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Animated short “Borrowed Time,” the poignant tale of a sheriff haunted by memories of a tragic accident, is making its online debut on Vimeo today and will play for free on the streaming site for a limited time as one of Vimeo’s Staff Picks.

It’s won several awards, including Best Animated Short at the St. Louis Film Festival, the Grand Jury Prize at the Nashville Film Festival and Best in Show at Siggraph, all Academy Award qualifying events. Additionally, it’s just been named the Best Short Film for “its beautiful visuals in the service of telling an emotional story” by the Spark Animation Festival, set for Oct. 21-23 in Vancouver, Canada.

Co-directors Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj have been working on the short on their own time for the last five years, while working at Pixar on such features as “Brave,” “Inside Out” and “The Good Dinosaur.”

Coats and Hamou-Lhadj wanted to challenge themselves with this short, making it a darker tale than most shorts that are produced in the U.S.

“In America, animation has largely become synonymous with kids’ films, whereas elsewhere around the world it’s celebrated as a medium that can be used to tell any story,” says Coats. “We feel this cultural difference limits the potential audience and range of themes in American animation, and is a large part of why we chose to make ‘Borrowed Time.’ ”

“Having worked on family films with a lot of heart and comedy, we wanted to do something outside of our comfort zone: a serious, action drama. We knew this would be a huge challenge for us,” Hamou-Lhadj adds.

“Borrowed Time” can be seen at here on Vimeo.