This stop-motion short film follows the world’s second oldest man as he attempts to take out his rival, making him the world’s oldest man in Second to None. Directed by Vincent Gallagher, this hilarious short shows off some great stop-motion work, as well as a very dark sense of humour. The film screens as part of Short Cuts Programme 3 at TIFF 2016. Gallagher answered a few questions about the short and the idea that animated films must always be for children.

Describe your film in ten words or less.

A stop-motion comedy about the world’s second oldest man.

What inspired you to make this film?

Since watching Ray Harryhausen movies as a kid, I’ve always loved the technique and when I wrote the film it seemed like the perfect story to really work in stop-motion.

I came up with the idea after reading an article about this guy becoming the oldest person in the world. It struck me that he wouldn’t have been mentioned in print before that, and it conjured up images about this person waiting in the wings for their chance in the spotlight.

What was the best thing about production? Most challenging?

Second To None was the first time I had ever undertaken a stop-motion film so there was a lot of learning involved on the technical side of things.

The film had a very small team involved and we were working to a deadline. Those elements were in turn the best and most challenging aspects. I had a huge amount of control over the style and tone of the film. It’s a very slow and involved process, but that does afford you the time to get things right. It’s an incredible medium to work in, there’s something about the tactile nature of it that really is magic.

What’s the one thing you want people to know about your film?

There’s a wider perception that animated films are just for kids. Second To None certainly isn’t. I wanted to make something that is dark and funny and that still carries a message.

The short is hilarious, but it also gives an interesting message that there’s always somebody who may be worse off than we are. Do you think that’s an idea that we need to keep in our minds when we look at others who may be better off than us?

While Frederick is worse off than Herman, much of his position comes down to his obsession with success. If you focus too much on other peoples achievements you’ll never be happy.

What will you be working on next?

I’m working towards directing my first feature film. It’s going to be live action with animated elements.

Your film is screening as part of TIFF. What are you most excited about seeing or doing at this year’s festival?

TIFF is our International premiere and our second ever public screening, so It’ll be great to see the film with an audience again.

There are a number of Irish feature films playing in TIFF this year. I’m proud that Second to None is the only Irish short, and that we have such a strong presence at the festival, so I’m looking forward to seeing some of those films, especially Without Name.

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