"Won't we go to funfair?" No matter where you live on this planet, life is not easy when you have no money. This is the great struggle with humanity, as we still haven't been able to solve this problem for all. Funfair is an award-winning short film from the streets of Tehran, Iran made by filmmaker Kaveh Mazaheri. This originally premiered in 2019 and he went on to debut his very first feature, titled Botox, in 2020. The film won a Special Mention for Best International Short at Palm Springs Shortfest 2020. After years of waiting and playing on the festival circuit, it's available to watch online. In Funfair, Majid is a financially struggling man who comes up with a ploy in order to better the life of his wife Sarah - pushing her in front of a car to collect the insurance money. Starring Soroush Saeidi, Sonia Sanjari, and Artin Rabiei. This reminds me of Ramin Bahrani's outstanding indie film Man Push Cart. It's seriously worth 15 minutes to watch this.
"You flew fast. Mom would be proud." You have to watch this awesome short film titled The Cloud Racer - from director Joe Sill and his production studio Impossible Objects. This CG animated sci-fi short is a proof of concept and it's an exhilarating experience introducing us to the "next great race." Made entirely on the Unreal engine, it's an example of how far you can push visuals with any idea. A struggling outerling pilots his race-craft over the apocalyptic streets of future Los Angeles in a fierce aerial competition against the much better funded corporate teams, his trusted father (who also serves as his mechanic) by his side. Set in a desolate, demolished LA in 2055, the city is now known as "Ghost City". It's pretty much The Phantom Menace podracing scene but it also reminds of the Wachowskis' Speed Racer as well (which I still think is underrated). With performances by Heston Horwin, Chase Cargill, Stephanie Kerbis, Trevor Stevens. This is the kind of epic CG short like Ruin that should change everything for these filmmakers. Start your engines.
Some of the most original and wild and totally crazy animation being made these days happens to be created for music videos. The latest must watch music video is this one for the song "I Gotta Cry" by Rick Flair & Klaus Layer. The animation in here is created by an Italian animator named Francesca Colombara, who is known for her incredibly funky, weird, trippy designs and super weird characters float and flying all over the screen. This one is definitely that kind of psychedelic journey vibe, an ideal fit for this retro dance track. If you dig her style, check out more of her work or hire her to make some animation for your project. There's no specific explanation or story behind what's happening in this video, but it involves a lot of mushrooms and strange characters interacting. Just turn down the lights, take a big puff, turn up the volume, and enjoy.
"You have to think about it for days or even weeks beforehand, what you want to print on the paper. The act itself is rather simple." Hometown has debuted a short doc film titled How to Make a Magazine, a companion piece to the latest issue of their magazine called "Hometown Journal." Hometown is a director and DP duo based in Berlin, made up of Jan Eric Hühn & Alex Schuchmann. They've decided to launch a new magazine and this short takes an abstract, artist look at that process. It mixes footage of the German printing press working on getting the magazine ready, as well as footage of photos + pages of the mag, with voiceover from various contributors: photographers, writers, and more. I wish there was more of a focus on the printing process, but this works so well as an entrancing 6-min film it's not worth criticizing. Most of the printing process for a magazine (or book) is automated and uses complex machines, but it's still nice to see them produce something physical, something you can pick up and hold and read through and bring around.
It's always hard to take rejection. No matter how successful you are, no matter how many times you've been rejected, it still stings. Conversations With a Whale is a stop-motion animated short film made by Anna Samo (now known as Anne Bergmann) - it's a self-referential meta story about an artist's demons dealing with rejection, including printed out versions of her own rejection letters from film festivals. In this love letter to artists, their art, and its audience, a filmmaker's constant rejections surprisingly bear fruit. "Anna Samo, or her animated alter ego in Conversations With A Whale, has a charming appearance that evokes memories of 'The Little Prince': the crown, the cape, essential questions surrounding one's own existence and a wee plant that is taken care of with lots of love are there." This is beautifully animated and uplifting, putting a positive spin on bad news. I was expecting more voiceover, but it's quite powerful as a silent film.
"We're going to resume play." The most annoying thing about youth sports is not the game itself, or the altered rules, it's all the hysterical parents who get upset at pretty much anything. Right, right? Or is it also the a-hole referees who don't really care about the game? Probably both. The Ref is an awkward comedic short film made by filmmaker Peter Edlund, co-written by Peter and his brother Ian Edlund. The short is about a young referee who struggles to maintain control over a 2nd grade basketball game. The kids aren't the issue. Everything breaks down when he gets into an argument with one of the parents, though every last one of the adults here is annoying. But that's the point. The Ref stars co-writer Ian Edlund as the ref, along with Frank Boyd, Emily Chisholm, Kevin Kelly, Keaton Whittaker, Christopher Goodson, Ian Lerch. This is so good it plays like a doc not a fictional film, as if they just strolled into a game then turned the camera on.
"Could you just stand still and stop drifting?" Everyone knows that actors have entirely different lives when they're not on camera, but what if these lives collided? Second Team is a comedy short film by filmmaker Ria Pavia. After years of working on sets and spending plenty of time in the "video village", Pavia has made this short based on, most likely, a true story that no one will ever reveal. A scorned stand-in actor for a hit TV called "2 Millennial Girls" show distorts the script to publicly berate her co-star. The two women just had a break-up, and they decide to take it out on each other while at work. The short film stars Francia Raisa and Danielle Savre as the two stand-ins, with Gigi Zumbado and Greer Grammer as the "real" actors. This is a fun look at what it's like on set making a sitcom TV show like this, but hopefully no actual fights like this are happening because uh, that's not cool. After playing at festivals the short is now online to watch.
"I have a story I want to tell you…" Everyone knows faith healers are religious snake oil salesman, right? Right? This award-winning short film is made by a British-Nigerian filmmaker named Michael Omonua and is finally available to watch online after playing at fests. Rehearsal is an entrancing 14-mintue short film that first premiered at the Berlin Film Festival last year. The film shows a group of people rehearsing "miracle healing" experiences near a theatre in London. The footage is intercut with video of their audition tapes to play these roles - either as the pastor or a faithful hoping to be healed. This also features gorgeous cinematography that brings out the textures of the room they're in and gives an additional later to the ideas this film is bringing up. It's such a shrewd, tidy film that will leave an impression upon anyone who watches.
This stunning animated music video is absolutely worth a watch - we're featuring it as a short film this week. The electronica duo Odesza has debuted a new album called "The Last Goodbye," and along with it they've launched this music video for the track "Light Of Day." The animation tells the story of a frail old man who notices a golden glow on a mountain in the distance. "I was fascinated by the idea of this very old character who gets rejuvenated in a sense during his struggle to experience something magical," says director Balazs Simon. It's animated to look like a painting, similar to the feature films Loving Vincent and Charlotte. The resulting film is a mix of "hand-painted backgrounds, in-camera effects, motion capture" and it's absolutely beautiful. Great work from the entire team on this one. We've featured plenty of spectacular animated music videos as short films before, including Yu Su's "Melaleuca" or L'Impératrice's "Hématome" recently. Enjoy.
"Apparently it helps them grow if you talk to them." Time to meet the Cactus Man. I first watched this short film back in 2020 and totally loved it, and I've been patiently waiting for it to debut online ever since. After playing at numerous film festivals around the world for the past few years, it's finally ready to watch on Vimeo. Cactus Boy is written & directed by British filmmaker Chris Brake and it features an incredible "Cactus Man" man-in-suit character. They built this themselves and it looks great. Cactus Boy tells the story of Winston Prickle, a grown man who decides to break up with his childhood imaginary friend, Cactus Man, after falling for his new co-worker Clem. Colin Ford stars with William John Banks as the Cactus Man and Georgie Flores as Clem. I dig the cactus costume, but this is also just a really sweet story that reminds me of Her in a few ways. Highly recommend watching this short whenever you have a few minutes to enjoy.
"I need to end it, on my terms, for my family… For honor." With the 2022 San Diego Comic-Con kicking off this week, it's the perfect time to feature this fan film. TMNT: The Last Ronin is a 4 minute fan film made by a Swedish YouTube creator named Magnus Edlund. It's a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tribute project, inspired by and based on the comic book series of the same name. Magnus and he friends decided to bring to life one of the scenes in the comic. It's about a lone surviving Turtle who sets out on a mission of justice for his family and friends. It's a very dark, and not kid friendly short film that has a vibe closer to War for the Planet of the Apes or The Batman, more than any other official TMNT series or movie. Featuring the voice of Andrej Kotevski Lindwall as "The Last Ronin." As many commenters have stated, this needs to be turned into a full feature because I would watch the hell out of it. I really dig the darker Turtles vibe here.
Zombies have feelings, too. Thay may be flesh hungry monsters that want to eat your brains on the outside, but on the inside they have feelings for their long lost loved ones, too… The same long lost loved ones they probably tore apart and ate when they became a zombie, but hey they still miss them! Emotions still matter. I think? A Father's Day is a zombie short film that originally premiered in 2016 at film festivals, and first debuted online in 2018. Even years later it's still fantastic and worth a watch. Unexpectedly reunited with his daughter amongst the ruins of the world as they knew it, a father is determined to make this day special, even if they are already dead. Starring Garth Maunders and Hazel Gibson. The father's performance in this is outstanding, way better than it should be, but that's part of what makes it so memorable. The zombie make-up is also top notch, and the final shot is damn good. This director should be making features by now.