"It's like they were trying to blend in." Check out this short film from animation filmmaker Joe Bennett, a strange animated trip into the world of Park Rangers. With an appearance by Bigfoot, too! Just wait until you see him. Derecho is a 10 minute short film, featured by Vimeo. It was originally presented by Cake on FX. As a slow building terror builds at a lonely park ranger outpost, two rangers are forced to test the limits of their humanity. Featuring the voices of Kate Berlant, John Early, Ted Travelstead, and Felipe di Poi Tamargo. The animation style is quite unique and it gets even better when the dashes of red show up. This is a must-watch-until-the-very-end short film, it all makes more sense once you get through it. Beware.
"You will do as told from now on." Take a trip back to the vibrant 1960s and white picket fence suburbia, when everything was alright, and no one was complaining? The Shift is a smart little sci-fi short film made by Italian filmmaker Francesco Calabrese that feels a lot like "Black Mirror" meets The Stepford Wives. This short originally premiered back in 2015, but Short of the Week has dug it up and re-posted it and since we're only catching up with it now - it's worth featuring and worth a quick watch (only 9 mins). An ordinary day in the suburbs turns out to be anything but when Joe comes home to find out that his wife Betty hasn't been cooking dinner. And there's a good reason for that. The Shift stars Ryan Welsh as Joe, and Molly C. Quinn as Betty, who looks a lot like Bryce Dallas Howard (at least in this film). Give this short a look below.
Onward and upward! Disney + Pixar have uploaded another of their SparkShorts to YouTube for everyone to view for free called Wind, written and directed by Edwin Chang, who usually works as in simulation at the studio. Pixar's SparkShorts program for experimental & innovative short films launched in 2019 and after posting half of them on YouTube, Disney stopped allowing them to be seen for free and saved the rest of them for Disney+ only. This short also debuted back in 2019 but is now available for YouTube viewing, along with this message: "Pixar Animation Studios and the SparkShorts filmmakers of Wind are in solidarity with the Asian and Asian American communities against Anti-Asian hate in all its forms. We are proud of the onscreen representation in this short and have decided to make it widely available, in celebration of what stories that feature Asian characters can do to promote inclusion everywhere." The story follows a boy and his grandmother as they try to escape from a dark chasm to a better life above. This one is a must watch.
"You won't be able to see it until it's about to hit." It's the end of the world as we know it… and I feel fine! How about some apocalyptic cinema to relax you? This short film Red Rover originally premiered in 2015, but is just now being featured online thanks to a feature from Short of the Week. It's written & directed by Australian filmmaker Brooke Goldfinch, who was inspired by the news of a cult predicting the end of the world, so she started asking her friends "how they would spend their final hours." It follows two teenagers from a remote religious community who head to town looking for others after their Evangelical parents tell them an asteroid will soon destroy the Earth. Starring Natalie Racoosin and Christopher M. Gray as Lauren and Conrad. This film is especially melancholic, but has a beautifully tragic ending that makes it all worth it. Low key filmmaking that is meant to make you think about what matters, rather than how it ends.
"Just send one of your teeth down the drain…" This is definitely one monster I do not ever want to meet… Milk Teeth is an award-winning 13-minute horror short film from Colombian-American filmmaker Felipe Vargas, who is making his way in the industry establishing himself with excellent shorts. This picked up a few awards at a few genre film festivals last year, and is now available to watch online. If you like monsters and stories set in orphanages, don't miss this one. An orphanage spirals into mayhem when a boy discovers a shadowy creature who comes to collect more than just the children's teeth. The short film stars Aaron Bradshaw as Thomas, who tries to user the monster for his own gain but goes a little too far. Impressed by the monster in here? "In the vein of the handcrafted effects of my favorite films, we developed elaborate teeth prosthesis and created the sink demon, entirely practically," Vargas says. So very creepy. View below.
"People are starting to rotate content with their fingers. Their fingers!" What happens when you're life is stuck in a infinite-loop? Eventually you're going to breakdown. Have Heart is a clever animated short film made by Scottish animator Will Anderson. It originally premiered in 2017 and is finally available online to watch. The story involves an animated gif that has a breakdown after realizing he is stuck doing the same thing over and over. The film's simplistic style and dry humor is reminiscent of the animation work of Don Hertzfeldt. The film addresses one of the most common problems in the job world nowadays - burnout. And on obsession with upward performance rather than satisfaction. Oh we all know the feeling… Click to watch.
"Would you like to hear today's specials?" Who's ready for some finger-lickin'-good food tonight?! This super dark comedy animated short is called Deep-Fried Fingers and it's made by a 24-year-old filmmaker from Wales named Daniel Greenway. I don't want to scare away anyone by saying this is a vegan PSA, but it's definitely the kind of film that will make you rethink what you eat. And that's a good thing! As much as they try to hide it, it is the truth. Don't worry, just accept it, be disgusted. This film works best as a thought-piece not necessarily because of the technical aspects. The animation is a bit simplistic, but it's still a biting (heh) short. Featuring the voices of Ruth Pownall, Dee Harris, Daisy Hobbs, & JP Wright. Dinner is served.
"As long as the heart is longing, it will start desperately for love…" He hasn't made a new film since 2013 (The Grandmaster), but Wong Kar Wai is still working his magic. The beloved filmmaker was recruited by Mercedes Benz China for a new advertising campaign that just launched with a six-minute short film. The new campaign seems to be called "Heart's Direction", launched to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year. "On the way to find 'the heart's direction', Mercedes-Benz is willing to be with you all the way." Even though this is some seriously intense car marketing, it's beautiful and has all the hallmarks of Wong Kar Wai's style - vibrant colors, slow motion, rain-drenched windows. We don't have a connection to or support Mercedes Benz, but can't help sharing this short anyway. It features a few vignettes of various Chinese families driving around in fancy cars. Unfortunately there's no subtitles (yet) - but you don't need any to enjoy this anyway.
Sometimes all you need to tell a story is a line. One simple line. This fun animated short film already won a Student Academy Award back in 2016, setting it off on a triumphant journey around the world playing at film festivals big and small for years. Once Upon a Line, written and directed and animated by the Polish filmmaker Alicja Jasina, is finally available to watch online and it's a must see 7-minute short. Just give it a quick watch. A man leads a monotonous, unfulfilling life until a chance meeting with the girl of his dreams turns his world upside-down. As things spiral out of control, the man discovers a new way to live in a world filled with color and vitality. Once Upon a Line is a story about hope and self-discovery. This reminds me of Pixar's Day & Night and other shorts where characters entangle. I love the creativity in this simple 2D style.
"She's curious, that's all… And the forest is a magical place." While developing her next projects, Chinese-American filmmaker Lulu Wang (director of The Farewell) has partnered with Apple to create a new short film shot entirely on the iPhone. Titled Nian, the film was made on the iPhone 12 Pro Max by Apple. Wang could not travel, so she directed it while a crew in China filmed. A Chinese New Year legend reimagined as a contemporary coming-of-age story. Nian tells the story of a brave young girl’s determination to find — and confront — the widely feared Nian beast. When she comes face to face with him, she discovers that Nian is not at all terrifying and the two strike up a beautiful friendship. It's kinda a Chinese take on Where the Wild Things Are, with some nods to My Neighbor Totoro (and Okja). With an original score by Alex Weston. For those curious to see how it was made, Apple has also released a behind-the-scenes video (added below).
Loneliness… we all experience it, we all dread it. And it's especially tough now with the pandemic, everyone separated at home. This beautiful animated short film from Switzerland called The Lonely Orbit is about loneliness and everyone's eternal struggle with it. The filmmakers visualize this powerful feeling following a satellite drifting in orbit quietly, lonely, around Earth. And the story wonders what happens one day when a satellite tech accidentally forgets to keep the satellite in working order and it comes crashing down to Earth. The animation in this short is utterly gorgeous - it most recently screened at last year's Annecy Film Festival in their short film competition (and it originally premiered in Switzerland at the Neuchâtel Fantastic Film Festival in 2019). I adore the color palette (that blue!!) and the various object and character designs. It's by the Swiss animators Team Tumult and is now available to view online thanks to Short of the Week. Enjoy.
"If anybody that looked like me tried anything like that we'd be shot dead." This captivating short doc film profiles the powerful movement to flip the vote in Atlanta, Georgia this January. Flipping Georgia Blue is a short doc made by i-D and filmmaker Issey Penwarden. The story they're focusing on is the youth movement in Atlanta surrounding in the election, doing their best to encourage voting for Democrats in this vitally important run-off election. It's impressive that they started filming this in November, and put it together in only two months of time, not only collecting some quality footage but editing it into something meaningful. We already know who won, this is a little story about how that happened. And it's good to see Stacey Abrams get some time in this - as she's largely responsible for the results. "Watch the video below to hear from local creative, Hawa Camara, and other young people who used their vote to make history."