Wow. Every once in a while a film comes along that stops you in your tracks, reminds you why you love great films, and shows us that there's still real talent out there. This short film, titled Bag Man, came across my desk this week and it's actually a must watch. From filmmakers Jonathan & Josh Baker, the film tells the story of a young boy who leaves New York City to venture upstate with a mysterious dufflebag in hand. What is he hiding? You'll have to watch and find out. I love everything about this - the setup and payoff is perfect, the short flows smoothly and never drags, it's gorgeously shot and looks great, the VFX are fantastic. Along with Envoy, this is genuinely one of the best shorts I've seen in a while, and I will be following these guys.
Who are you, if you're not the only you? This peculiar little short film is worth watching for the interesting twists and turns found within. Titled Mouse-X (which may hint at more of the plot than expected), written & directed by up-and-coming filmmaker Justin Tagg (@mouseXshortfilm), this "sci-fi mind trip" follows a man who wakes up in a room and has to figure out where he is and what's going on. He's trapped inside of one giant experiment involving a thousand clones of himself, so who is he if he's not the only one? It runs a bit long, but otherwise it's a well-made short that proves even old ideas can be rehashed and still be unique.
"Magic is such a universal thing." Who doesn't love a little bit of magic? If you're in the mood for something inspiring, and fun at the same time, check out this short documentary from The Verge about a small town in Michigan called Colon (Google Maps). Dubbed the "Magic Capital of the World", the doc takes a light-hearted look at a lovable town that contains three fabulous home-brewed magic shops/manufacturers, and hosts the annual "Abbott's Magic Get Together", a convention (that reminds me of Fantastic Fest) for magicians, illusionists and entertainers. Never heard of this place? Neither have I, but that's why it's such a memorable introduction. A nice little slice of Americana packed into an entertaining short doc. Have a look.
"You don't even know what it's capable of! Or what it's doing." Wow - this is one of the best shorts I've seen in a while - David Weinstein's Envoy, uploaded to his Vimeo recently. Stellar VFX combined with an emotional, compelling story - a kid and his robot, think Transformers with a little The Iron Giant. And I love that it goes all out, never shying away from showing the robot and some awesome action scenes, and it follows through until the very end. Envoy is under 10 minutes and is worth a quick watch, it's refreshing to see something so good for a short film like this. Someone let this guy make a movie, I don't want this to end.
"You are lucky I found you first, child." Catch this dark, impressive fan film from Michael Paris. While there has been some talk of another Spawn movie in development, we haven't seen anything actually come together in years. There hasn't been anything since the Spawn movie from 1997 with Michael Jai White that most people despise. Paris decided to make his own Spawn film and the result is "The Recall", set mostly inside of a grocery story with some really cool scenes. It's impressive work for a fan film and shows just how much potential there is in great characters. Spawn fans will enjoy this the most, but it's entertaining for all.
"I remember you." This may be worth your time, even though it's 21 minutes long, it's a good one. There's a short that has been in the works for at least seven years, filming back in 2007 through 2009. And it's finally done and ready for public consumption. The short is titled Similo from Spanish filmmakers Zacarias & Macgregor, set in the distant future about a man and a woman and what each one desires. Explained on their website: "Similo started as a simple yet ambitious idea: to make a realistic science fiction love story. The combination of these two aspects,' science fiction' and 'realism', was quite an exciting challenge for us." The results are something to behold, and it looks gorgeous on top of everything, so fire this up and dive in.
From Pixar to Studio Ghibli to Laika, we love all kinds of animation. And because we also like showcasing short films from time to time, calling attention to this fantastic animated short called It's Payback Time seemed right up our alley. These little gray creatures find their world in upheaval when a mysterious blue substance is leading to catastrophic destruction. Where is this coming from? What's going on? Will they ever survive? While normally you might find yourself rooting for the little guys to overcome this disastrous development, the twist ending will actually have you glad to see this world destroyed. Watch the short now!
Who doesn't love Alan Rickman? You may change your mind after this short, though not likely. Rickman played Professor Snape in the Harry Potter series, but is also an accomplished stage and TV actor and has appeared in films like Dogma, Galaxy Quest, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Sense & Sensibility, Love Actually, Alice in Wonderland as the Blue Caterpillar, Bottle Shock, Lee Daniels' The Butler and CBGB. He stars in this short titled Dust, from co-writers/directors Ben Ockrent & Jake Russell, that will freak you out at first. Once you get it, and once you figure out what's going on, you'll either be smiling or going nuts. I believe it's a odd kind of dark comedy, so laugh it up. Or report the authorities. Either way, enjoy this short.
"What - you need an invitation?" As always, we're happy to feature short films that catch our attention so as to inspire, and to provide a quick look at the variety of great filmmakers (and stories to tell) out there. This latest one is titled Now We Are Not, written and directed by Amanda Mae Meyncke (aka @amae and writer for other film websites), and as much as I could start explaining the concept you'll figure out as soon as you start watching. It's almost sort of a reverse Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, without the sci-fi, but with all the emotions. I enjoyed it and hope to see more from Amanda soon. It's only a quick 6 minutes.
This morning's must watch short film comes from China, but also comes straight from the Telluride Film Festival. It's called The Sand Storm from filmmaker Jason Wishnow, who returns to narrative filmmaking after working on the TEDTalks web series. The short film just premiered at Telluride and is about a water smuggler, played by Ai Weiwei, in future where water is limited. It's not too long to watch and provides some insight on the struggles of our modern world, with some intuitive commentary. It's not my favorite short but I do recommend watching it if you're looking for something thought-provoking. Fire it up below.
While computer animation continues to flourish with Pixar Animation films like Toy Story and Finding Nemo and The House of Mouse's own Walt Disney Animation with Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen, the old school hand drawn, 2D animation is starting to fall to the wayside. But some Disney veterans are getting together to create a new steampunk-themed adventure called Hullabaloo, which will be a short hand drawn animation film which they hope to turn into a web series, TV show or even better, a feature-length film. And what's even more exciting, is the two heroes are a pair of brilliant, female engineers. Look below!
"Why must everything that is broken be fixed?" This might just be a must watch, but I don't want to get too excited. While we often feature sci-fi short films that have extravagant CG visuals, this one is all about the dialogue. Titled simply Interview With a Time Traveler, from director James Cooper, it is exactly that — an interview with a time traveler, and it's very mysterious and compelling. With all the discussion and build up in this, it has to have a good pay off at the end, and it does have a good one. I like how much they achieve and how captivating this is for something so simple - an interview. Check out the short in full below.
Last night, ABC acknowledged all the love that has sprouted for Walt Disney Animation's hit musical Frozen by debuting a TV special “The Story of Frozen: Making an Animated Classic," taking a look behind the scenes of the film featuring the voices of Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad. And Disney also revealed that all four of the main characters brought to life by those respective actors would return in Frozen Fever, a new short film debuting in the spring of 2015 and reunites directors Jennifer Lee & Chris Buck and songwriters Robert Lopez & Kristen Anderson-Lopez. Read on!
"Remember kid: this is the only law left in this town." Damn this is cool. A couple of friends, who grew up with Batman as their childhood hero, have decided to make a short film inspired by the classic 1992 episode of Batman: The Animated Series, 'Beware The Gray Ghost'. Titled The Gray Ghost, this short film chronicles the live-action adventures of "The Gray Ghost" aka Simon Trent. In the original animated series, Trent (voiced by Adam West) is depicted as a down-on-his-luck actor who was typecast for life playing a masked avenger on a black-and-white serialized TV show. This short film plays like a "lost reel" from the old serialized show, and it's very well done for something some friends made in their spare time. Check this out!