The lycanthropic “Growing Pains” of male adolescence

A. Quinton — Feb. 23rd 2015

Growing Pains (Vokseværk) is an award-winning animated Danish short film about a teenage boy named Fabian, and the unexpectedly monstrous side effects of his burgeoning sexuality. Based on the subject matter, maybe don’t watch the teaser at work.

Fabian is a shy, introverted teenager who lives with his bossy and prudish mother. Fabian’s world gets turned upside down when he meets the fun and cool Felicia and they fall in love. But there’s one small problem… Whenever Fabian gets horny – he turns into a werewolf. A twisted coming of age short film about a young man who has to discover and accept who he really is.

In the film’s press kit, Director Tor Fruergaard explains that Fabian’s lycanthropy is “purely a metaphor for a violent male sexuality,” and that he purposely avoided the usual werewolf tropes. “No full moon, wolf bites or silver bullets. Fabian transforms into a werewolf when he gets horny, and there is no explanation for this.”

The film is animated against physical sets constructed in miniature out of paper. “I try to make films that the audience would want to touch and I put as much texture as I can into every image,” Fruergaard says. “I avoid the computer for as long as possible, and make all the digital textures from images of real paper and never rely on an image search for textures.” If you’re into behind-the-scenes stuff, there’s a wealth of info on the Growing Pains web site.

Growing Pains clinic set

Growing Pains won Best Danish Short Film and got a special mention in the Animation Talent Award at The Odense International Film Festival last year, and it was an official selection at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.

Watch a 30-second preview above or here, or rent the completed film from Distrify.