On an isolated cacti farm, three stressed out birds ask a cowgirl to help stop the elusive Ax-Man. "Spell of the West," directed by Sam Lane, is a beautifully animated short — colorful and funny, but also surprisingly moving. Spending her days tending to the land on a homestead that includes three birds, an orphan horse, and a worm, Rose is content to live out a simple, quiet life. But when a “angry, grotesque” man with an axe threatens their peaceful environs, she's forced into a decision she doesn’t want to have to make. Wonderfully vivid landscapes and lively characterizations set the framework, but where the film really packs a punch is in its depiction of self-doubt — “I’m a farmer. I’m not the one who saves the day.” The soul-searching Rose listens to the trees and survives in a barren desert landscape, but can she hunt down and dismantle a powerful man abusing the Earth? (7 minutes). Written, animated, and directed by Sam Lane. Music by Diego Gaeta (score avail here). Sound by Abe.