MY ENTIRE HIGH SCHOOL SINKING INTO THE SEA could not have had a better title; the plot is perfectly encapsulated in that phrase. The film centers on Dash, a sophomore journalist. After his best friends pair off romantically, Dash turns to reporting to fill the void. While looking for his next story, Dash discovers something startling: his school is set to fall into the ocean. However, the seemingly absurd premise is only half of what makes this animated film worth watching.

The animation is unique and captivating. Drawn by cartoonist, graphic novelist and director Dash Shaw, the illustrations are a stylish rendition of a teenager’s notebook doodles. The characters are outlined in dark marker. The backgrounds are often psychedelic and abstract. The colors are bright and garish. All of these distinctive visual trademarks are rooted in Shaw’s background in comics.

Shaw told Filmmaker Magazine: “It’s [the] character’s world that we are experiencing — that’s what this style brings to the story.” He goes on, “I hadn’t seen any animated movie that was colored like this, but a lot of my comics are colored this way, so I knew I could bring something from comics over to animation and it would be different. That’s what a lot of the movie is. It’s kind of just interpreting things from comics into film.”

— Diana Martinez, Film Streams Education Director