FIND SHORT FILMS
Another absolutely wonderful animated short film to enjoy. The Kite is a stop-motion animated short made using paper and felt by a filmmaker named Martin Smatana, who is based in Slovakia. The film is a Czech production and was made mostly in Prague. It premiered in 2019 and played at lots of festivals back then, and is finally online for everyone to watch & enjoy. Only 12 minutes! It's worth it! Described as a short film for children about the loss of a loved one, for all ages. "The Kite deals with the issue of death, but it does so in a simple metaphorical and symbolic way on the relationship between the little boy and his grandpa. The Kite explains that none of us are here forever and that all living creatures must die, but also to show that death doesn't mean the end of our journey." I always love seeing the creativity in design and the materials in a short like this, especially with the layers of paper in the grandpa's hands. It's all so beautiful. Watch below.
"Because everybody has one." Yep. One surprise Oscar nominee announced yesterday was a short film with a provocative title - My Year of Dicks. This animated short premiered at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival last year, won the Cristal Award at Annecy in the summer, and is now online for everyone to watch. It's one of the five shorts nominated at the 2022 Academy Awards in the Best Animated Short Film category. If you want to give it a look, watch below. Directed by Sara Gunnarsdóttir, the film is written by and based on the memoir of Pamela Ribon, telling stories about her time as a teen in 1991 - the year she tried to lose her virginity by chasing a number of different boys. Pam tries very hard to lose her virginity and always searches for "the one". She's not alone, her best friends are with her. The voice cast includes Brie Tilton, Jackson Kelly, Klarissa Hernandez, and Chris Elsenbroek. The short runs a bit long - it's 25 minutes in total - but it's a delightfully quirky, amusing, and honest look at young love and the wacky choices we make. Enjoy.
"I thought this key only opened the right doors. But it turned this dream into a nightmare." Wow. Another magnificent short film made by students at the French animation school known as GOBELINS in Paris. This short is called Hôtel Nuit Noire, which in English is titled Midnight Hotel. "What if it were possible to meet one another in our sleep? One night, three strangers find themselves in a Hotel of dreams. They must navigate this strange world together before dawn." This short is less than 7 minutes, but is split into three chapters, each about a different character. Along with a sumptuous, moody score, it's a seriously bewitching animated short with a magical vibe that reminds me of Miyazaki's movies. This is one of these mesmerizing shorts where we recommend that everyone turn off the lights, go full screen, turn up the volume, and enjoy.
"Perhaps you're not searching for something… Perhaps you're running away from something…" Ohh sh*t this rules!! Another must watch short film to enjoy, highly recommend watching this. The Rock of Ages is made by Australian filmmaker Eron Sheean, though it's really an Icelandic production. The distant past. A soldier of uncertain provenance (of which army? which era?) stumbles through a vast, desolate landscape, attempting to outrun the evil he's done. While fleeing his enemies, he encounters an odd talking rock which promises to grant his deepest desire. Starring Tómas Lemarquis as the soldier, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson as the rock. The talking rock is an actual practical set piece, animated by a puppeteer - Izabela Claudia Mos. It was shot on Iceland, hence why it all looks so gorgeous. I just love how visceral and authentic this looks, and the rock reminds me of classic 80s movies like The NeverEnding Story & Labyrinth. View in full below.
"The coast is completely full." This is a sad story, a necessary story to tell, but it's captured so beautifully on camera anyway. Haulout is a short film released by the New Yorker magazine, created by two filmmakers Evgenia Arbugaeva and Maxim Arbugaev. The title is a reference to the process known as "haulout", during which various sea mammals emerge from the water and spend time resting on rocks, beaches, and ice. This short film follows one man who lives in a small wooden hut up in the Siberian Arctic. He's living up there studying the walruses and their annual haulout. Unfortunately this mean he witnesses first hand the chaotic effects of climate change on Pacific walruses. These poor creatures end up stuffed, without an extra square inch between any of them, on this beach. It's awful. For those wondering, this is not natural – usually they rest on sea ice or icebergs. But there is none left due to climate change. This film lets long, slow shots of the Arctic experience show us humans down in warmer climates just how bad it is getting. We need to do more.
"There's so much more to unpack in the Brazilian Amazon. I'm very interested in trying to find a way to express extremely, deeply complex things by looking very carefully at these loaded landscapes…" Another fascinating new short documentary film to watch. Richard Mosse: What the Camera Cannot See is the latest in an "Extended Play" series of short films made for Art21. This film introduces us to a renowned photographer named Richard Mosse (his website), who talks us through some of his latest projects over the last few decades. "My power, if I have any," says Mosse, "is to be able to show you the things that I've seen in a more powerful way than perhaps the pictures you've seen in the newspaper of the same thing." Many of his most recent projects involving using special cameras or unusual techniques that show us more than what we expect to see - whether using infrared or ultraviolet or other tricks. It's a clever way of going beyond photography as we know it, allowing us to understand more about what's happening on this planet.
What do all these moments in time on this planet mean for each and every one of us? What do we make of our lives when we look back on them? Where do we find comfort? These are some of the questions address in this fascinating, existential short titled Life is a Particle Time is a Wave made by filmmaker Daniel Zvereff. This 10 min animated short premiered at the SXSW Film Festival last year and is now online. In an attempt to ease his sadness, a widowed watchmaker spends his days in solitude, distracting himself with repetitive activities to pass the time. Broken, like the old watches he repairs, he searches for ways to mend his soul and body, looking for meaning and respite in the ebb of time that remains. The film is made from "~3200 sheets of 12×18 medium weight drawing paper" with charcoal pencil & willow charcoal. I really dig the music in this by Sami Jano. There's no dialogue - it's a hypnotic story about all of the little things in life.
Let! Them! Fight! Or maybe don't let them fight? Do we really need to keep fighting over some shiny rocks? Forever and ever? I guess so. This fantastic animated short film called A Brief Disagreement is made by the very talented animation filmmaker Steve Cutts. It's a 3-minute animated short described as "a visual journey into mankind's favourite pastime throughout the ages." Meaning - humanity's love of fighting each other, beating each other up, conquering each other, all so they can have more land/things/money/property than the other. It's so accurate and so realistic it's painful. But I love the animation in this, all the grunting and punching is hilarious with these two big guys duking it out. So many great battles throughout history covered in barely 120 seconds! Incredible work from Steve. Will we ever stop all the fighting? Probably not…
"Even darkness must pass. A new day will come… And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer," Samwise Gamgee once said. This lovely short film made by an Italian animation filmmaker Guilia Cervato brings this quote to life in a beautiful way. Beyond The Hill is a 5-minute animated short made by Cervato as her final graduation project. The story takes place in Italy during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic and shows the grief of a young girl losing her grandfather. She takes the pie she made for him to a park and meets a furry new friend. It's a shining example of how to tell a story without dialogue, letting the emotions be expressed through animation. I like the character design, both the fox and the look of the young woman. It feels like the start of a wonderful friendship - I want to see it continue with the two growing up together.
Please watch more short films! FirstShowing has proudly supported and promoted short films for more than 10 years. We love shorts! Many of the very talented filmmakers working today got their start in Hollywood by launching with a short (e.g. Wes Ball with Ruin / Dan Trachtenberg with Portal: No Escape). As a year end recap looking back at 2022, I've listed 14 of my favorite short films below to give them some extra attention. Each one of these shots is embedded directly in the post via YouTube and they're worth a watch. All of them! Whichever one catches your eye, just click play and enjoy. Shorts are amazing because you can do anything - animation, sci-fi, musical, comedy, whatever comes to mind. From an awesome mashup like Uncharted vs Tomb Raider vs Indiana Jones to a lovely tribute with Volcano Pilot to an inspiring doc like Joe Buffalo to an amusing made-at-home sci-fi comedy like Black Hole. The creativity is off the charts! And they're a reminder a good story or a good idea can be impactful even within just a few minutes.
"We basically look the same - but in different shapes." This fantastic short documentary film is actually an animated story about a group of kids growing up "on the block" in Brooklyn in the 1970s. The Originals is a 10-minute short produced by and released by The New Yorker magazine - available to watch online (view below). It's made by the director of the doc films Science Fair, Mucho Mucho Amor, and Own the Room. In this short, "Matty Square" Ruggiero and his childhood friends, the Union Street Boys, tell their story of what it was like to grow up in South Brooklyn, where money was tight but friendships were tighter. It's a classic throwback to the "heyday" of Brooklyn, with the neighborhood watching over, even though they go on to say how violent it was then. The animation adds another layer to the storytelling, because they can't recreate these scenes with real people, but this paper characters style has its own charm. It's worth a watch - enjoy.
"You think you're so smart? I'm Terrence, I'm righteous, assholes." Who's in need of some killer cyberpunk animation?! This short film titled PostHuman first premiered way back in 2012, playing at numerous film festivals before eventually landing online. It's under 5 minutes and it's definitely worth a watch. We're only now catching up with it all these years later and more than happy to feature it now. A genius hacker and his dog help an enigmatic young woman to free the remaining test subjects of a black ops ESP test lab. Directed by Cole Drumb, the short features the voices of Tricia Helfer as Kali and Ulric Dihle as Terrence. "Gritty, hyperstylized, and dripping with intense images, PostHuman is NSFW, for children, or adults with no sense of adventure." This reminds me of Akira and Ghost in the Shell, with the same kind of animation style and hacker vibes. It's just too short! It's over before you know it. When do we get more of Terrence and his dog?