The Muridae Family - Short Animation

Inspired by a lockdown competition Melanie joined forces with fellow vegan illustration friend Monica Laita on a short animation about animals who suffer during lockdowns without the reliability on humans discarding their waste.

They never won the comp but would still love to work together again soon!

Logline : Due to a human pandemic, a family of starving mice are forced to migrate from their London underground home to a suburban woodland.

Synopsis: Adele and her family have spent their whole lives living in Tottenham Court Road station. Surviving from the scraps and crumbs dropped by careless humans. They have had a comfortable life dodging the tube trains and late night passengers.

It was around March time when the humans started disappearing, at first the peace was welcomed, the platforms were theirs to run free. But, as time went by, the rations of crumbs ran thin and the search for food became a fight for survival. Mice were scrapping over what scraps and crumbs were scarcely found. Adele and her family started to become weak. Her three children and Husband Hugo now starving.

After a long day of foraging for food Hugo gets badly injured in a fight over a last crumb on some stairs, broken and limping he comes home and collapses on the floor a broken mouse.

Without food and water the mice won’t make it to the end of the week, other mice have turned to cannibalism eating the children first.

While Hugo rests from his wounds, Adele takes her children out to play, her daughters Walnut and Tily play piggy in the middle with their little brother Charlie, as she minds them something catches her eye, a new billboard advertising ‘Cherry Tree wood in East Finchley’. Adele runs over towards it for a closer look, a healthy mouse plays in the grass under lush green trees. This is where they need to go. Adele and the children run home excited to share the news to their father.

Hugo is sceptical, Adele talks Hugo around but the only way out is to catch the tube, the mice have never ventured that far let alone on a tube, it’s a dangerous journey no mouse has ever returned from.

Adele insists they can make it, they have nothing to loose and they must got immediately.

Adele picks up her injured husband and the family head towards the yellow line on the platform.

They wait for the tube train. The loud clatter and the flashing lights of the train blows into the station. The children are frightened and Charlie freezes in fright. Walnut and Tily help their Father onto the train, Adele ranges to get Charlie to jump into her arms.

The tube train shakes and wobbles along the track as the family hide under a discarded newspaper. The headline dominates with the words of NHS funding shortages. Human feet shuffle on and off the train, boots of workers, a human with a dog step onto the train, the dog sniffs under the paper. Adele protects her family as they cower in the corner from the drooling wet snuffly nose.

The train whizzes away from Highgate station and like a vacuum the sound and air changes, the newspaper flutters away from the mice. Bright light shines into the carriage. It’s blinding. The mice adjust their eyes. This is their stop. Adele holds her husband and Charlie as they line up ready for the doors to open. The train halts throwing Tily and Walnut through the open doors. Adele rolls onto the platform along with Hugo and Charlie. Adele bangs her head, with Charlie landing on top of her. Hugo on his back.

Tily has slipped through the gap, between the train and the platform, Walnut holds her broken tail over the edge of the platform. The train doors close as the engine revs, Walnut struggles to hold onto Tilly as the train starts to pull out the station, Tily closes hers eyes in fright, it’s too late, but then, something pulls them onto the platform, its Hugo. Adele and Charlie run over as the mice embrace, relieved.

Confused and lost the family are unsure where to go. Hugo and Adele asks a Pigeon on the platform for directions. The friendly pigeon Peggy offers to show them to the woods.

The mice follow the pigeon down the steps and through the turnstiles out towards the streets of East Finchley. It’s magnificent, the family have never seen such a strange wide open space, the air feels fresh.

Strange objects with wheels like a train but smaller cross back and fourth. A large red object trundles along the road. The Pigeon watches from above signally the family to RUN! Hugo gets caught on a piece of chewing gum as a large Black Cab drives towards him but he free’s himself and runs onto the pavement.
Hugo crashes onto the pathway to the woods and looks up towards Peggy standing on the sign to Cherry Tree Woods. His family run to his side as he stands. They look at the woods, the fresh grass, the leaves, it’s beautiful. Peggy welcomes the family into the woods and Adele hugs Hugo they walk into the woods as their children play and eat grasses around them.

Eat Your Heart Our Films & MoJo Forever Productions
Artwork/ Illustratio
by Monica Laite