A boutique animation studio in Southeast Texas, where humidity blurs the line between waking a dreaming.

Work

Night Heron makes stunning non-digital animation, mysterious micro video, and commissioned works for independent filmmakers, live theater, bands and brands.

now it's over

Watch

This music video for Brooklyn’s A Place To Bury Strangers uses a broad variety of visual styles — including stop-motion with paper puppets, ink on paper, watercolor, and paint-on-glass animation — in a noir-influenced, handcrafted animated tribute to French and Japanese New Wave auteurs of the late ’60s. SPECIAL MENTION: Fest Anča 2016

credits: Dave Merson Hess (Director), Jimmy Fusil (Producer)

clara

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A hybrid animated tribute to legendary BBC radio DJ John Peel's touching on-air reading of a letter from a teenage listener in 1981. FINALIST: TIFF x Instagram, and shortlisted by Indiewire.

credits: Dave Merson Hess (Director), Jimmy Fusil (Producer)

greyhound blues

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Made entirely by hand and animated without digital effects, "Greyhound Blues" explores themes of traveling and childhood while drawing from the visual mythology of 1950s roadside America -- especially where it overlaps with the American Southwest. OFFICIAL SELECTION: Cutout Fest, Cucalorus, Animation Block Party, Animasyros, Anibar.

credits: Dave Merson Hess (Director), Dominic Ciccodicola & Aris Blevins (Producers)

white raven

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Night Heron created five animated sequences for Bootown's White Raven, a live shadow puppet theater production exploring the life of a bird born with the wrong color feathers.

credits: Bootown Theater (Producer), Emily J. Hynds (Writer / Director), Dave Merson Hess (Animation Director)

In Development

As of early 2017, Night Heron has four original animated shorts, a pilot, and a micro video serial in the works. For investment and/or branding partnerships, contact Dave or Janine.

To get access to new Night Heron films before anyone else, sign up for our Preview Club.

Birds

Night Heron founder Dave Merson Hess is a Producer and Director working at the intersection of experimental animation and character animation. He was a Vine early adopter, and has spent the last three years exploring the expressive possibilities of animated micro video. Dave's work has appeared on Stereogum, Rolling Stone and FILTER, and screened at Cutout Fest, Cucalorus, and Animation Block Party.

Dominic Ciccodicola is a Producer, Director, and/or Writer of Independent Film (Rebel Yell, Random Acts of Violence), Reality TV (Top Chef, Project Runway, etc.), Documentary Series (American Gypsy, Boundless, etc.), Music Videos (Geronimo Getty, Tyvek), and Cartoons. Also an actor and musician, Dominic has been a collaborator with Dave for over ten years in visual and musical works. Dominic lives and works in Los Angeles’ beautiful Angeleno Heights.

Janine Waranowicz is a Lawyer and Producer focused on intellectual property and animated series development. [We also love her for her sense of humor and covert voice acting skills. --The Night Heron Team]

Flora Larrabee is an Animator and Art Historian. She seeks spontaneity in design and draws inspiration for projects from doodles, cultural artifacts and direct collaboration.

Houston, TX
213-640-7604
hey@nightheron.tv

Outreach

Through its education projects, Catburger Studios and DIY Animation Club, Night Heron teaches youth and adult animation workshops and animation as art therapy. Studio founder Dave Merson Hess has created beginning animation curriculum for film arts nonprofit Aurora Picture Show, where he is also an active member of their roster of media arts educators. Through Aurora, Dave has also co-led professional development workshops for STE(A)M educators looking to incorporate animation into their lesson plans. Dave can cater workshops to fit whatever equipment is already at your disposal, and he's particularly skilled at teaching iOS (iPad/iPhone) -based hand-drawn and stop-motion animation production. To discuss options, schedule a workshop or pop-up animation production event, or write us into a grant application, get in touch.

Sample Outreach Films

guitar man

Jaulavia, a girl in the 3rd grade, discusses the things that are most important to her: drawing, music, and her family. With original music by the director herself.

[ watch on vimeo ]

workshop: A semester-length beginning animation course for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders
sponsoring org(s): Aurora Picture Show & Young Audiences of Houston
teachers: Dave Merson Hess & Tomas Feijo

the k.d. documentary

Reynolds Elementary students discuss the life and basketball career of their hero, Oklahoma City Thunder star, Kevin Durant, and reveal why he inspires them.

[ watch on vimeo ]

workshop: A semester-length beginning animation course for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders
sponsoring org(s): Aurora Picture Show & Young Audiences of Houston
teachers: Dave Merson Hess & Tomas Feijo