"Albatross welcomes you. Prepare for docking." Sometimes fans come up with tributes that rival the actual work, and this is a great example of that. This new Star Trek fan film, titled Chasing The Infinite Sky, was released at the end of July timed with the opening of Star Trek Beyond. Created by Albert Martinez entirely in his own spare time, with VFX co-created by Ricardo Elliott, the short is about Captain Storm piloting a new experimental ship called the U.S.S. Albatross. It focuses more on space travel than anything else, inspired by J.J. Abrams' visuals, but it's still seriously impressive and enjoyable to watch even if you're not the biggest Trekkie. There isn't much of a story but that doesn't bother me because it's so nice to look at.
"Guys, it's just my mom!" Today's impressive short film worth watching is called Where You Are, a rather peculiar yet fascinating story about a hide-and-seek game gone awry. The story starts when a mother begins playing a harmless game of hide-and-seek with her son James, but suddenly ends traveling through time trying to find him. Sounds odd, but it's good. I love the way this plays out, just flowing from one moment to the next without much time to figure out what's going on (much like life, right?) yet it's obviously intricately planned out. This is the kind of short film that will make you realize there's still great ideas out there. Enjoy.
"Still wearing the cape?" Today's must see short film discovery is titled Loudini, a charming and amusing story about a struggling magician who goes by the nickname "Loudini". Made by the same guys who made the short film Foureyes that we featured a few years ago, Loudini is described (by the filmmakers) as their "mash up of Punch Drunk Love, Inside Llewyn Davis and King of Comedy". That's an eclectic yet appealing pitch that should grab a few of you. The short also has a performance by the musician Car Seat Headrest. This is a great example of a simple idea made grand and engaging by smart filmmaking choices. Have fun.
"He really just needs someone to be here… for him…" One of the horror short films that played at last year's Fantastic Fest was this short, titled House of Straw, about a married couple dealing with some problems. Written & directed by Kyle Bogart, the film is about a troubled marriage that is on the verge of falling apart, but at the same time this has a twist because it's actually a werewolf story. It's best just to dive in and watch the entire thing and see for yourself, especially if you're a fan of werewolf stories or watching indie short films that come with a great script. This is an impressive little short that shows quite a bit of promise not only with the story but also the production. A feature version of this is already in the works. Have fun.
"How many times have you done this? And how many times have you been caught?" The short film we're featuring this week is actually connected with a feature film arriving in theaters over the next few months. Titled Transpecos, the film is about three Border Patrol agents working a remote desert checkpoint - see the trailer here. Before making the feature, director Greg Kwedar and producer Clint Bentley made a short film titled Dakota, also about Border Patrol agents who aren't the stereotypical agents we've all heard about on the news. The story is about a discovery in a truck that causes one agent "to question the very nature of his job". It's an impressive little short film and it's cool to see that this was the inspiration directly leading to the feature-length film. This is also a good look at what it takes to make a career as a filmmaker.
Take a look at the three winning short films from this year's Jameson First Shot international short film competition supported by Jameson Irish Whiskey, Kevin Spacey and Trigger Street Productions. This is the fifth year of the Jameson First Shot contest, and three filmmakers were chosen from around the world to make short films starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and produced by Trigger Street. A few weeks back we wrote about the winners and who they were, now we finally get to see the short films they made. These were first premiered at an event in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, now they can be seen online in full. In addition, we had the chance to ask one of them, Cameron Thrower, a few questions about breaking into the industry.
"It'll still float on…" Now this is creative filmmaking at its finest. Inspired by a random throwaway shot in a NASA documentary about the Apollo missions, Alexa Haas and Bernardo Britto decided to make a short film about an astronaut's glove somehow came loose and went floating into the abyss of space. The short film is titled Glove and it features hand-painted animation by Alexa Haas, telling a wondrous story of the life of this glove. I saw this at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, as it played in front of the film Operation Avalanche, which is pretty much perfect pairing. My only complaint is that I hate the looping of the final shot at the credits - once or twice was enough. Other than that, this is so much fun to watch. Enjoy.
If you love cinematic documentaries and/or if you love trains, this is a must watch. Grasshopper Film has released a short film online called A Train Arrives at the Station, featuring 26 different scenes from various films through history showing trains arriving into or departing from stations. It's the latest work from filmmaker Thom Andersen, who made the outstanding documentary Los Angeles Play Itself (which you can rent on iTunes), profiling how the city has appeared in cinema over the years. The short features footage of films ranging from Ozu's The Only Son to Andrew Dominik's The Assassination of Jesse James. I'm admittedly a huge train nerd, so this is totally something I am instantly in love with and want to watch over and over. The full short film is only available for a limited time online, so watch this while you still can.
"This is not even an African cow." This short film isn't sci-fi or animated, but it is damn good. Grey Bull is a short from Australian filmmaker Eddy Bell about a South Sudanese refugee now living and working in Australia. After befriending a grey bull at the slaughterhouse where he works, he decides to rescue it and bring it home where his family lives, causing all kinds of problems. Despite the brutal nature of the world he works in, and the stress of being a refugee in foreign country, there's a charm to this that really stands out. I can see why this won so many awards at so many festivals the last few years, it deserves them, and I hope to see more from this filmmaker sooner than later. You don't need to know much about this, just watch below.
Never give up! This is one of those short film discoveries that makes you smile and feel so happy you want to grab the nearest person and tell them to watch it with you. The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere is an ESPN 30 for 30 short documentary made by Mickey Duzyj profiling a Japanese racehorse named Haru Urara. This horse is special because she kept losing, she lost over 100 races in a row, and yet was turned into a national superstar. The doc explains that Haru Urara became a symbol of hope, of "never giving up", for the Japanese people during their depressing economic crisis in the 90s and 00s. She also helped save the racetrack where she was from in a small town in the south of Japan. It's a wonderful doc with some fantastic animation and great interviews. I highly recommend watching, even if you have no interest in horse racing.
"Those of you who continue to meet targets will be safe." After all the new trailers this week, why not take a look at a dystopian sci-fi short from an up-and-coming filmmaker named Michael Gilhooly. The short is titled The Listener and stars actor Amit Shah as a "Listener" named Jeremy in a dystopian future where everyone is constantly under surveillance (not so far off from modern reality as is anyway). His loyalty to the Directorate is challenged when a charming new coworker arrives. This is a longer short than usual, running at about 22 minutes, but it's worth it to get fully invested in this story. And for those complaining about the short films we post not having much of a story, this one should be more than satisfactory. Take a look below.
"Sometimes to work out what is beautiful about life it can only be solved by someone who exists to work." Another outstanding must-see short film debuted online this week. This one is titled Tergo, directed by Charles Willcocks, founder of the London filmmaking collective known as Pallas Pictures. They've made an impressive little film about a robot named Tergo that cleans up "after you and me." It's set in London and is about how a robot that cleans up the garbage everyone leaves seems to have more humanity than anyone else. It's simple and effective, and I like the rickety robot character, though I wish we got to see more of him working around the city. This could've been much longer and I would've kept watching and still enjoyed it.
There's always time to fit some sci-fi into your day. This short film is actually a demo of a new live rendering engine for video games, but it's pretty damn cool and worth watching anyway. The short is called Adam, directed by Veselin Efremov, and is set in the distant future. The plot seems to involve a robot (named Adam) waking up and discovering he is being released with many others just like him but is considered to be a criminal - the screen on his chest reads "Adam M. Thomas - Felony Code 227900". Upon release, they encounter two mysterious bounty hunter-like characters that remove the felony code and let them be free. I like the visual storytelling in this, and it seems like there's much more to this world worth exploring. Enjoy.
This is an impressive little animated short film that should make you happy by the end. Drone is made by students from the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Scotland. Set in a post-apocalyptic Scotland "when machines have taken over the cities and mankind has retreated to the forests", a young woman hunting for animals encounters an automated drone and figures out how to fight back. There's some refreshing optimism in this film, and it's inspired by Celtic culture. Not only does it reminds me of Studio Ghibli films, but there's a bit of Rey from The Force Awakens found in the main character. Worth a watch.