A frigid and precarious tale, the beautifully animated short film “Ice Merchants” by João Gonzalez follows a father and son as they harvest and sell ice. The pair live on a cliff-side home and dive from their balcony each day, allowing their parachutes to deliver them and their product safely to the village market below. When temperatures rise, though, the ropes that tether their house to the mountain begin to fray.

Gonzalez, who also performed and composed the accompanying soundtrack, created “Ice Merchants” in a minimal, illustrated style similar to his award-winning “Nestor” and “The Voyagers.” He shares about the film: “Something that has always fascinated me about animation cinema is the freedom it offers us to create something from scratch. Surrealistic and bizarre scenarios and realities can be used as a metaphorical tool to talk about something that is common to us in our more ‘real’ reality.”

The full film was recently released on The New Yorker’s YouTube, and you can follow the Portuguese director on Instagram to stay up-to-date with future projects.


An animated image of a father and son chopping ice and jumping from a cliff

A still of a father and son cliff jumping

An animated image of a boy swinging

A still of a father and son at home with a fire

A still of a son peering over the edge of an icy cliff

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