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Rats, Squirrels Not Invited To Olympics; Hold Torch Lighting Relay Anyway

Blending live-action and animation, a new Olympic-themed short shows off the grittier side of London, populated by athletics-minded critters

Rats, Squirrels Not Invited To Olympics; Hold Torch Lighting Relay Anyway

The Olympic games offer a festival of diversity. People are invited to compete from every race, creed, color, and corner of the world. But why is participation restricted to just people? And horses?

Perhaps some of our less regal animal friends should be invited along as well.

A new short by director Leo Bridle, from London-based production studio Beakus, and illustrator Amael Isnard, shows what it might look like if some streetwise rodents had their own Olympic ceremony. Blending animation and live action, Olympic Vermin is set into motion when a squirrel finds a lit cigarette on the ground and hoists it in the air like a torch. What follows is a wild relay through Zone 2 in London, with all manner of critters working together to light the eternal flame.

Isnard, who designed the characters, and Bridle, who shot the live-action scenes, took off nearly two months from commercial projects to work on Olympic Vermin. The time and effort shows in the canny squirrel-POV shots they managed to capture, which makes it feel as thought the viewer is scampering along a tree branch as well. The hard work paid off too, as the video is now being passed around the video like… some kind of torch.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. He has also written for The Awl, Rolling Stone, McSweeney's, and Salon.