SHORT FILMS

Watch: Oscar-Nominated Short Doc 'Knife Skills' About Ex-Con Chefs

Knife Skills Short Doc

There's only one week to go until the Academy Awards ceremony. One of the nominated Best Documentary Short Films is this one, Knife Skills, from veteran filmmaker/producer Thomas Lennon. Knife Skills is a 40-minute short film profiling the hectic launch of Edwins (visit their official site), a world-class French restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio, where most of the staff are just out of prison. Lennon explains his intentions to The New Yorker: "Can I make you think about an issue and care about an issue? Think about the people and care about those people?" It's not just a film about chefs, or prison, or running a restaurant, it's about all of those things and more. If you want to watch the short, it's available below for free only for US viewers.

Watch: Gritty Post-Apocalyptic Short Film 'Lorne' Starring Guy Pearce

Lorne Short Film

"I've got no quarrel with a man who's not trying to kill me." Now this is a must see short film. Lorne is a short directed by Australian filmmaker Jesse Leaman of Leaman Films based in Melbourne. Set in some kind of unexplained post-apocalyptic wasteland, actor Guy Pearce plays Lorne, a traveler struggling with the weight of isolation, who is confronted by a mysterious stranger who helps him realize his existential fears. This is a gritty, gripping short about how hard it is to be alone, in more ways than one, and how it can sometimes help to be quiet and listen. The POV filmmaking in this is is crazy cool, opening up a whole other dimension for storytelling and conversing with the audience without entirely breaking the barrier of the cinematic narrative (e.g. the 4th wall). It also helps that Pearce is so captivating telling this tale. See below.

Watch: Horror Short 'Your Date is Here' by Todd Spence & Zak White

Your Date is Here Short Film

"Maybe you got the dweeb?" Just in time for some Valentine's Day scares, enjoy this new horror short film from filmmakers Todd Spence and Zak White called Your Date is Here. It's nice and short (only 6 minutes!), with a fun premise, and it's effective at building up the suspense. Your Date is Here stars Becca Flinn and Dani Tiernan as a mother and daughter playing a board game one night. Things start to get weird and creepy as they keep playing, and then the pizza shows up. I'm always impressed by how easy it is to take such a simple premise, with only two characters, and create a short film that is actually effectively scary and gripping to watch. The power of great filmmaking! You don't even need a huge budget to make a good film.

Watch: Edgar Allen Poe-Inspired, Gothic Suspense Short Film 'Bricks'

Bricks Short Film

"You city boys - unbelievable." Would you like some wine with your short film? Check out this Edgar Allen Poe-inspired, "Gothic suspense thriller" short titled Bricks, about a wealthy stockbroker who hires a rough builder to renovate the wine cellar underneath his country house. In the shadowy cellar they find common ground at first, but then they'll have a falling out with chilling consequences. Not to be confused with Rian Johnson's directorial debut Brick, this film is a tense thriller about wealth, wine and the art of bricklaying. Bricks stars Jason Flemyng and Blake Ritson, directed by Neville Pierce. I dig all the uneasy tension in these two performances, this is such a nice thriller that allows the actors to play with the audience. Enjoy.

Watch: Camping Horror Short Film 'Crittus' Made by Marcus Alqueres

Crittus Horror Short Film

Watch where you camp. Beware of Crittus! Another well-made horror short that you all should check out. Crittus is written and directed by Canadian-Brazilian filmmaker Marcus Alqueres, a proof-of-concept for a nifty horror project that could be a feature. The story follows a guy named Sean, played by Felipe Abib, out on a soul-searching camping trip who encounters something weird in the forest. What could it be? You have to watch to find out. I quite like how this seems to be play like it's a typical camping horror, but then throws a few cool twists into the mix. I definitely would like to see more from this. Alqueres is already set to work on a few other feature projects, so there's plenty to watch out for from this filmmaker. Beware.

Watch: Oscar Nominee 'Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405' Short Film

Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 Short Film

One of the categories that gets very little attention at the Academy Awards is Best Documentary Short, usually featuring an impressive selection of international short films that are not always easy to watch. One of the films nominated as a Best Documentary Short from 2017 is one called Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405, directed by Frank Stiefel. If you live in Los Angeles, you know the 405 is one of the worst highways to drive and almost always has traffic. The film examines the life of LA-based artist Mindy Alper, who has struggled her entire life with mental disorders and depression, even though she produces remarkably deep, honest work. This short runs 40 minutes, but it's worth a watch to get an inspiring look inside the mind of a tortured artist. You can find out more about Alper on the film's official site after you've watched this. Enjoy.

Watch: Stunning Experimental Short Film 'Edifice' Made by Ash Thorp

Edifice Short Film

"A complex system of beliefs." We're taking a brief step outside of our comfort zone to share this fascinating, mesmerizing short film titled Edifice, made by designer / filmmaker / visual artist Ash Thorp (follow him @ashthorp). This experimental short features stunning imagery designed to consider existential questions about "who we are, where we come from, and where we are heading." It's only seven minutes and features no dialogue, only visuals. The concept is to present visually a "journey from stardust to singularity." Most of the short films we share contain some sort of narrative or plot device, but this one is all about the concept, evoking profound existential & philosophical thoughts through an entrancing visual experience. See below.

Watch: Horror Short Film 'Behind' by Director Ángel Gómez Hernández

Behind Short Film

"He doesn't like it when people get closet o you." In the mood for something creepy while waiting for A24's Hereditary to hit theaters? Watch this horror short film titled Behind from Spanish writer/director Ángel Gómez Hernández. The film stars Macarena Gómez as Arianne, a divorced mother, obsessed with the idea of ​​her baby falling into the hands of her ex-husband. She meets Leonor during a children's birthday, an old woman who tells her she sees a terrifying looking man following right behind her. This thought plagues her more and more, and she begins living in a real life nightmare. "The recesses of the mind can become a labyrinth populated by monsters, but the maternal instinct is always more powerful than the deepest fears."

Watch: Impressive Homemade 'Gremlins' Short Film 'Gremlins: Recall'

Gremlins: Recall Short Film

"They don't normally does this?!" They're back! Don't feed them after midnight, don't let them get wet, you know the rules. While we wait patiently for the long-awaited official Gremlins reboot, or sequel, or whatever it is they're working on, we have this awesome fan film to keep Gremlins fans happy. Gremlins: Recall is a fan film made by filmmaker Ryan Patrick and a whole bunch of his Gremlins-loving friends. This is a seriously impressive fan film, with excellent production value and sleek cinematography, not to mention a good soundtrack (which you can download here). I love the way this opens with the infomercial, it's kind of deceptive at first, but plays right into the story. And now I really would like another official Gremlins movie.

Watch: 'The Collection' Short Doc About Movie Ads Letterpress Plates

The Collection Short Film

Now this is a sweet find. Movie geeks of all ages need to take a moment to watch this short doc, titled The Collection, made by filmmaker Adam Roffman. "The Collection is a short documentary about two friends, DJ Ginsberg and Marilyn Wagner, and their discovery of an astonishing and unique collection of movie memorabilia, comprised of over 40,000 printer blocks and 20,000 printer plates used to create the original newspaper advertisements for virtually every movie released in the United States from the silent period through 1984, when newspapers stopped using the letterpress format." Once you're done watching, you can see more photos of the plates on the film's website. Wish I could see them in person. What an excellent doc.

Watch: Polaris Castillo's Moving Lucha Libre Short Film 'El Luchador'

El Luchador Short Film

"I'm putting an end to the tyranny! I will fight for my people. I will bring them peace and glory!" Another outstanding independent short film to watch when you have a chance. El Luchador is made by filmmaker Polaris Castillo and tells the story of a professional wrestler who goes into seclusion after his undefeated streak comes to an end. This is a very impressive, well-made, emotional short film that speaks to much more than just wrestling and the Lucha Libre life. Some of the footage reminds me a bit of Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler, but this goes down its own path when it comes to the actual story and characters. Fire it up below.

Don Hertzfeldt's 'World of Tomorrow Episode Two' is Available Now

World of Tomorrow Episode Two

"Without third generation Emily, my brain is now an obsolete storage drive without a purpose." Alert! It's time to watch the highly anticipated, super-intelligent, sci-fi sequel World of Tomorrow Episode Two. Acclaimed filmmaker Don Hertzfeldt is back(!) with another of his one-of-a-kind animated shorts called World of Tomorrow Episode Two (in full the title is World of Tomorrow Episode Two: Burden of Other People's Thoughts), the sequel to his highly successful World of Tomorrow from a few years ago. We posted a teaser trailer last month, and now the full short film is available to rent on Vimeo (please support indie filmmakers like Don Hertzfeldt). This initially premiered at Fantastic Fest to many rave reviews, including a rare A+ from David Ehrlich at Indiewire. If your brain needs a reboot and refresh, this film will help. Enjoy.

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Alex's Top 10 - 2017
1. Call Me By Your...
2. War for Apes
3. Shape of Water
4. Florida Project
5. Dunkirk
6. Jane
7. Foxtrot
8. Faces, Places
9. Never Really Here
10. Thelma
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1. mother!
2. Lady Bird
3. A Ghost Story
4. The Big Sick
5. Dunkirk
6. Get Out
7. Killing Sacred Deer
8. John Wick 2
9. War for Apes
10. The Beguiled
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