out of the way. Chu offers answers to all of these matters, solving some of life’s greatest mysteries in less than four minutes.

The pink shell is not randomly picked as a symbolic element. The shell symbolizes good fortune and resurrection; the shell is hard on the outside and tender on the inside, offering protection to the fragile core. This is a direct link to the aforementioned friendship, as we have to work for it and protect it because, in the end, the gentle core needs to be preserved as pure as we can. After all, only the pure and gentle shells make pearls of immense value, and they are not to be found everywhere. ‘Deep Fears’ is a breathtaking animation and a fable that our modern-day society needs so badly.

Written by Vlad A. G

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