Get to know the indie filmmaker Andreas Heikade

In this series, we present some of the most interesting independent animators working today. Through their short films and other projects, these artists are changing the way we think about what the animation medium can do.

This week's subject is the widely acclaimed artist and teacher Andreas Heikade. His work combines distinctive minimalist design with deeply personal narratives, often about masculinity, religion, addiction, and love.

In a nutshell Like the blues musicians of old (think Blind Willie McTell), Heikade's films often employ deceptively simple visuals and narratives to mine the darker aspects and complexities of everyday existence.

Where to Start: I Lived in the Meadow (1995). Highcade's bold and ballsy student film put him on the map in the animation world. A wild, raw, and poignant coming-of-age epic about masculinity in peril, cancer, love, and rejection, from the perspective of a boy whose macho father develops testicular cancer.

WHAT TO WATCH NEXT: Haikade's next film, Ring of Fire (1999), is a major change from his debut: in this Western-style short about two cowboys and their sexual desires, toxic and troubled male behavior remains the central theme, but We Lived in Grass, the bright colors of the film are absent, replaced by a striking black-and-white look that depicts an empty world. Johnny Cash declined an invitation to narrate the film.

Other major works include The Runt (2005), Love and Theft (2010), Nuggets (2015), Altötting (2020), and many other outstanding short films by High Cade, as well as a number of commercial works, especially the inspired children's series "TOMs Band" (2002).

Influences: the Bible, the American rock band The Cramps, and author Carson McCullers.

He says: "Critics are my most important source of information, and with TOM'S BAND I got a lot of criticism about how dumb it was. I try to use the critics more than my friends. Your enemies will always keep you on your toes and keep you alive."

Ongoing: Dealing with War (2022), an anti-war short about the corrupting seductions of power.