Sony Pictures Animation revealed a different side to Miles Morales, the hero of its blockbuster Spider-Verse franchise, in a short film The Spider Within: A Spider-Verse Storywhich got its world premiere Monday the Annecy animation film festival on Monday.
The short shows Miles/Spider-Man battling with mental health issues, as the teen web-slinger feels overwhelmed with school, upcoming exams and relationship drama. In the short, Miles’ anxieties take the form of a dark figure representing his alter-ego and an imagined invasion of spiders into his bedroom. But by reaching out for help from his father, Jefferson “Jeff” Morales, Miles is able to conquer his inner demons.
The short was shown at the Annecy festival on Monday as part of a session on Sony Pictures Animation and Sony Pictures Imageworks’ joint mentorship program LENS (Leading and Empowering New Storytellers), which aims to develop new animation talents from under-represented groups.
Jarelle Dampier directed The Spider Within short and attended the session along with writer Khalla Amazan, VFX supervisor Clara Chan and animation supervisor Joe Darko, together with LENS program producer Michelle Raimo Kouyate and program producer David Schulenburg.
Dampier said the film’s plot was inspired by the anxiety attack he suffered on learning he had been chosen to take part in the LENS program.
“The day that I was offered this job to direct this film. I had the biggest panic attack I remember in my life,” Dampier said. “I spent the night in the hospital. I was so excited and happy at the opportunity and yet my whole body shuts down.”
By exploring the themes of mental health in the short, Dampier said he hoped he could “open the door for some healing conversations for everyone.”
The domestic Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse has already out-grossed the Oscar-winning 2018 original at the box office, both domestically, where the new film movie has earned $225.5 million to date, and internationally, where it has grossed $164.5 million.
There is no news yet as to when and how Sony will screen The Spider Within to a wider audience.
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