HouseSpecial’s Jailbreak Takes Best Picture at We Like ‘Em Short Film Festival

HouseSpecial took home the award for Best Picture at the We Like ‘Em Short Film Festival held on August 17-20, 2017 in Baker City, Oregon.
| By Lisa Cicala

Submitted by HouseSpecial - Check out HouseSpecial's website here.

[August 28, 2017: Baker City, OR.] HouseSpecial took home the award for Best Picture at the We Like ‘Em Short Film Festival held on August 17-20, 2017 in Baker City, Oregon. Aaron Sorenson wrote and directed the winning stop-motion film, Jailbreak, which was shot in black and white. The story follows the daring escape of a desperate prisoner fleeing his nightmarish cell in pursuit of sweet punishment. The design is German Expressionist-inspired, but with a decidedly adult twist.

“Everything about Jailbreak is perfect – beautifully shot, perfect timing and hilarious. The selection committee loved every second of this film and we'd love it as a feature length film,” Brian Vegter, the We Like ‘Em Short Festival founder and organizer, said.

“I wanted to create a unique, funny short that pushed the look and style into something unlike anything the studio had done before,” Sorenson said. He was inspired most directly by silent films such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and The Golem and prison break films such as Escape from Alcatraz, I Was a Prisoner on a Chain Gang, and Papillon. The main character, Klaus, was inspired by Cubism (mostly Picasso) with a flattened, skewed aesthetic.”

Sorenson’s filmography also includes a collaboration with They Might Be Giants’ to create the music video The Bastard Wants to Hit Me, The Surfrider Foundation’s PSA Rise Above Plastics and the credit sequences for the features ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls. He has directed work for clients including Nike®, Starbucks®, Ohio Lottery, Honey Nut Cheerios®, Target®, Orville Redenbacher® and Dole®.

“There is an amazing amount of detail throughout the short that the crew added. In the opening shot there is the most wonderfully disgusting toilet way down in the bowels of that awful prison cell. Originally we had spikes coming out of the bowl, but it was a little hard to read at such a small scale. There's also this weird cage torture thing I love that is a prop in the end shot. There are treasures like that all over, especially at the end of the short. I love how great model builders will bring such enthusiasm and creative little details to everything they touch.”

The production participated in the state of Oregon’s Indigenous Oregon Production Investment Fund (iOPIF) incentive program, and was created through HouseSpecial’s Short Stuff™ program.

Crew Credits

Conceived & Directed by Aaron Sorenson

From HouseSpecial - a Short Stuff™ production

Creative Director: Kirk Kelley

Executive Producer: Lourri Hammack

Production Designer: Alan Cook

DP: John Nolan

Editor: Steve Miller, Cam Williams

Line Producer: Nicole Fitzhugh

Production Assistant: Alex Webster


Character Design: Aaron Sorenson, Alan Cook

Background/Environment Design: Craig Bowers, Don Flores, Sharon Huang, Kristy Kay, Phillip

Spehar, Tod Polson


Character Fabrication: Katie Mello, Margaret Meyer, Chris Ohlgren

Set/Prop Fabrication Lead: Greg Fosmire

Set/Prop Fabrication: Gary Logue, Katie Mello, Margaret Meyer, Josh Pearce, Emma Van



Animation: Suzanne Twining

Swing/Electric/Grip: Jake Hauswirth

Wrangler: Rob Melchior

Art Dept/Stage Manager: Erica Johnson


FX: Patrick Van Pelt

Opening Titles: José Díaz, Stephen Bodin

Matte Painting: Stephen Bodin

Flame Artist: Rex Carter

Editorial Assistant: Dino Coons


Original Music Produced By: Mophonics

Original Music By: Roberto Murguia and Róisín Malone

Creative Producer: Kristoffer Roggemann

Creative Director: Stephan Altman

Sound Design & Mix By: Lance Limbocker, Limbocker Studios

A special thanks to the Oregon Film Board

Screenings and festivals:

Zabut International Animation Short Film Festival - Jury Special Mention

2017 Lower East Film Festival NYC

NW Animation Fest 2017

Animation Nights New York (ANNY)

Savannah Film Festival


Anima Mundi

Portland Comedy Film Festival

Oregon Independent Film Festival – Winner Best Animated Film

KROK International Animated Films Festival

Festival Stop Motion Montreal

Burbank International Film Festival

Montreal International Animation Film Festival

Animation Block Party

Drunken Film Festival

Neum Animated Film Festival

Annecy International Animation Film Festival

Blue Plum Animation Festival

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