"Hell is paved with good intentions." We all know this quote… But how many are actually capable of doing the right thing when it's needed? Good Intentions is a short film made by Swedish animation filmmaker Anna Mantzaris as her graduation project from the Royal College of Art in 2018. She also worked on Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs, and makes lot of cloth/fabric stop-motion short films in her own time. The short a small thriller about people that are not always the best at making decisions. After premiering at the London Film Festival, BFI wrote about the film: "Good Intentions shows what happens when guilt takes over our lives, hinders judgment and paralyses actions. While the director chooses to focus on an extreme situation, a hit and run, the feeling of overpowering guilt, irrational behaviour and that uncontrollable suspicion that everyone around knows about our mischievous deeds will be familiar to many of us." Indeed… Watch below.
Boxing and piano go together like… wait, they don't go together at all. Well, now they do! Let's get ready to inspireeee. Last Round is a fantastic animated short film made by a group of five student filmmakers at the Ecole Georges Méliès animation school outside of Paris. The story follows a promising young boxer who is fighting to help fund his little sister's future - she is a piano prodigy. A heartwarming tale of fighting, literally, for your family. We've featured a few films made at the Georges Méliès school before (check out Witness) and this is one of their best. The artwork is gorgeous, not only the backgrounds but the character design as well, along with a lovely score. And it's another film made without any dialogue yet it doesn't need any to convey so many emotions. The final fight cutting between him & her is phenomenal - perfectly edited.
"If you have an idea, if you have something you want to work on, you owe it to yourself to try to make it happen." Netflix has unveiled an official trailer for an animated short titled Canvas, debuting streaming on Netflix this December. Directed by Frank E. Abney III (who worked for Pixar as an animator before this) and produced by Paige Johnstone. "After suffering a loss, a painter finds his inspiration to create again." Canvas tells the story of a Grandfather who is sent into a downward spiral and loses his inspiration to create. Years later, he decides to revisit the easel, and pick up the paint brush… but he can't do it alone. Well this looks just lovely. "What I hope people take away from Canvas is that, no matter what you're going through, you can get through it and you don't always have to do it alone." I'm surprised that neither Disney or Pixar decided to make this themselves, but I'm happy that it will be on Netflix soon for everyone to enjoy.
Well, that was awkward. Everyone knows this uncomfortable feeling. When something strange happens in public and you feel really, really awkward and just want to run away and hide. Awkward is a fun animated short film made by the very talented Ukrainian animator Nata Metlukh - it's only 3 minutes of amusing awkward animation goodness. The short presents a day full of socially awkward moments. It's made entirely by Nata, with music and sound by Daruma Audio. I dig her style and the creativity in the various scenes she features. It's just a simple animated short making fun of how awkward so much of our daily lives are, but there's some serious cathartics in watching this and laughing (while realizing I've done all these things, too).
"Society is afraid of change and no one wants to die; not now, from a tiny virus; not later from the world on fire…" Something wholesome to soothe the nerves. A balm for these lonely pandemic days. How to Be at Home is a new animated short film x poem collaboration. Made for Canada's National Film Board (The NFB): "Lean into loneliness — and know you're not alone in it. Filmmaker Andrea Dorfman reunites with poet Tanya Davis to craft tender and profound animation on the theme of isolation, providing a wise and soaringly lyrical sequel to their viral hit How to Be Alone." This time Tanya's poem wonders about how to find home, how to be at home (alone), how to find connection in the loneliness, how to feel warmth again, and how to dance to find joy. It's a really beautiful poem made transcendent by really beautiful animation - an old book (and its words) are brought to life. I adore this kind of simple, life-affirming poetic filmmaking.
Claret & Blue has released an official trailer for The Neolith, a gritty short film made by filmmaker Daniel Boocock. This is his second short and his most ambitious project to date - a 30-minute epic short set in the old Viking times. A mysterious individual takes action against a pack of bloodthirsty outsiders whose thirst for dominance is thriving. A "bold, innovative and visually stunning short work," The Neolith recalls the fantastic realism and epic scope of Vikings and Game of Thrones while remaining entirely unique in its storytelling and style. Combining aspects of mysticism, Jungian theories of the shadow self and Gnosticism, the film defies interpretation leaving powerfully raw and violent images that linger in the mind. The Neolith stars Jak Corrie and Dan Boie Kratfeldt, with Lasse Voss, Nanna Lyhne, and Jesper Møller. This looks rad - stunning shots galore, and lots of bloody footage. Best of all - the full film is out to watch already.
"You don't even know what's inside there, do you?!" Hammer Down is an excellent action-heavy 13-min short film made by Simon Hatt and it's now online. Inspired by his own upbringing with his truck driver father, Simon made an adventure film about a daughter and her truck driving father. Hammer Down tells the "story of a young girl (Abigail Dylan Harrison) traveling with her truck-driving father (This is Us star Chris Sullivan, who yes, was Taserface in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) while he smuggles a mysterious cargo. This trucker western is The Professional by way of Indiana Jones, with maybe shades of Spielberg's Duel – which is a weird mix for sure," explains SlashFilm. Hatt first started out working as an assistant in Hollywood, then worked his way up to become James Gunn's right-hand man, taking on a producer role on his last three films. He made this short in his time off during the Christmas break from The Suicide Squad last year, and he edited it on the weekends during the summer. It kicks ass - and I didn't want it to be over.
"I pointed my camera at people mostly who needed someone to say something for them… They couldn't speak for themselves." I love a good short film that makes me audibly gasp "wow" when watching – and this one did. What Gordon Parks Saw is a fascinating look at the photography of legendary artist / novelist / poet / musician / filmmaker Gordon Parks. It's only seven minutes long, but it covers his history and his legacy, and then dives into his remarkable eye as a photographer. You might already know his most iconic shots, but so many other photographs (a few seen in this video) are just as stunning, just as layered, just as beautiful. He clearly had an eye for capturing a humanity that few others can even see, and wanted to show everyone else how authentic and lovely African-Americans (of all shapes & sizes) are, too. A must watch doc.
"Back then, we really thought we had more time… [But now the] climate has reached a global crisis point." Time for everyone to wake up and make real change to save our planet. This isn't really a short film, per se, but it is a short doc film and it certainly has some impressive filmmaking / animation. Johan Rockström 2020 is a video made by the Swedish filmmaking / animation collective known as Brikk as part of the TED Countdown global initiative (to fight climate change head on). The video features Swedish Earth Science professor Johan Rockström speaking (in English) about the worsening of our climate and the problems we now face. He originally gave a TED Talk in 2010 (watch that here) about what's going on with our beautiful planet Earth, but now only 10 years later he's even more worried than ever. Yes, everyone keeps saying this, but damnit, we need to keep saying it until things change. Great combination of graphics + dialogue in this.
"I think we need to finish our story." What if Pixar made a horror movie? That's the best way to pitch this short. A Night in Camp Heebie Jeebie is an amusing animated horror short film made by filmmaker / animator Dylan Chase. This passion project took him three years to complete in his own time, working with his collaborator Dave Jacobson. It recently premiered at the Nightstream Film Festival to rave reviews. One stormy night in Camp Heebie Jeebie, five girl scouts realize that the spooky stories they've been telling each other just to pass the time might not be just stories. Featuring the voices of Hadley Granger (Sawtooth), Britney Rose (Luna), Claire Gray (Static), Leon Masuda (Smootch), and also Riley Madison Perez (Sprinkles). It's playful with goofy character design, but also has a scary side to it. This one is a must watch.
"I'm so scared of breakin' up…" Some of the most creative filmmaking is in music videos, because they have the freedom to do whatever they want and express emotions in imaginative ways. Love Me Like You Hate Me is a music video for the Rainsford song "Love Me Like You Hate Me", and it stars Margaret Qualley (Rainsford's real-life sister) and Shia LaBeouf. It's a choreographed dance featuring the actors as lovers. The video is presented in the 4:3 aspect ratio with split above/below shots, and their movements play out opposite of each other - each video ends up where the other one begins. Rainsford (aka Rainey Qualley) wrote on Instagram: "Please watch it. It's filled with love and pain and tenderness and rage and real pieces of my heart." It is very NSFW - both actors perform entirely nude and while there is no sex, it is seductive and intimate. More than anything, it's worth watching as a bit of experimental filmmaking and expression.
"Which one of these houses do you live in?" Don't forget your mask! Or else. This creepy new horror short is from filmmakers Zak White and Todd Spence, the same duo that makes lots of horror shorts all year long for Midnight Video. Face Mask is their latest creation, a social commentary horror about the pandemic and dangerous anti-mask idiots, as well as a very unsettling short with a wicked twist. When one man takes the trash out and is confronted by a neighbor one night, things get a bit tense. Starring Bill Parmentier and Zachary Allen Farmer. The mask guy's look and voice and everything about him is just so creepy. Spence & White, who let Adam Huber & Dan Allen direct this one, are always so good about taking a simple concept and making it super scary with some discomforting filmmaking tricks. And also writing something that comments on the pandemic (and masks) but doesn't overdo it is not that easy. Only 6-minutes - be careful.