"My heart is still always in the mountains." Be inspired in only six minutes with this lovely little short film made by snowboarder / filmmaker Phil Hessler. The short is called A Conversation, and it is indeed just a meet-and-greet conversation between two iconic people within the outdoor sports industry - Ugandan-born professional snowboarder Brolin Mawejje, who's training for the Olympics; and professional climber / filmmaker Jimmy Chin, also known as the co-director of the doc films Meru, Free Solo, and this year's The Rescue. They meet in Jackson Hole for "an intimate conversation about their unique career paths as minorities in the outdoor industry and how they’ve struggled with pressure, both familial and internal." This originally premiered at the Mountainfilm Festival and it's now online to watch. It's great to hear from these two. More than anything this just makes me want to get up to the mountains to go skiing, too. Watch below.
"The future is not set. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves." Another impressive homemade sci-fi short film to check out. Terminator: Hunter Killer is a proof-of-concept short film, set in the future war of the Terminator-movie universe, as the humans struggle to survive in the post-apocalyptic wasteland. It was made entirely by a UK-based concept artist and designer named Jamie Martin, who created this using 3D assets provided for free and with direct inspiration from the first two Terminator movies. He sent this short over to us in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, originally released in July of 1991. While this is obviously a 3D CG short, it has a realistic look and feel, taking us right into this futuristic war against the machines. More than anything it's a mood piece, an example of how you can craft an entire world on your own. Now I'd like to see more stories set in this Terminator-filled warzone.
"Mom, I'm off to find a Meteorite!" "Take a jacket!" How can you get the girl if she's into all things space and aliens? It's simple: just go out and find the aliens that crashed to Earth. Down To Earth is a kooky, fun, harmless little sci-fi short film made in Australia by filmmaker Nick Crowhurst. Three young misfits venture into the Australian outback to find what they believe is a meteorite that has crash landed near their country town, only to discover it's something far more mysterious. Armed with a map, some walkie talkies and, in Eddie’s case, ample snacks, the three venture off. As the sun sets and with Eddie slowing them down, their chances of finding the meteorite quickly fades, until they stumble across a smoking barn and inside discover something out of this world! This stars Sebastien Skubala, Liam Daughtry, & Kiki Nicholls. It doesn't have the best performances, or the best script either, but it's mostly enjoyable to watch. Have fun.
"The only home I find, is deep within my lonely bones, deep with my mind…" This is magnificent, what a wonderful artistic creation. The Elephant's Song is a marvelous hand-crafted animated short film created by American filmmaker Lynn Tomlinson (she also animated the music video "Ten Degrees of Strange" for Johnny Flynn & Robert Macfarlane). It was made frame by frame using both clay-on-glass and oil pastel animation. Along with some paper craft to add historical context to this story. An old farm dog recounts the true tale of Old Bet, the elephant at the start of the American circus. Featuring a song with lyrics by Sam Saper, singing about the elephant's old lonely bones, as she is forced to work for her human master. This is just magical, not only visually awe-inspiring, but the song they sing makes this an enchanting experience. It is precisely the kind of unforgettable animation that I love stumbling upon and featuring here. Watch below.
Dating sucks these days. But everyone knows that already. Dating is Shit is a lovely animated short film made by filmmaker Adeena Grubb. The story follows a young woman who struggles with dating and all the strange men she encounters. Based in London, Adeena makes hand-crafted animation, with puppets and miniature sets and models. This short, in just under three minutes, has "around 50 characters" seen in "14 miniature sets," and it took her over two years to complete this short. She adds: "I have had a love/hate relationship with this project for a long time, I've almost given up on it a few times over the last few years, thinking it wasn't good enough. I kept at it and recently gave it one final push to get it finished." I highly recommend it - there's so much going on in here. Also: "Watch til the very end for a sneaky happy ending!"
It's time for a brief escape to the mountains to catch some rad ski tricks. Maneuvers is a fun skiing short film, featuring experimental animation combining skiing with stop-motion animation techniques. Made by a Swiss skier / filmmaker named Sämi Ortlieb, Maneuvers is made up of vignettes of various ski jumps, ramps and other tricks - a group of skiers hitting the mountains for some good fun in the snow. Directed by Ortlieb, Vimeo explains: "his many passions collide into a playful ode to the do-it-yourself origins of skiing and its close relationship to nature." I really admire the creativity - taking the usual ski video and upgrading it with this stop-motion style and spunk. From what I can tell, most of it was made in-camera on the slopes.
"I built his body, and we've been friends ever since." This is what friends are for. Brian and Charles is a wacky comedy sci-fi short film from filmmaker Jim Archer, and after first premiering in 2017, our friends at Short of the Week have reposted it on YouTube for everyone to enjoy. We're only catching up with it now all these years later and it's unquestionably worth a watch. The short is already being adapted into a feature film, and the synopsis for that has a better intro: "After a particularly harsh winter Brian goes into a deep depression; completely isolated and with no one to talk to, Brian does what any sane person would do when faced with such a melancholic situation. He builds a robot." It was shot and it takes place in the Snowdonia National Park area (see Google Maps) in the UK, and is written by & stars David Earl & Chris Hayward, with plenty of improvisation. This is so much fun and a clever idea for a robot short. Say "hi" to them below.
"Fragments of the ritual performed by me…" Our friends at The Film Stage have revealed a teaser trailer for an intriguing animated short film from Chile titled Los Huesos, premiering at the 2021 Venice Film Festival in a few weeks. This is the latest work from the Chilean experimental animators Joaquín Cociña & Cristóbal León (they made The Wolf House recently) and it's exec produced by horror director Ari Aster. What's their new 14-min short about? "Shot on a 16mm Bolex, the short is a fictitious account of the world’s first stop-motion animated film. Dated 1901 and excavated in 2021 as Chile drafts a new Constitution, the footage documents a ritual performed by a girl who appears to use human corpses. Emerging in the ritual are Diego Portales and Jaime Guzmán, central figures in the construction of authoritarian and oligarchic Chile." It features music by Tim Fain, a Philip Glass collaborator and exquisite violinist. We're not sure when this short film will debut online, as it will likely play a festivals for a while first. Get a first look below.
"Unfortunately I don't have time to explain. But we need you to try and approach the anomaly." What exactly is this anomaly? And what does it want with us? This thrilling sci-fi short film called Irradiation is worth a watch. Made entirely by a Serbian filmmaker named Sava Zivkovic, this was crafted using the Unreal engine and has a hyper-realistic look and feel. While being escorted to a mysteriously irradiated site, a scientist experiences strange visions and a unique anomaly. Based on motion capture performances for each of the characters along with voices by Oleg Fedorov and Andrey Matveev. The eerie vibe in this is reminiscent of the "Chernobyl" show, and takes us to a strange, unexplainable anomaly in the woods. At just under 10 minutes, this is one mesmerizing film and I dig how mysterious it is and all the rest of the visuals. I'd watch even more stories involving these peculiar rocks, there's something about them that intrigues me.
"They got a rude awakening." Who wants to hear a story about a teacher who beats up an entire motorcycle gang in 1970s Montreal? This entrancing, extra creative short documentary film titled The Chaperone first premiered years ago, but we're just catching up with it thanks to a reminder from Short of the Week. The film features mostly 2D drawings that look like school doodles, plus some segments of puppets, miniatures, a few live-action shots, and more. The film is about a schoolteacher in Montreal in the 1970s who takes on an entire biker gang while chaperoning a middle school dance in a church basement. As retold by the DJ & teacher. "With over 10,000 hand drawings (many of which were colored in crayon by hand), an original blaxploitation score and featuring a cast of over 200 people, The Chaperone is an unconventional approach to documentary shorts." Yes, it's awesome. What a wild story to tell, and a massively creative film.
"How are you so kind?" Here's yet another outstanding stop-motion animated short film we just have to feature. Fish Boy is a short film made by filmmaker Anita Bruvere as her final graduation project at the National Film & Television School in the UK. It's described as a "surrealist tale about the all-encompassing nature of living with guilt." The poetic short features a guilt-ridden "Fish Boy" and a woman named Laura - voiced by Hugh Skinner and Emily Taaffe. Fish Boy lives in darkness, his guilt about the past slowly consuming him. His girlfriend Laura is a light of hope in his dark world. But despite his efforts… his past continues to chase him, putting them both in danger. This short has some really mesmerizing texture and designs. The water & waves especially are so stunning with all the different fabrics in motion. Watch below.
"Hope hinges on two men with no hope." Grab a beer and watch this! Forsaken Mandalorian and the Drunken Jedi Master is an amusing Star Wars fan film made by the "Create Sci-Fi" YouTube channel creator - filmmaker Anthony Ferraro. He explains: "Deep into COVID lockdown, it occurred to me I could shoot a Star Wars fan film outdoors with a Mandalorian as a lead character. The Mando costume by design is full body PPE. I wrote two-person scenes to be filmed safely with a skeleton crew and cast myself as the Drunken Jedi.'" And now we can enjoy it. "The goal was to make a fan film driven by dramatic performances rather than winks & nods to the franchise. But not to worry, we do some winking & nodding." This Mando hunts down a Hutt Courier to recover an asset that leads him to team up with an outcast Drunken Jedi Master to fulfill his sworn duty. It also stars Jonathan Castile & Clint Carney. Good times in the desert.