"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.
Another charming short to feature this week (in addition to The Foley Artist). This one is called Celluloid Dreams, written & directed by Jonathan Dillon. It has already played at enough festivals to be qualified for Academy Awards consideration, so we'll see if it makes the cut next year. The film stars Greg Lucey as an old man who puts together a broken projector and rewatches some of the old films he made growing up, discovering that he apparently can change the past while watching them. Or can he? I like the vibe of this film, telling such an emotional story without much dialogue and providing some bit of happiness at the end.
"How to Sound Design Your Life." This amusing video should cheer you up if you're feeling a bit down. It's a short film called The Foley Artist, and it shows how important sound design is with filmmaking. But it's also a nice short film with a fun story all packed into one impressive 3-minute video, directed by Oliver Holmes. Foley artists are the individuals who actually create the sound for films, using various objects and techniques in order to make the audience believe they're actually seeing what they're seeing. It is an art in and of itself, and it's fun to see the intercutting between the moments and the foley work in this film. Enjoy.
"We are risking everything in this match!" Always love stumbling across work like this. Thanks to a tip from Quiet Earth, there's a short film worth watching if you haven't seen it yet. Titled Virtual, or Pixel Theory: La Caja de Pandora, the film is set in the future where virtual reality has become so advance that most people spend most of their lives in a VR world. Juno is a professional player of a video game called "Laserball", but when he is killed in-game he must spend a few hours in the real world where he is reunited with this father. The video game has outstanding VFX, and it opens with some badass action before delving into the story. There is a Kickstarter for a full feature but they won't make their goal. Take a look anyway.
It's always exciting to see the latest short film in front of the latest Pixar film. They are consistently just as engaging and endearing as the feature film itself. Playing before Pixar's Finding Dory opening this month is a short film called Piper, about a little baby sandpiper bird looking for food on the beach. Explaining the style to THR, director Alan Barillaro said: "I love the painterly aspects of macro photography; the textures almost becomes a characters. I want to see computer animation fall into that world where lenses, just like in live action photography, can have a lot of expression." Disney released a short clip to tease the short. Enjoy.
"A lone angel has come to Earth to bear a child. A soul to combat the shadow. His name will be Michael." We've featured a couple of different shorts made by filmmaker Raphael Rogers in the past, including Immersion and Beyond. His latest work is a proof of concept short called Archangel, an attempt at telling the origin story of the archangel Michael. This is surprisingly epic and there's some solid VFX work even though it feels more like a pitch than a finished product that stands on its own, but still, not bad considering this was homemade. Cool costumes. Starring Blair Bomar, Bryan McGowan & Alexander Ward. Take a look.
"Do you ever suffer from feelings of weariness?" It's time to feature another excellent short film. This one is called You Are Whole, and it's written and directed by Laura Spini, playing at numerous film festivals all over the world before landing online. The short stars well-known actor Fred Melamed as a spiritualist missionary who becomes mistaken for a serial killer in a sleepy British seaside town. This takes a bit to get going, but it's pretty good. The comedy is dark but intelligent and she nailed the casting with Melamed. It's the kind of short that makes you think more than anything. Looking forward to seeing Spini make a feature.