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Available May 22, 2021 11:00 PM UTC
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“Are there dragons? I want one as a pet!” says the mother of a “cryptid”, a word viewers learn to describe mythical creatures that exist in the magical-realist landscape of the animated film Cryptozoo. The cryptid child in question is a Blemmye, a headless boy whose face is positioned in the center of his torso. He is a recent addition to a community of cryptids held in a zoo-like environment operated by the lead character, an Indiana Jones-esque explorer and self-declared cryptid lover, Lauren Grey.


Beginning with a vicious unicorn attack, filmmaker Dash Shaw discusses political violence perpetrated under the guise of aiding vulnerable populations through the medium of colorful and effervescent animation. The mother of the Blemmye boy’s desire for a pet dragon can be seen as an allegory for the film’s ultimate conclusion: the repercussions of attempting to create a completely flawless society at best, will ultimately fail, and at worst, will turn violent.

—Emily Eddy, Guest Festival Shorts Programmer, MdFF 2021

Content Considerations: Strong language, nudity, depictions of sexuality, depictions of violence and animal cruelty, homophobic language

  • Year
  • Runtime
    95 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Dash Shaw
  • Screenwriter
    Dash Shaw
  • Producer
    Kyle Martin, Jane Samborski, Bill Way, Tyler Davidson
  • Executive Producer
    Gail Flanigan, Dexter Braff, Drew Sykes
  • Co-Producer
    Dan Janvey, Kate Moran
  • Filmmaker
    Jane Samborski & Dash Shaw
  • Cast
    Lake Bell, Michael Cera, Angeliki Papoulia, Zoe Kazan, Peter Stormare, Grace Zabriskie, Louisa Krause, Thomas Jay Ryan
  • Editor
    Lance Edmands, Alex Abrahams
  • Animator
    Emily Wolver
  • Composer
    John Carroll Kirby
  • Sound Design
    Ryan M. Price