"Savour this place and after this weekend maybe you'll never want to leave." Oh yes. This is one of those short films that delivers with a "holy shit" ending. Wild is a Dutch short film from filmmaker Jan Verdijk, and it originally premiered in 2018 and went on to win the "Best European Short Film" award at the Sitges Film Festival. And boy oh boy does it deserve that win. Toine, Iris and their son Jacco seek the hilly and picturesque south of The Netherlands for a weekend of quality time and relaxation. Toine – clearly the self-proclaimed head of the family – starts to behave erratically. His manners seem to look out of place in these idyllic surroundings. It won't take long before his family will have enough of his behavior. Ha! Ahahahaha. Just wait. Starring Wouter Hendrickx, Hannah van Lunteren, and Jago Hensema. Such a deranged and entirely satisfying short, and that ending is a doozy. I don't want to say anything more until you watch and experience this yourself. Thanks to our pals at Short of the Week, it is finally available to watch online.
"Business is good." Thanks to the power of the internet, the "sugar daddy" has evolved into an entirely new fetish: "pay pigs" - men who simply send money and fancy gifts to their dominatrix online to get off. Pay Pig is a dark comedy social commentary short film from filmmaker Hunt Beaty that originally debuted as part of the Six Short Films project online in (in collaboration with José Andrés Cardona & Wesley Wingo). Blane is a bodybuilder who happens to get turned on when his dominatrix empties his wallet and loves to be called a little bitch; he’s a pay pig. Starring Rob Youells as Blane, and Francesca Anderson as Lexi. This has a clever dynamic with the bodybuilder as the sub even though he has a "tough" persona. Ha. Good times.
"How could you navigate this world without any roots? It would be like roaming this Earth lost if you did not know who you were…" Another excellent short documentary about a place most of us have never heard of before. Seawolf is a short made by Canadian filmmaker Alexander Sworik, taking us on a journey to the Great Bear Rainforest located on the coast of British Colombia up near Alaska (Google Maps). This particular land is a "a naturally rich and diverse land home to many First Nations People. Like other areas in the country rich in natural resources, the land and its people have been and continue to be threatened by government regulation, restriction, and resource extraction." The doc spends time with two locals discussing their history and their connection with this land and the people from there. Not only does this feature tons of beautiful shots, but it's an invigorating story about Native people fighting for what's truly theirs anyway.
"I hear that buzz… they take that anxiety away." Another short about bees! The more, the merrier. Because bees are the cutest lil' buzz boys. Eric and the Bees is a short film produced by Zendesk to highlight the power of helpfulness. After serving 20 years in the US military, Eric Grandon retired to his family farm in West Virginia, but he was haunted by his experiences in combat. After a particularly harrowing flashback, he was diagnosed with PTSD. Beekeeping was first used as rehab for soldiers suffering 'shell shock' after the First World War. Finding himself suddenly at peace, Eric knew he had to help others. Now, he invites other veterans and first-line responders to his farm so they can experience the healing powers of beekeeping. This is a wonderful short not only about how great bees are, but how great it is to share your passion with others.
Another social media cautionary tale! This amusing, wacky animated short is a personal project from Berlin-based animation filmmaker Cornelius Joksch and it's another fun story that's criticizing the tragic lives of people obsessed with their social media presence. Cornelius makes his own short films and illustrations, but also works for brands and studios. Oh, Darling! is now available to watch online and it's only 4 minutes long. Obsessed with birds of all sorts, clumsy but loveable loner Andy finds himself lucky one day, when out of nowhere the most stunning bird he’s ever seen lands on his windowsill. Tempted by the outlook of getting recognition amongst fellow bird-aficionados, Andy gets a little carried away… Poor bird just wanted to be a free bird. In addition to the vital message of this (don't chase popularity!) the animation style is extra funky.
"This is unnatural, we gotta tell someone." "No, we can't!" "Why not…?" "Because they'll take it away from us!!" Time to catch up with this clever sci-fi short film titled Burnt Grass, which originally premiered in 2014 at the Toronto Film Festival. Thanks to a bump from Short of the Week, it's now available to watch on YouTube. Alex Paxton-Beesley and Christopher Jacot star as Sally & Jack, a young couple in the city, discover a strange phenomenon in their backyard that duplicates organic life. Sally quickly envisions its wild possibilities, while Jack suffers its consequences. This almost reminds me of the duplication machine in The Prestige, but with entirely different consequences. If you're intrigued by cloning, this is a must watch short.
"I just want to get home." Don't we all. Fandango has debuted an official trailer for a selection of the Short Film Nominees from this year's Academy Awards. As usual every year, Fandango and many cinemas will be showing ALL of the Oscar nominated short films in theaters (and in virtual cinemas for those who are still staying home). You can review all of the 2020 Oscar nominees here. "Short films can pack tremendous viewing value into just a few minutes of screentime. The very best of the best have now earned Oscar nominations. Thanks to ShortsTV, moviegoers will be able to see the nominated short films in theaters, the only opportunity to enjoy these award-worthy titles before the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, April 25th, 2021." The shorts presentation will include all three sections: live-action, animation, & documentary.
"We are coming back, aren't we?" This is an outstanding short that is undoubtedly worth a watch. Ruth is a one-take narrative short film by filmmakers Arturo M. Antolin & Paul Romero Mendez. This was made using the same kind of equipment and technique as with 1917, and was exec produced by ARRI and Directors UK. Ruth, an elderly lady with dementia, becomes lost within her own home. As she seeks answers, she ends up losing herself further, confusing reality with memories of her past self. Starring the acclaimed actress Ania Marson as Ruth, with David Sterne, Leslie Ash, Catherine Banks, and Alex Boorman as her family members. Ruth is also a compelling companion to The Father with Anthony Hopkins, as they are both about the same subject of dementia. "Shot in a single 12-minute take, the film tries to put the audience in Ruth's shoes, making them feel first-hand the daily confusion brought on by someone" with dementia. View below.
"One way or another, I'm gettin' home to my dog." Netflix has unveiled an official trailer for an acclaimed time loop short titled Two Distant Strangers, which is arriving streaming on Netflix in April. It's already nominated for Best Live Action Short at the Academy Awards this year. In the film, cartoonist Carter James’ repeated attempts to get home to his dog are thwarted by a recurring deadly encounter that forces him to re-live the same awful day over & over. Starring Joey Bada$$ and Andrew Howard, with Zaria Simone. "When we set out to create this short in the middle of the simultaneous pandemic and social justice crises, we didn’t know what to expect… [We've] been so filled with gratitude to see so many people responding to this story of resilience and perseverance." The short runs 29 minutes and looks like it's definitely worth a watch. It's also similar to another time loop film The Obituary of Tunde Johnson - both of these look great.
"Looking for mutual respect, but you got your foot on my neck!" This extraordinary short film has been a decade in the making. Enough (stylized as enough.) is a short music video doc profiling the life of musician / hip-hop artist Nathan Nzanga. "A dream, a nightmare, a musical. Ten years in the making, welcome to the stormy inner world of one Congolese-American coming of age in the US." Directed by award-winning filmmaker Caleb Slain, the film follows Nzanga's journey from quirky kid born to Congolese immigrants, to an idealistic teen artist, to a frustrated young man struggling to overcome pain and cynicism. The film has inspired artists to create posters in support, and one of those creators is the multi-award winning artist & celebrated Hollywood poster illustrator Akiko Stehrenberger. She has unveiled a painting inspired by the film (seen below), which is now being auctioned off via Prodigy Camp. To hear more about her inspiration and why she made this art - click here. This is a powerful short film that will hopefully wake up more people.
"Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times!" The fight for democracy captured on camera. Do Not Split 不割席 is an excellent short documentary by filmmaker Anders Hammer, who was on the streets in Hong Kong filming the protests in 2019. After premiering at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, the film earned a Best Documentary Short nomination at this year's Academy Awards. Congrats! In 2019 Hong Kong was rocked by the largest protests since Britain handed back the area to China in 1997. This is the story of the protests, told through a series of demonstrations by local protesters that escalate into conflict when highly armed police appear on the scene. Do Not Split takes us to the heart of the Hong Kong protests throughout that summer. It follows pro-democracy protesters in over the course of a year as they face police violence and grapple with the new, Beijing-backed National Security Law. I think all of what's going on around the world is summed up perfectly by one of the lines in this film: "I'm not thinking democracy will come easily."
"Here is what tiger's look like when they're all alone in the jungle and nobody can see them." If you need a good laugh, stop and take five minutes to watch this animated short. Curious World of Animals is a fun animated short "documentary" film made by animation filmmakers Dante Zaballa and Osian Efnisien. They made this last year during the pandemic and released small segments of it to make people laugh while in lockdown. Now they've put all of the bits together. The animation is a bit ridiculous, but that's the point. "Take a glimpse at the natural world which surrounds us in this groundbreaking documentary that nobody asked for." It's filled with fun facts and images of various animals that don't even exist. "We really hope that soon we can extend our concept of human kindness to our little animal friends." Animals need our love, too.