The Physics of Sorrow

Directed by Theodore Ushev
27', 2019, Canada

The Physics of Sorrow (French: Physique de la tristesse) is a Canadian animated short film, directed by Theodore Ushev and released in 2019. Based on the novel by Bulgarian writer Georgi Gospodinov, the film tells the story of a man reminiscing about his childhood as he struggles to understand the meaning and purpose of his life.

The film was animated entirely through encaustic painting, an old artistic technique involving the melting of pigmented beeswax. It was narrated by Rossif Sutherland, and features a smaller voice appearance by his father, Donald Sutherland.

The film premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, where it received an honourable mention from the Best Canadian Short Film award jury. It also received a Special Mention for Best Canadian Short Film at the 2019 Vancouver International Film Festival, and was named Best Canadian Film at the 2019 Sommets du cinéma d'animation.

In December 2019, the film was named to TIFF's annual year-end Canada's Top Ten list for short films. It was shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2019, and won the Prix Iris for Best Animated Short Film at the 22nd Quebec Cinema Awards in 2020.

Theodore Asenov Ushev (Bulgarian: Теодор Асенов Ушев, born February 4, 1968) is a Bulgarian animator, graphic designer, illustrator and multimedia artist in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is best known for his work at the National Film Board of Canada, including the 2016 Oscar-nominated Blind Vaysha.

He was born on February 4, 1968, in Kyustendil, Bulgaria, and graduated stage decoration, animation, and make-up at Plovdiv's School of Scenic Arts. He obtained a master's degree in graphic design from the National Academy of Arts in Sofia.He first made a name as a poster and graphic designer, before moving to Montreal in 1999. There he quickly gained a reputation as an animation filmmaker with for the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), with films such as VerticalThe Man Who WaitedTower BawherTzartitzaSou and Drux Flux, winner of the Canadian Film Institute Award for Best Canadian Animation at the Ottawa International Animation Festival.In 2010, he completed a short animated documentary about Arthur Lipsett, entitled Lipsett Diaries.In March 2011, Lipsett Diaries received the Genie Award for Best Animated Short at the 31st Genie Awards.

He created live show multimedia and promo animations for the British band Public Symphony and David Gilmour’s “In an Island” album and live tour, and the illustrations for Chris Robinson' book "Ballad of a Thin Man: In Search of Ryan Larkin" (2008).

The third film from his 20th-century trilogy - Gloria Victoria was named Most Well Liked Animated Short of 2013. In a survey of fifteen respected festival programmers and critics who were each asked to name the best animated shorts of 2013, the film that came out on top was Gloria Victoria. Produced at the National Film Board of Canada, the film was selected by 11 out of 15 people surveyed. The film also got a nomination at 2014 Hollywood's Annie Awards.