Watch: Ian Samuels’s Kathleen Hanna-Voiced 2015 Short Myrna the Monster
Myrna the Monster, Ian Samuels’s 2015 short film that secured him a spot on our 25 New Faces of Film list that same year, is finally available to watch online via the filmmaker’s personal Vimeo account. The titular monster is voiced by Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre and The Julie Ruin frontwoman) and embodied by an elaborate puppet that Samuels, a former Sesame Street employee and graduate of CalArts’s puppetry program, crafted himself.
Filmmaker editor-in-chief Scott Macaulay penned Samuels’s 25 New Faces profile, describing the plot of the 14-minute short as follows:
Hovering just around 3 feet, Myrna — the star of Samuels’s breakthrough short, Myrna the Monster — is a melancholy, squeaky-voiced (by Kathleen Hanna) creature who just happens to share the same social anxieties as any normal-size humanoid struggling to make a connection in the big city. Whether carting her clothes to the Laundromat, chilling at the beach or taking part in a desert fireworks party, Myrna gives voice to that part of us searching for meaning amidst a sea of likes, favorites and Internet-enabled hook-ups.
Alongside elaborate puppetry, the film features a 2D flashback sequence animated by Ethan Clarke that offers a bit of illumination on how Myrna—who’s technically an alien as opposed to an Earth-made monster—came to arrive on our planet.
Short of the Week also shared and wrote about Samuels’s film, which originated as a commission by MTV before premiering at Sundance and screening at SXSW in 2015. Georg Csarmann writes:
To be honest, who hasn’t felt like Myrna at some point, at least to some degree? (And if not: what are you doing on a niche website about short films? Shouldn’t you be out playing team sports or something?) Myrna the Monster is a universal story about feeling like an outsider and how, maybe sometimes, you even see yourself as a monster. It is a story about loneliness, but it’s also about defying that feeling by putting yourself out there and looking for connections, even if it’s uncomfortable and unfamiliar. Being human can be hard, especially if you’re an alien.
Watch the short above, now streaming eight years after it first made waves on the festival circuit.