"The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello" is a 2005 short film. It is the first of four proposed short films (about half-an-hour long each) and is set in an undoubtedly Steampunk world filled with airships and treacherous voyages.
The film is animated in the style of South East Asian Wayang Kulit shadow puppetry. Each character has a distinctive profile shape set against muted sepia toned backgrounds. The rare pale blues and greens as well as the dark crimson of the occasional blood spatter add to the bleak and hopeless mood of the piece. While the animation style is certainly unrealistic, the story and atmosphere are totally believable.
The story begins in the metropolitan city of Gothia, where the young navigator named Jasper Morello reminisces on a miscalculation he made during his last voyage which killed a man.
He is so overcome with guilt that he takes his compass and is about to hurl it from his balcony when his wife enters with a letter: the orders for a new voyage. From that one moment of hope and redemption, everything goes downhill and Jasper finds himself fighting against the most wild and ruthless evil: man himself.
The short film is available for purchase from the official website here, or you can Google the title and view it on YouTube or Myspace. The official website also has more tidbits about Jasper's world, as well as lovely (free!) Steampunk wallpapers made in the same shadow puppet style as the film. The website also offers synopses for the other three films in the series which have not yet been made, but which I hope will be made soon!
The Lonely Alchemist