Deliverance [2014 Kabelo Maaka Short Film] Review

Screen Shot 2019-09-11 at 1.28.16 PM

Genre: Drama
Year Released: 2014

Distributor: Cabblow Studios

Origin: South Africa

Running Time: 3 minutes
Rating/Recommended Audience: PG
Related Films/Series: N/A

For Fans Of: The Cave, A Walk to Remember, War Room, Rain Town

-Deliverance is streaming on YouTube.

-Special thanks to WiseAfri for introducing me to Cabblow.

Fun Facts:

-Deliverance was a student animation project from creator Kabelo “Cabblow” Maaka. She would also animate The Cave and The Fam which would win her awards and allow her to speak at the South African Animation Festival.

-Hilarious in Hindsight: The film takes place on a Wednesday and the animated version of Kabelo is wearing pink. Was she taking cues from The Plastics in Mean Girls?

The world of animation in Africa is bigger than I thought. I found out that there are festivals in Kenya and South Africa that focus on African animators competing for various prizes. Sure, I’ve covered multiple works from Nigerian studio Anthill such as Plaything, The Adventures of Lola and Chuchu, and The Sim so far. When I looked at an article about recent animators in the continent, one name that came up was independent animator Kabelo Maaka. A search on YouTube leads me to her page where she features her animation, art, and vlog projects. This also leads to multiple Iridium Eye firsts for this review: the First South African animated film and the first cut paper animated piece (unless you count brief segments from Danielson: A Famile Movie which I reviewed a couple of years ago when I started this blog).

Let’s see this project.

Deliverance is an autobiographical story in cut paper animated form. It’s about how Kabelo Maaka hangs out with her friends on a Wednesday night when they go to a karaoke event. After she and her friends part ways, she goes on the bus. What started out as a normal day becomes turbulent as she is faced with a mugger on the bus. How will she deal with this situation?

I know cut-paper animation doesn’t have the best reputation because (let’s be honest here) the first show that comes to mind which used that style to most people is South Park. I can assure you that the animation is better, more creative, and has more artistic integrity with Deliverance. The animation style was quite good and I also liked the usage of found objects in an animated assemblage like real earbuds used instead of some paper copy of that same everyday item. I also rarely see real stories in animation and this tale was quite believable despite some of the embellishments in the visual production. The voice acting was certainly competent and while it would be nice to have Maaka voice herself, the voice actress used for her did a decent job.

Deliverance does have some flaws in the film. The run time was way too short. You could’ve had footage from the karaoke shindig mixed in and it would’ve been just fine. While it doesn’t need to be some three-hour flick, I think at least an extra minute or two would’ve fleshed the story out. Much like some issues with Verdict Not Guilty or A Light In the Darkness, the plot gets very preachy with Christian messages. Faith plays a big part in Maaka’s life which is just fine, but it gets to altar call levels near the end when she prays dramatically, so that can turn off some viewers.

This short film from Kabelo Maaka was a solid effort not just as a student film. I liked the cut paper/stop motion animation which worked pretty well. The plot was fine, but things got too overt with the Christianity elements, especially in the end. I will still check out more works from this animator and I will review current and future pieces from her.

Adjustable Rating System:

Add 1-2 points if you like stop motion or cut paper animation.
Add 1 point if you like autobiographies in animated form.
Subtract 1-3 points if you get shy with religious overtones.

-Great cut paper animation
-Good voice acting
-Creative imagery

-Overt Christian messages
-Too short of a run time
-Maaka should’ve voiced herself

Final Score: 6/10 points

Content Warning: Deliverance is a tame watch. The mugger does hold Kabelo Maaka at knifepoint in the bus, but he gets choked out which is as worse as it gets.

-Curtis Monroe

All photos property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws. Deliverance is property of Kabelo Maaka and Cabblow Studios. The screenshot is from YouTube and is property of Kabelo Maaka.

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