In Vain

Heron Cheung


Duration: 5:21 min
Medium: 2D Digital Animation
Genre: Tragedy, Thriller


Zach, a fugitive programmer, tries to broadcast evidence that proves his city needs liberation from a parasitic hivemind entity that has overtaken it for years. His ally, Mandy, who he had lost on the way reunites with him, but something’s not right with her.  

Artist Statement:

In Vain (2024) is a Lovecraft-ian animated horror film, taking place in the midst of the colonization of the human race by an oppressive foreign entity. I chose to indulge the mistrust I harbored for the world and the ruling class by creating an action-based psychological tragedy where the protagonists can’t escape the doom of their circumstances. Tension between the diversity of the human race and an entity that selfishly wants to become one is created through world-building and visual design, as well as by integrating a range of animation methods to push the unsettling factor of the alien. Themes and leitmotifs of seagulls, foghorns, and the organic create a skin crawling experience for the viewer, pulling them hopelessly into the constructed hostile world. Together, the visuals, sound and story bring audiences to experience the heightened desperation of two brave souls at the end of their rope.

Production Stills


Director – Heron Cheung
Voice Actors – Mylo Yu (Zach), Jeralyn Magantino (Mandy), Sarin Ghahri (White Spring/Ryan)
Composers – Jeralyn Magantino, Kiyana Darbandi, Aisling Andromeda

Script – Heron Cheung, Sean Leung
Storyboard/Animatic Development – Heron Cheung, Sean Leung, Justin Palmer, Alex Choi, Christy Chan
Animators – Heron Cheung, Sean Leung, Jamie Nguyen, Chloe Yu, Alex Choi, Christy Chan, Lorien Allan, Eroniko Puevas
Clean Up – Heron Cheung, Kayla Cunanan, Soph! Su, Bianca Castagno, Kirsten Mills, Shelby Duyvestyn, Sean Leung, Chloe Yu, Jamie Nguyen, Ila Vanna, Christy Chan, Pritty Wang
Colourists – Heron Cheung, Kayla Cunanan, Sean Leung, Soph! Su, Bianca Castagno, Kirsten Mills, Shelby Duyvestyn,  Sarin Ghahri, Jamie Nguyen, Ila Vanna, Christy Chan
Compositors – Heron Cheung, Christy Chan

Background Artists/Painters – Heron Cheung, Zoe Chien, Kayleigh Mark, Cat Tsui, Ananya Bellary, Ro Levy, Kaiden Cole, Kayla Cunanan, Melody Nehad, Ben Chen
Illustrators – Heron Cheung, Zoe Chien, Ben Chen, Soph! Su, Jiah Lee
Concept Artists – Heron Cheung, Ila Vanna, Alex Choi, Zyssna Kim, Ben Chen, Zoe Chien, Joanna Liu

Sound Designer – Jeralyn Magantino, Keith Verbonac
Foley artist – Keith Verbonac

Poster Design – Heron Cheung
Poster Artist – Melody Nehad

Heron Cheung

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Heron Cheung is a Hong Kong-born 2D animator and artist based in Vancouver, and an Emily Carr University of Art + Design Bachelor of Media Arts graduate. Driven by a passion for storytelling through storyboarding and animation, Heron engages with narratives of mortality, resistance and tragedy. Even in her off time, she’s thinking about her next piece and doodling away.

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