"On the day they were going to kill him, Jun Seo did not arrive at his liquor store until 5PM." It's always hard to introduce short films without giving away too much about them. I prefer to say the least possible before simply encouraging watching the short in full. This one is titled Los Angeles 1991 and is set in Los Angeles in 1991 and is a real-life story about a shooting at a local liquor store. It's a very powerful drama that makes you think about how different lives intersect and interact in a tragedy like this. The short is made by "Zac&Mac", directed by a filmmaker known as "Macgregor", also known in real life as Miguel de Olaso. He's definitely proving that he can handle real-life drama and emotions with this short. Watch below in full.
"They destroyed our home!" Now this is must watch short film. There's a new unofficial Star Wars fan film available to watch online made by a filmmaker named Joe Sill that is about a father and daughter. It's one of the first fan films inspired by Star Wars: The Force Awakens (so far) that really captures the spirit of that movie, specifically how amazing Daisy Ridley's character Rey is. In this film, Andra Nechita stars as Kara, and there's a really big reveal with her near the end that makes this even more exciting. To top it off, this has impressive technical aspects including outstanding VFX work (X-Wings, Tie Fighters galore!) and tons of futuristic action that actually feels real. I'm so impressed I had to watch it twice. Give it a look.
"So much space, so little time." As always, it's nice to come across a short film that puts you in a good mood by the end. Boldly Gone is a short written & directed by Mark Buchanan that has been playing on the film festival circuit most of last year. It's finally online in full (running time of 12 minutes) for free and it's worth watching if you've ever built your own rocket from scratch (I remember building one in middle school and at Cub Scouts back when). The film is about two estranged brothers who try to figure out how to launch a rocket with their father's ashes into space. It reminds me of October Sky, with Jake Gyllenhaal as Homer Hickam, who builds his own model rockets while Wernher von Braun is working on the Apollo program.
This is badass! The Raid 1 & 2 director Gareth Evans has released a short film online that he produced entirely on his own. It's a short samurai film shot in Wales that is a test sequence to prove that they can film action similar to The Raid films but with a PG-13 rating. The main cast includes Hannah Al Rashid, Yayan Ruhian and Cecep Arif Rahman. This isn't anything more than a test sequence, but it's awesome to see and hopefully good inspiration for filmmakers trying to figure out how to shoot action. I dig the black & white style, as it allows the viewer to appreciate the composition. I'm a fan of Gareth Evans (watch my interview from a few years ago) and I think he's one of the most talented action directors making films today. Enjoy!
"Rachel?" Some nifty sci-fi to kick off 2016. Director Simon Brown has debuted a short film that plays as a teaser for a full feature called Traveler, about four friends who develop a teleportation system in a sleek jet-powered craft. This is much more exciting than you thank, and you will definitely wish there was more to it by the end, which is the whole point. It's a helluva pitch. I really love the setup, and the vehicle looks cool. Plus the sudden twist in this is awesome. Once you get through it, if you want to learn more about the story and where it's headed there's info on their website. Give this short a watch and let us know what you think.
"I remember the first time I tried it… I thought to myself: 'Wow. I'm never going to be bored again.'" If you're into the virtual reality craze, you must see this fascinating new short. It's called Uncanny Valley, which is a reference to the point at which you feel uneasy noticing that a CGI creation isn't really real, from Argentinian director Federico Heller. It explores a future where VR junkies have become so addicted to the virtual worlds, they truly have become junkies, jacking in most of the day. There's some great VFX in this, and strong world-building, with a major transition to sci-fi action in the second half. Beware of VR addicts.
"I can fight the monsters!" Time for an excellent throwback to "The Twilight Zone". Monsters (not to be confused with Gareth Edwards' breakout sci-fi film) is a short film from director Steve Desmond about a family living in an underground bunker, away from the monsters that roam the world above. It is a full-on "Twilight Zone" homage in the way the monsters are exactly who/what you expect them to be (we are all the monsters! oh no!) and yet there is still a twist ending, all within about 12 minutes. It's good, an entertaining short film discovery that is worth your time to watch. Especially if you appreciate "Twilight Zone". Enjoy.
"Can you just be supportive?" Here's another short film to watch whenever you have the time. This one is called We'll Find Something, and it actually starts Shane Carruth and Amy Seimetz, as well as Julia Farell. The two play a couple on a trip to New York City looking for somewhere to get some food, all the while discussing various relationship topics and other random trifles. This short is fresh out of the SXSW Film Festival, where it initially premiered earlier this year, as well as the Maryland Film Festival, and is now available online in full for free via Vimeo below. It's nothing spectacular, but it is a nice little short to enjoy.
How many points can you rack up? We recommend watching this fantastic four minute short film called Trick Meter, from Weta VFX artist and filmmaker Simeon Duncombe out of New Zealand. The very creative, very fun short follows a skateboarder who gets sucked into some funky game where he must do tricks and dodge obstacles to survive. It has some great FX setup behind it, and a fresh vibe to it. The short was featured on Short of the Week, where they wrote that "Duncombe manages to succeed where so many special effects film fail by crafting a dynamic, fantastic world dominated by a ticking clock." Fire it up below.
Scrat in space! The latest animated short from Blue Sky Studios is another adventure with the lovable, goofy saber-toothed squirrel Scrat who has appeared on screen many times. Titled the "Cosmic Scrat-tastrophe", the story involves Scrat stumbling upon a frozen alien spaceship, jolting it loose, and taking it off up into the heavens only to knock some planets around causing a catastrophe. The short then links his actions to a "series of cosmic events that transform and threaten the Ice Age World". Very cool to see. The short is playing in front of The Peanuts Movie in theaters already, so some of you might have seen it. If not, here is your chance to enjoy the entire Cosmic Scrat-tastrophe short in full. Have fun and bring oxygen.
"I'm not here to amend my own life in some way, I've made peace with all my failures…" Get ready for a mindf*ck with this one. There's a cool short film we highly recommend watching called Therefore I Am, a sci-fi psychological thriller from the McCoubrey Brothers - the same guys who made that dark comedy The Grey Matter. The film is set around a conversation between a man and someone claiming to be himself from the future, but everything changes with every word spoken. It is a "a time travel story", but not in the way you think. It reminds me a bit of that short Interview With a Time Traveler, but even more intelligent.
"We hope you enjoy our take on the adventures of Samus Aran." This is awesome! There's a fantastic new fan film called Metroid: The Sky Calls going around the internet that everyone needs to see - watch in full below. It's an adaptation, or a fresh new take really, on the video game series Metroid, which is about a kick ass female bounty hunter named Samus Aran who wears special futuristic armor to fight with. Actress Jessica Chobot plays Samus in this short, reminding me a bit of the way Robert Downey Jr. plays Iron Man in the suit. There's a very impressive, old school, gritty deep space sci-fi vibe to this that makes it so fascinating. Plus, I love a really good sci-fi short. Whether or not you're a Metroid fan, this is worth a watch.
"Two brothers walked a single trail…" It's time to get in the Halloween mood with a horror short film. This one is titled The Storybook Killer directed by Andrew Vallentine, and it just premiered online thanks to Amplify and YouTube star Ricky Dillon, who stars in the short film as one of the main characters. The horror short is about a group of friends who go looking for a long lost brother at a nearby theme park, only to end up being killed one-by-one. The dialogue is a bit cheesy, but this is an effective and interesting horror short with some fun kills. The cast includes Ashley Argota, Meg DeAngelis, Josh Leyva, and Cody Saintgnue.
"Please sir, stay calm! Let me play my role while you play yours!" Take a look at this fun, short film about a crop circle tour guide getting into a spat with her tour guests. Cropped is directed by filmmaker Chris Thomas and is an amusing Homespun Yarns film about the "Crop Hops: Circles of Life" tour to go see real crop circles. It's a nicely made short on a very limited budget, focusing on the story and atmosphere more than anything. Yes, the VFX are a bit weak when they show up, but I like the music, and the overall feel of the short is impressive for something this small. Nice work. A good short to get you in a scary movie mood.