"How the people we love we can know so intimately, yet at the same time, know so little about them." A film about "connection". Vessel is an outstanding "Black Mirror"-esque sci-fi short film made by filmmaker Canadian filmmaker Ethan Godel. Godel's short wonders: "What would happen if everything we said on a date was a being fed to us via an earpiece by a person in a van just around the corner?" What kind of world would that be? That's already an intriguing premise, but this film brings it to life in such an enjoyable and satisfying way. Starring Tim Blair and Kasi Mcauley as the couple, plus Joseph Anctil and Veronica Baron their Operators. The film won the CBC Short Film Face Off contest on TV in Canada last year, but now it's available to watch online. It reminds me of the dystopian romance films being made these days, like The Lobster or The One I Love. We should all try to be a bit more authentic with each other, no matter what.
"We're designed to operate alongside you. We couldn't do what we do without you." HaZ is back! Sci-fi and VFX maestro Hasraf "HaZ" Dulull (the director of The Beyond and 2036 Origin Unknown) has returned with an exciting new project called Battlesuit - the initial proof-of-concept pilot is now available to watch online. This project is a bit unique because it was created entirely with the Unreal Engine using a real-time animation approach. Razer sponsored the project and is promoting its release. Battlesuit was written by Neil Gibson who adapted a story in The Theory by David Court. The Theory is a sci-fi anthology comic book series of short sharp punchy stories revolving around an astroarchaeologist, working to save our future, and a time traveler, working to save our past. The astroarchaeologist discovers the weapons which destroyed an entire civilization. The performances aren't that great, but this is all about the action and those crazy mechs.
"A little girl called me 'ugly', and I still think about it! That was five years ago." Everyone has one of those friends you hate but can't seem to ever get rid of. That Friend You Hate is a short film by Eli Shapiro that is now available to watch online for free. It's a Kevin Smith-inspired bro-mantic comedy about a young guy, on the eve of his birthday, who attempts to "break up" with his best friend from childhood over the course of one disastrous night together. It asks: Is it possible to dump a friend? Starring Sean Brannon and Will Cooper as the two friends. Most of it is improvised, made on a shoe-string budget with Eli's real friends in NYC and filmed in his hometown in Jersey. "I wanted to take a funny but heartfelt look at modern adult friendship," Eli says. This short is better than you might think! With brutally honest humor. Worth a watch.
Love, lust, and social distance. Squeegee is a comedy short made by LA-based filmmaker Morgan Krantz. A high-powered female executive has an erotic rendezvous with a high-rise window-washer on opposite sides of her office window. Inspired by Krantz's chance meeting with an actual Scottish window washer ("a cool guy, a real daredevil") who he then cast in the film as, uh, himself. "Funny and poignant, Squeegee is an apt portrait of intimacy in the time of social distancing." This stars Amy Rutherford and Blair McKenzie. Featuring a superb score by Emmy-winning composer Ali Helnwein. This short is hilarious!! You'll laugh and giggle and blush. The performances themselves are what make it so good, the quirky mannerisms from each of them. And the old timey romantic score tops it off in just the perfect way. Another must watch short.
"If it isn't the town's newest hero…" It's time to meet Speedy the Turtle! This fun, 2D animated short film is made by a Dutch filmmaker named Nigel Lievaart as his graduation project at Utrecht School of the Arts in 2018. He now works at a studio called KLOMP! in the Netherlands. Speedy the Turtle is a "Saturday Morning Cartoon"-inspired short about a speedy hero who runs more like Sonic the Hedgehog than a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race turtle. He must battle a big bad Tiki god named Tori. Starring the voices of Jacob Barrens. Nigel originally came up with the character when he was a kid, but brought him back for his final animation project. He did almost all of the animation himself, then worked with a team on other aspects. "The film stands alone as a short, but with the team's love for the old Saturday morning cartoons they've set up the story as a pilot, dreaming that one day Speedy could unfold into an animated series." Enjoy the short.
"You can stay. For now." Make a short film about a robot, and we'll pretty much always feature it. Because everyone loves robots! Especially when they're nice and friendly and helpful. And not mean, no thank you, nice robots only. This Time Away is an excellent sci-fi / robo short film made by London-based filmmaker Magali Barbe that originally premiered at festivals in 2019. It's now available to watch online and I highly recommend giving this a quick 15 minutes of your time to enjoy. The short is about a robot companion who helps brighten up the life of an old man. Nigel is an elderly man living as a recluse, haunted by his past and the memory of the family he once had… until an unexpected visitor arrives and disrupts his lonely routine. Starring Timothy Spall as Nigel, and Jessica Ellerby as Louise. There's a gorgeous score composed by Azel Phara that adds a dash of melancholy to the film, too. This reminds me a lot of Robot & Frank, which has a similar concept at the start (until they begin pulling off a heist with that robot). View the short below.
"Just look them in the eyes and say, 'Mom, Dad…'" Disney+ has revealed a teaser trailer for a new short film from Pixar titled Out, part of their "experimental storytelling" series called "SparkShorts". We featured a number of these shorts last year before they stopped putting them online so they could instead debut them all on Disney+ as one of their streaming offers. Out is a 9-minute short about a gay man named Greg, who hasn't yet come out to his parents. They unexpectedly show up at his home just before he's about to move, and his cute dog Jim helps encourage him to tell them the truth. With the voice of Kyle McDaniel as Greg. Directed by Steven Hunter, who works in the animation department. The short is already available to watch on Disney+ now, quietly released last week. There's a lovely painterly style that's also quite unique for Pixar.
Don't let grief get the best of you, it can consume good people. This radical animated short definitely isn't for kids. Coyote is an animated short made by the Swiss filmmaker Lorenz Wunderle and the animation studio YK Animation based in Bern. The film's story is about a coyote tormented by fear, anger, and grief after his entire family is killed by wolves. "Besides grief and delusion, evil takes up more and more space." Lorenz explains he was inspired "by so much TV animation, movies or comics from my past", mainly Ghost in the Shell, when he first realized animation could also be violent and not only for kids. Not everyone will enjoy this short, but that doesn't matter, it's a story he wants to tell in this way. And we're happy to feature shorts that are this ambitious and impressive - in style and substance. Just watch out - it's gory and violent.
"They're amazingly adaptable little creatures." Bees are the coolest! Bees play a vital role in our daily lives, and for almost every ecosystem on the planet. Hive Mindfully is a terrific short documentary film about bee keepers who rescue hives. Comvita's co-founder Alan Bougen traveled to America from New Zealand to connect with Hilary Kearney - a millennial beekeeper, influencer and author based in San Diego. Together, they shared their bee wisdom and even removed a hive, all caught on film. Described as "an inspiring and educational short film" about bees and the challenges bee keepers face trying to make sure bees stay healthy and happy in their natural environments. And it really is an informative and fascinating short. I want to go hang out with some bees and roll around in their honeycomb. But seriously, it's an inspiring, uplifting film.
"What is the 'new existence?'" "A fresh start." Time to finally dive into this crazy 3D animated short film The Seed of Juna, the latest creation from acclaimed Spanish VFX filmmaker Álvaro García Martínez (aka Álvaro García). He also made the short Sumer which we featured years ago, and has since landed gigs working for ILM and MPC. He has been working on this pilot project in the meantime, an epic sci-fi fantasy tale of a young human woman who wakes up on another world. "As she comes to accept her disposition in a new and frightening place, Juna discovers she’s not alone. Her previous beliefs and convictions come under scrutiny as she faces off a mysterious life form - the Omkai." Featuring the voices of Laura Garnier, Dean Michael Gregory, and David L. Stricklan. Even though this feels more like a video game cut scene than a film, it's still imaginative and very ambitious. And that certainly makes it worthwhile. Watch in full below.
Where do you go once you die? The eternally unanswerable question. But here's one funky interpretation! Memorium (also known as Mémoires Vives) is a French short film made by filmmaker Fabrice Mathieu. Inspired by the art created by Marc Giai-Miniet, the film follows the journey of a man into the afterlife. What does he experience on the other side…? Watch and find out. At least 90% of the film was made using miniatures and "boxes" created by Marc. Only the first scene in the hospital was a real set. "We built the lift, the small boat and the mine car for the actor, and we shot everything with a green screen," Fabrice explains. Starring Philippe Giai-Miniet, nephew of Marc Giai-Miniet, as "the man". This short looks and feels a bit strange, but that's why it's so cool. It's also always fascinating to see films made with miniatures, and to see how they integrate that footage with actors. If you like weird, metaphysical films then this is a must watch.
"Lying, thinking… Last night how to find my soul a home." Need a dose of positivity? Or a warm, friendly (virtual) hug? Watch this short. Alone Together is a beautiful, lovely short film made by filmmaker Andy Delaney (we also featured his short Christmas Spirit last year) created during the coronavirus lockdown to bring us together wherever we may be. Maya Angelou's "Alone" is a poem about loneliness and togetherness, a "thinking out loud" reflection on vulnerability and community; "Nobody, but nobody, can make it out here alone." Though originally written in 1975, it clearly resonates with the alone/together experiences we've all lived through during the pandemic. The short features a reading of the poem by Dr. Maya Angelou's son, Guy Johnson, spoken over footage filmed by cinematographers / filmmakers from 11 different countries. It's a moving little poetic short film that feels so comforting, a heartfelt reminder that we are all in this together.