Between October 31 and November 2 of every year, Mexico celebrates the Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. It’s Mexico’s national holiday to remember the loved ones who have passed on. To honor the dead, people construct altars, make ofrendas (offerings), hold vigils, and take part in parades, among other activites.

The Day of the Dead has its traditional sights. Calacas, or figures of skulls and skeletons wearing human clothes, figure prominently throughout the holiday. Believed to guide the spirits to altars with their scent and color, Marigolds are also a common feature of the Mexican holiday.

A short film by students from the Ringling College of Art & Design have captured the essence of the popular Mexican holiday.

dia de los muertos

Dia De Los Muertos (2013)

Dia de Los Muertos is an animated short film from students of the Ringling College of Art & Design. The film by Ashley Graham, Kate Reynolds, and Lindsey St. Pierre won the Gold Medal at the 40th Annual Student Film Awards.

The short film starts in the middle of a bustling town, where people, confetti, and calacas fill the streets. Before long, the film shifts to a somber mood as it shows a hilltop cemetery outside of the town. Kneeling at the foot of a grave, a little girl weeps for her mother.

A blue flower sprouts from the soil on the grave. Suddenly, the flower grabs the little girl by the arm and drags her down into a colorful world where skeletons dance and celebrate. A cheerful lone skeleton with a blue flower in her ear guides the girl through a feast, a pinata game, a wardrobe change, and a dance.

In the end, the skeleton transforms into the little girl’s mother. They share a tender moment before the young girl happily returns to the real world.