Back in 2005, director/animator/designer Shane Acker released a silent animated short film called “9”, about a living rag doll trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. It was a pretty visionary work, full of gorgeous imagery and creatures as creepy as they were original. Personally speaking, the film never made it onto my radar, and for that I can say I am genuinely sorry.

The good news is that in discovering 9 at this late juncture, I’m just in time for the feature-length adaptation which hits theaters this September, and is being produced by Tim Burton (Alice In Wonderland) and Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov!

The full-length version of 9 will also be directed by creator Shane Acker. And, to give you an idea of what Mr. Acker is bringing to the world of animated films, Screen Rant is proud to present the animated short that started it all: We have the original 9 animated short for your viewing pleasure (and hopefully to persuade you to support the film)!

Now, for those who aren’t familiar with 9 – before I ask you to spend 11 minutes of your life watching a film about a living rag doll, I’ll give you a chance to zip through the Screen Rant archives and take a look at the first trailer for 9, and a recent clip from the film. If you like what you see, by all means continue on and enjoy the animated short.

For those who already know what 9 is all about, I won’t delay any longer. Check it out and enjoy:

9 Nine Shane Acker Short Animation

In my opinion, it’s pretty amazing what Acker and Co. accomplish in just 9 minutes of storytelling. I can think of a dozen (or more) major studio animated features that were released between 2005 and now, and not one of them was as powerful, imaginative or thrilling to watch as 9 is–even with their 3D crutch to lean on!

I can also think of one animated film in particular that came out after 9, and also featured a lonely, wide-eyed character laboring in a post-apocalyptic setting without speaking a word of dialogue. I’m not saying, just saying… Even that film wasn’t as cool or excitingly original as 9 seems to be (IMHO, of course).

As an added treat, I thought I’d give you some background info on the visionary mind who created 9, Shane Acker, as dictated by his official bio, from his official website:

Mr. Acker

Shane Acker is an award-winning director, animator and designer. He is now in post production on the feature film “9”…

The 11-minute short…which the feature is based on, premiered at Sundance in 2005 and has garnered numerous awards including the gold medal at the student Academy Awards, “Best in Show” at the 2005 SIGGRAPH Electronic Theater, and was nominated for an Academy Award in 2006.

Shane has a multidisciplinary background, studying architecture for several years before becoming a filmmaker. He is a graduate of UCLA’s School of Arts and Architecture where he received both a Masters Degree in Architecture and a MFA in Animation.

Shane currently resides in Los Angeles where he freelances as a 3d artist, director and instructor while actively developing his own independent films.

Wow, I had no idea that 9 had been nominated for an Oscar back in 2006! I’ve really got to start paying attention to that “Best Animated Short” category. There are some real gems buried in there!

Seems to me that this bio is outdated; something tells me that these days Mr. Acker doesn’t have time to “develop his own independent films.” Something tells me he stays very busy.

That about wraps it up. If you can’t tell by now that I’m totally pro-9 then what can I say to you?

The feature-length film hits theaters on September 9, 2009. It will feature the voices of Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly, Crispin Glover, Martin Landau, Christopher Plummer and John C. Reily (the dolls actually talk in the feature film).

How did you like the original animated short that inspired 9?

Source: & Daily Motion