"No one's ever lived to tell the tale." Scary! You never know what could be waiting out there for you if you breakdown in the middle of nowhere. Hazard is a supernatural horror short film, now available to watch online after premiering at festivals last year. The short was directed by Emmy award winner Gairo Cuevas, based in the Bay Area, who currently works at Pixar Animation Studios as a cinematographer / editor for all the making-of videos. Hazard stars Joanna Kay as Jane, and Adrian Deane as her friend on the phone. Jane's car breaks down in the outskirts of a small-town, and while she waits for her friend, she dares her to try conjuring a local ghost. Don't try this at home. Featuring music by Sylvain Carton & Mouzhan Yousefi. This is an incredibly frightening little short film, just the right kind of horror to give you a genuine scare. Always cool to see up-and-coming filmmakers showcase their talent with scary horror shorts like this one.
"You look like my type!" Social media can be a dangerous addiction! MJ is a horror thriller short film made by London-based filmmaker Jamie Delaney, creating shorts for years now. Coral Amiga stars as Mary Jane, aka "MJ", a woman obsessed with social media but overwhelmed by her inadequacy. As she becomes increasingly alienated, she develops an addiction to the satisfaction of killing because it's bringing her the attention she craves. "MJ puts a spin on the traditional slasher film while forcing us to consider the lengths that people will go to be seen." We're seeing more and more films like this, including Spree at Sundance this year, about how people will do anything for likes. There's some freaky, visceral moments in this - watch out.
"Do you think we should turn out the lights?" Congrats!! This lovely short film just won the Academy Award for Best Live-Action Short over the weekend. The Neighbors' Window is filmmaker Marshall Curry's fourth short film to be nominated, and finally his first win. Inspired by a true story told by Diane Weipert on Love + Radio's "The Living Room," the film tells the story of a middle aged woman with two children whose life is shaken up when two free-spirited, 20-somethings move in across the street. Starring Maria Dizzia, Greg Keller, and Juliana Canfield. The short originally premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last year, and went on to play at dozens of festivals, winning over 20 awards in the process. Now it's an Oscar winner, too. Dizzia gives a superb performance in this, and that's only part of what makes it stand out. This has the depth and compassion of a film like Marriage Story, packed into only 20 minutes. Definitely worth a watch.
"You have such a clean energy." Gather round for a wacky, fun, absurdist short film that will lift your spirits with a free hug and some spiritual advice. Or not… The Happy is an 8-minute short film made by Indian-American model / actor / filmmaker Par Parekh. The short, which also serves as the pilot for a web series based on the lovelorn and spiritually-lost Par, was inspired by Parekh's initial move to Los Angeles and his subsequent discovery of this strange and magical place. "Angelenos from every walk of life seem to project onto me their hopes and dreams and seek from me spiritual enrichment, which is really pretty comical since I can barely figure out how to get to La Cienega, let alone Nirvana." Also starring Sherra Lasley as Astrid. It's a fairly simple concept, but I like that Par has no dialogue in this short, making the comedic weirdness of it that much more potent. I'd definitely watch more, I just hope we'll get to hear more from Par next time.
"There are no particular limitations to the different breeds." Would you clone your dog? If it meant they'd be around forever? After originally premiering at the Toronto Film Festival in 2018, Aeon has debuted the short film Norman, Norman online to watch. "Co-starring the Canadian filmmaker Sophy Romvari, her beloved 16-year-old Shih Tzu Norman, and the US singer and dog-cloning proponent Barbra Streisand, Norman, Norman follows Romvari as she falls into a YouTube hole on the promises, perils and prohibitive cost of pet cloning." This an effective short that plays without any dialogue or conversation, an experiential film that makes us wonder while YouTube videos play in the background. Click on the image below to watch.
The endless routine of a monotonous life. It gets us all. Afterwork is an animated short film from Ecuador made by filmmakers Luis Usón and Andrés Aguilar. It premiered at numerous film festivals in 2017 and won a handful of awards, now it's finally online for everyone to watch. This depressing riff on the Coyote & Road Runner and old "Looney Tunes" cartoons is about a cartoon rabbit who goes to work every day chasing a carrot, but he can never catch it. Of course. The film mixes animation styles to show us his life outside of "work" - how dull and lonely it really is. A cautionary tale and wake up call to teach us that no matter how glamorous things seem at work, there's more to life than just that job. Beware: this short is a bit depressing.
"Why hack the ships when you can hack the pilots?" Dust has debuted an impressive new sci-fi short film titled Sky Fighter, available to watch in full for free today on their YouTube channel. This dense 15-minute short is about two pilots fight a war in the distant future in their fighter-bomber spacecraft. But is the true enemy their alien opponent…or each other? This is just a few notches above the usual homemade sci-fi, with an awesome set and some fantastic VFX work throughout. There's one incredible shot when they finally get a look out of a window. I love when filmmakers go all out reminding us what space is really like and in order to leave us in complete awe. Sky Fighter stars Tom Maden, Jess Gabor, and Erik Palladino. There's also a killer score by Bobby Villarreal to go along with the visuals. Highly recommend giving this your time.
"I need to get out of here!" An official trailer has arrived online for a new short film made by actress-turned-filmmaker Olivia Wilde, director of the hit movie Booksmart. The short is premiering in Park City, Utah during the Sundance Film Festival, but is not an official selection in the festival. It's showing simultaneously because why not (it's also "Presented by HP", a corporate sponsor using this short as marketing). Wake Up stars Margaret Qualley (Pussycat from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) as a "Jane Doe" who is forced to rediscover her humanity in an increasingly digital world. It's yet another film that's trying to be a cautionary commentary about how everyone is obsessed with their phones and the digital world. Check this out below.
"Overall, life on a baby lamp isn't that exciting… Or maybe – too exciting…!" Pixar has unveiled the trailer for a brand new animated short film that is arriving on Disney+ streaming at the end of this month. Lamp Life is a fun short film that explains where Bo Peep went and the adventures she was involved in before re-appearing in Pixar's Toy Story 4 (released last summer). It sounds like they've got Annie Potts back as the voice of Bo Peep, giving us a look at her life on top of a baby lamp with sheep at her side. It's no surprise this looks wonderful, since Pixar has been making marvelous short films for decades. I'm excited to watch it.
"The Empire doesn't know we're here. And they never will." While we wait for the official Obi-Wan Kenobi series Lucasfilm is developing (despite rumors it was scrapped, it is still in the works) there's an outstanding fan film to watch. Kenobi is a beautifully realized 18-minute short about Ben Kenobi living on Tatooine. Similar to the upcoming series, the film is about Ben protecting Luke when he's young, living in the desert watching over him from afar. Jamie Costa stars as Kenobi, with a cast including Tommy Snider as Owen Lars, Maxine Phoenix as Beru, Audie Rick as Luke, and James Arnold Taylor as Captain Leegus. This short has a lovely score, some great FX, and a fantastic performance by Costa. Highly recommend watching.
"Our oceans sustain all life on Earth — now they need us to protect them." Aardman Animations has made a new short film for Greenpeace titled Turtle Journey, a family roadtrip short about a family of sea turtles heading home and discovering changes on the way back. It's sad what we've done to destroy the oceans. The short is attached to a petition for US audiences to reach out to Evan Bloom, the State Department Director of Ocean and Polar Affairs, to agree to action on the United Nation's plans for an intragovernmental Global Ocean Treaty. Whatever we can do to make difference. The film was created by Greenpeace and Aardman, along with special guests Jim Carter, Olivia Colman, David Harbour, Giovanna Lancellotti, Helen Mirren, and Bella Ramsey. And remember: we can't change the past. But we can demand a better future.
"Is Mourad okay? Did he get there okay?" There is so much power in short filmmaking. Uno is another extraordinary example of a short film that hits you hard and it takes place entirely on one small fishing boat. Directed by Spanish filmmaker Javier Marco, this short film has been winning awards at film festivals all over the world for the past two years and is now available to watch online. Many filmmakers recently have been making films about the refugee crisis, and each one of the films is vital and important. This one is just as meaningful, crafted with empathy and understanding. These are all people with families and dreams and hopes, too. Uno stars Pedro Casablanc and Manuel Toro. A must watch 10-minute short - view it below.