short film

short film, 3 minutes, 2012
idea, animation, sound: Philipp Artus

A snail invents the wheel and goes through a cultural evolution to finally get back to its origin.

Short Film

The totality of Artus’s vision is startlingly beautiful. Snail Trail, quite simply, uses computer animation in ways that we have not seen before, and the results are astounding.
— Amidi Amid
The look and feel are inspired by everything from nature, Leonardo da Vinci, Alberto Giacometti, and M. C. Escher to the motion of skateboards and surfing, while the sound design - which really adds to the intensity of the experience - has its roots in classical ambient drones and electronic post-dubstep beats.
— Kevin Holmes
Philipp Artus stikes a primal nerve with this kinetic masterpiece, using laser projections on a phosphorescent material. The result is incredibly fresh and analogue.
— Jamie Caliri
Digital sounds assemble in a original sense to form a congenial score that is one with the delicate animation. Innovative, free from clichés, visionary.
— Jury Filmfest Dresden


The character of the snail came into being one day when I was drawing around in my sketch book. I then animated the snail in about three days, which was a very intuitive and spontaneous process during which I didn’t think about anything in particular and just concentrated on the snail's performance. However, in the previous months, I had done a lot of research into the evolution of life, locomotion and acceleration in contemporary society, so there was a network of associations brewing around in my head for some time and Snail Trail suddenly emerged as a fruit of this process.
Then I projected the animation with laserlight on an afterglowing surface and took a picture off each frame. This was a very time consuming process, but I like this particular light drawing style that it creates. Finally it took me about three months to do the sound design and the post-production.