Coin Operated – Animated Short Film

“Coin Operated” is a story of a young boy who, like many others, dreams of going out to space and explores the galaxy. A simple coin-operated space ship at a corner of a street will have a decisive impact on his life.

This award-winning 5 minute animated short film tells the life of one naive explorer that spans 70 years. This film was written and directed by Nicholas Arioli.


Official Selection:

FI Fest 2017, TIFF Kids 2018, Hamptons Film Fest 2017, San Francisco Film Fest 2018, Mill Valley Film Fest 2018
Winner, Best Short Animation: Rhode Island Intl Film Fest 2017, Pittsburgh Film Fest 2017, At&T Film Awards 2017
Winner, Audience Award: Palm Springs Intl Short Fest 2017, Naples Intl Film Fest 2017, Brooklyn Film Fest 2017


Because Coin Operated has no dialog, it can be enjoyed by audiences around the world, regardless of which languages they speak.

Here are a couple of stills from Coin Operated! The movie’s five minutes are made up of 6,747 individual frames like these, which would have taken 210 days (!) to render on one high-powered computer. Luckily there is more than one.

Coin-Operated-Animated Short Film

Coin-Operated-Animated Short Film
Coin-Operated-Animated Short Film


In animation, there are no real locations, no real props, no real actors, no real light; everything that appears on the screen has to be thought up, designed, and manually added, including all the sound. Every footstep, every little swish of fabric, even the ambient background noise, must be created by hand. Coin Operated was sound designed and mixed by the great Jim LeBrecht and Bijan Sharifi at Fantasy Studios, which is where One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Apocalypse Now, Amadeus, and The English Patient were mixed, but more importantly is where Green Day recorded Dookie!


Message From Nicholas Arioli, Director Of Coin-Operated Short Film

On a personal note, this tiny film has been a dream come true, and I’m beyond excited to finally share it with the world.

I’m so proud that we were able to make an animation like this independent of the studio system.

I’m so proud of our team, a group of artists who came together with no bigger goal than to make something great and send it out into the world. And to that end, I’m especially proud and thankful that we are now able to share it with everyone, simply and for free.

Thank you so much to all our fans, the many festivals around the world that supported us, and everyone who has been rooting for Coin Operated.

Thanks to the entire crew who gave their time and their talent to bring it to life.

And finally a huge thank you to Jen, Rex, Jessica, Serkan, and Boz, who made this all possible, believed in my vision and believed in me. I love you all.

Let’s share Coin Operated far and wide. To the moon!

I’m overwhelmed by the incredible response Coin Operated has received online. I have especially loved reading all the comments, and all the different interpretations of the ending. Here are some highlights from our short’s brief time online:

Vimeo Staff Pick!!! (This one is very special for indie film nerds like me. And the number above doesn’t even include the many people who have found and connected with our short on Vimeo.)

*Some of my favorite comments:
“This is so heartwarming!”
“I love all the comments saying how heart-warming this is when I find it very depressing! I love it more for it though!”
“This is sad and cool”
“Depressing and lovely at the same time, awesome work! :)”
“This is the greatest short film I’ve ever watched”
“His mom just ditches him lol”
“I… uh, I think he died…”
“I think he spent all that money on weed!!! Got high!!!”
“I think this is a metaphor”
“I laughed so hard!”
“I cried so hard!”
Well, that’s all folks. Thanks again, and bye for now… on to the next film!

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