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Western Animation / When the Day Breaks

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When the Day Breaks is a 1999 animated short film by Wendy Tilby and Amanda Fortis, produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

In a world populated by anthropomorphic farm animals, a rooster and a lady pig go out to start their day. The rooster needs groceries and the pig is out of milk. They bump into each other at the bodega while he is exiting and she is leaving—and both their lives are profoundly changed.

The NFB has it up on their Youtube channel. See it here.


  • Dead Hat Shot: After the rooster is hit by a car, the camera focuses on his groceries and belongings strewn on the street, ending with his hat.
  • Decoy Protagonist: It seems like the rooster will be the protagonist when the beginning of the cartoon follows him starting his day, but he's killed barely a third of the way through.
  • Flashback: One sequence goes back to the dead rooster's apartment and tells the story of his whole life through a series of photographs. He played hockey (like all good Canadians) when he was young.
  • Furries Are Easier to Draw: The animators went with barnyard animals after starting with humans but being unable to get a satisfactory look for the woman (the character that eventually became the pig).
  • Furry Confusion: Along with anthropomorphized animals, regular animals like pigeons, dogs and horses are also seen.
  • Line Boil: And lots of it. Even the credits boil.
  • Mature Animal Story: A pig has an existential crisis after seeing a rooster run down and killed in the street.
  • Medium Blending: The short combines altered live-action footage with hand-drawn animation, with the animal characters rotoscoped over live actors.
  • Meet Cute: Subverted. It seems like this is being set up when the rooster and pig run into each other at the grocery. But the rooster is haughty and offended when the pig causes him to lose a lemon—and then the rooster is struck and killed by a passing truck.
  • World of Funny Animals: Animals acting as humans in a "human" world, but also setting up Furry Reminder gags. The rooster wears a hat shaped to accommodate his comb. The pig peels potatoes—and then eats only the peels, throwing the potatoes away.