ShortList 2018: Why ‘Nevada’ Director Chose Naked Puppets to Tell Her Sexy Story (Video)

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Human stories are always the most compelling, but sometimes you get more mileage out of a puppet than a flesh-and-blood actor.

Take it from director Emily Ann Hoffman, whose award-winning stop-motion short “Nevada” is one of the finalists in TheWrap’s ShortList Film Festival.

It’s a simple but emotional narrative about couple Zoe and Eli, two people in the “honeymoon phase” of their relationship, Hoffman told TheWrap. While they seem keen on each other, they’re less discerning when it comes to condoms.

A flimsy one breaks, leaving the pair with the awkward and urgent decision about whether or not to seek emergency contraception (like Plan B).

“It was important to show the story truthfully. And, truthfully, these characters would be walking around naked after sex. It’s way easier to show naked, stop-motion puppets than it would be live-action actors,” said Hoffman. “Audience members are more comfortable with a naked puppet.”

Naked they are.

The puppets spend most of their time fully exposed or engaged in sex. There’s even a tiny, broken, used condom in the film. But the motive to use animation was more than just practical (Hoffman works in stop-motion for a living).

Zoe and Eli have painful discussions about Plan B’s side effects for women, who should pay for the medication and the unthinkably early conversation about actually keeping a baby at a tender stage in their relationship.

Hoffman said that for the majority of women she knows, these conversations “were being had behind closed doors, and not with our male partners. I wanted to shed some light on an experience that is very common and very relatable in sex that can lead to pregnancy.”

Watch the film above. Viewers can also watch all of the ShortList finalists at any time during the festival at shortlistfilmfestival.com and vote from Aug. 8-22. The ShortList Film Festival is supported by Topic and AMC Theatres.

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