“The World’s Gone Nutz” is an award-winning, zany, yet socially topical music video and song, created by multi-hyphenate artist Daniel Robert Cohn. This fun parody, starring a cast of only squirrels and inspired by the chaos of 2020, will screen at the Dances with Films Festival (DWF 24), 2:00PM Friday, September 10 in Los Angeles at the TCL Chinese Theater.
Cohn wrote, performed, shot, and animated the video throughout quarantine, motivated by the thrilling challenge of creating a hybrid live-action/animation project where every element on screen had to be created from scratch. “It brought back all the creativity and imagination that I had as a child,” says Cohn. “I was building human sized squirrel hands with materials from craft shops, and compositing them onto the squirrels. Every day was a new challenge and a new adventure.”
When the pandemic hit and productions shut down, filmmaker, musician, animator, and photographer Cohn looked to his immediate home environment for inspiration. With no work, no actors, no crews, no locations and a world that seemed to have gone nuts, he found the ultimate authority on nuts…squirrels! Cohn wrote a rock anthem and directed an epic music video with the energetic, comical cast of characters found in his own backyard. Cohn wanted to bring light into the world at a time when it was most needed, tackling real turmoil in a lighthearted way. The visuals and lyrics for the song feature references from politics and pop culture, like the U.S. presidential election and the rise of new media conglomerates like Twitter and Amazon, highlighting the surreal hilarity of the collective experience of the year 2020. The lyrics feature lines such as, “I think the brink of sanity’s been left behind/Bitcoin, Big Con, Stock Exchange/Fake News, Fox News, Climate Change/Do the laws of science need to be explained?/I think it may be time for Dr. Strange” and “Time’s Up, Time to rise/No more lies, Hear the cries.”
Green screens and digital compositing software create a world that uncannily reflects our current nutty times, and most importantly, gives a much-needed laugh. “One of my favorite things about filmmaking is the magic of it all and how you can find a way to literally tell any story that you can imagine,” says Cohn. “My mission as a filmmaker is to take intangible concepts and make them tangible.” The flagship video “The World’s Gone Nutz,” is one of many made with this cast, including “The Squirrelette,” Halloween, Passover, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, and Christmas—with more content on the way, including behind-the-scenes photos and trading cards. A portion of all profits from Squirrel Me Bad merchandise is donated to the important non-profit organization, Empowered by Light, that invests in communities on the front lines of climate change, loss of wildlife, and environmental devastation.
A highlight of Dances With Films, Cohn’s entertaining video will bring joy to big screen viewers. As a festival favorite, “The World’s Gone Nutz” has screened at the World London Film Festival, Prague Indie International Film Festival, the Emberlight Festival in Michigan and the Holiday 365 Film Festival. It just won “Best Micro Short” at the Antolia International Film Festival in Turkey, and is on its way to the Indigo Moon Film Festival in North Carolina, and the International Thai Film Festival. Can’t make it to Thailand? Or Hollywood? Screen from the comfort of your own home, available on YouTube.