"I would know if I was a replicant!" We're always on the lookout for good sci-fi short films. Tears In The Rain is an intriguing little short from South Africa that is clearly directly inspired by Blade Runner, set in the world of Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. This short was made on a budget of only $1500 which is crazy impressive, and it looks great. I wish there was more taking place outside on the streets, but it's still cool to see a well-made short film set in this world, and I can always appreciate some fascinating dialogue. This gets deep into the themes from the original novel about free will and whether or not our memories are real, and if we would know that we're a robot, or are just designed to think we're real.
"We can find a way out of this…" This is a badass short to watch whenever you get the chance. Brix and the Bitch is an action short film written and directed by Nico Raineau, a friend & fan of the site, and up-and-coming filmmaker. This short has been picking up tons of awards at festivals throughout 2016 and is now available online to watch. It's about a tough woman caught up in an illegal fight club who must fight the one person she refuses to harm in order to escape. Starring Dre Swain and Alex Marshall-Brown. It's best to take a moment and watch this without reading any more about it, you may dig it more than expected.
"It is not an acting class, it is not a character switch, it really is who I am." Batman fans have to check out this wild short film called Being Batman, about a "real life" Batman vigilante who defends the streets of Brampton, Ontario, Canada. This is almost too crazy to be true, but it really is a short doc about a guy who dresses up as Batman, and pretty much believes he really is Batman - no, seriously. I love the way this short is put together, with voice-over driving the narrative, making it much more thrilling to watch. This would play as a nice double feature with the Batkid documentary. Really, you need to watch this to see for yourself.
This is exciting news! ShortsHD, an online short film channel, has announced that they have partnered with Magnolia Pictures to release all 15 Academy Award nominated short films in theaters starting this February. The shorts program will be playing on over 500 screens across the United States, Canada, Europe and Latin America starting on February 10th, 2017. They will be screening the Live-Action Short Films, Animated Short Films, and Documentary Short Films nominated for Oscars, which includes Pixar's Piper as well as The White Helmets documentary. This is the perfect way to see all of these acclaimed short films, instead of trying to find them online. The Oscar ceremony takes place on Sunday, February 26th in about a month.
Aw, what an adorable little monkey. This BAFTA nominated short film titled Monkey Love Experiments is worth a quick watch, telling the story of a tiny monkey named "Gandhi" who dreams of traveling into space. Made by Ainslie Henderson and Will Anderson, the short is inspired by actual experiments and space missions in the early 1960s. Gandhi is a stop-motion animated puppet but they bring him to life perfectly to tell this charming story (it's all in the eyes, right?). I appreciate the attention to detail and that they made this feel like it was filmed on 16mm in the 60s. Poor lil' guy just wants to go to space. Don't we all, monkey.
In our near future. Over the weekend, A24 debut a mysterious teaser trailer for an untitled film - without any information or details about what it is or what it's for or anything. After some sneaky investigation, The Film Stage discovered that the trailer is actually for a short film playing at Sundance 2017 called Toru. The footage has a sci-fi edge to it and shows the life of a baby living in a futuristic Japan. Early speculation was that this might be Shane Carruth's new sci-fi film, but apparently not. It's actually a very unique short about sci-fi tech that allows a baby to experience a full life in a matter of days. Some are speculating that maybe A24 is developing a feature, or just releasing the short, either way they've definitely got our attention.
A forest, a symbol, a dream of humanity. Fire up this fantastic French sci-fi short film titled The Edge, from director Simon Saulnier. After playing at film festivals throughout 2015 and 2016, the short has finally arrived online. The Edge is a contained sci-fi story following the journey of a young girl tracking down the thieves who stole from her something she cares about. It runs about 13 minutes, but is worth watching for the impressive attention to detail and the compelling, mysterious story of a renegade woman. The score by Alex Cortès (Eden Log, Martyrs, Arès) is also stellar. This might be one of the best shorts we'll see this year.
"I traveled many miles in tin cans…" TIFF has released a wonderful short film titled The Film Prayer, featuring narration by Keanu Reeves (who also produced the outstanding film vs digital documentary Side by Side a few years ago). It's basically a short promo for TIFF's "Save This Moment" campaign, bringing more awareness to film preservation and careful handling of film. The "prayer" which Reeves is reciting was written in 1920, supposedly by a projectionist. It was given to "film distributors to promote better handling of film and could be found inside film cans for many years." A poignant reminder to keep film alive forever.
Even with endless new CG animated features every year, stop-motion filmmaking is still going strong and it makes me happy to see this. This year there are a few stand out films, between Kubo and the Two Strings as well as My Life as a Zucchini. There's also some great short films being made, and this one here is another example of how impressive it is to see stop-motion used for visual storytelling. The Lighthouse is a B&W stop-motion short film made by up-and-coming Austrian filmmaker Simon Scheiber about a rather bored lighthouse keeper. The style and detail in this make it mesmerizing to watch, and the ending is quite trippy.
What a beautiful animated short film. The Fisherman is a short created and animated by Luke Saunders, featuring a very unique visual style telling a heartfelt story about family and remembering our loved ones. The brief description of the film explains that "a series of serendipitous events lead to a chance encounter and the fulfilling of an old man's last earthly desire." This is one of those out-of-nowhere fantastic short films that I encourage everyone to just stop and watch without reading too much about it beforehand, as the simplicity of it makes it more impactful in the end. I also just love the animation style and music, I want to see more shorts made like this. Thanks to the sci-fi network Dust for premiering this. Watch it in full below.
Pickle is a peculiar, amusing, quirky, entertaining short unlike anything else you've seen before. Made by Amy Nicholson, a New York-based filmmaker of docs and other projects, the short features her parents, Tom & Debbie Nicholson, who are dedicated caretakers of various odd creatures that "suffer from unusual medical conditions". The short film explores the "human capacity to care for all creatures throughout their sometimes greatly protracted lives until their occasionally sudden and unfortunate deaths." Pickle was a fish that couldn't swim; they also cared for an obese chicken, a cat with a heart condition, a non-buoyant goose, and a paraplegic possum. This unusual but heartfelt short deserves a small piece of your time. Watch below.
"You might say Baltimore is the best known Snowy yet." Time for something a bit different, but lots of fun. Secrets Of The Snowy Owl is a short documentary made by NPR's Skunk Bear team, featuring "owl sleuth" Adam Cole revealing the secrets of the Snowy Owl. The Snowy Owl is a certain species of owl that is well known, but not too much is known about them. The filmmaking in this doc is creative and engaging, with amusing animation and great footage of Cole's adventure to find a particular owl named Baltimore. It reminds me of another short we posted this year - The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere. Watch below.