"You're fighting for your life." ESPN Films has debuted a trailer for a short documentary called Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible, which is premiering on the ESPN channel later this month (June 30th). The 30-minute short doc film most recently screened at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival earlier in the year. Blackfeet Boxing, co-directed by Kristen Lappas and Tom Rinaldi, follows a group of women practicing and training in self-defense at this gym as the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women continues to threaten lives within their community. It also won the Audience Award for Best Short at AFI Docs. "Frank Kipp opened the Blackfeet Boxing Club in 2003. Since then, he's trained more than 500 boxers on the reservation. Its most important fighters are the young women who come in search of more than a heavy bag." This looks like a very important and powerful film about making change with positive encouragement.
"You are so close, and yet so far…" Netflix has unveiled the official trailer for a new anthology feature titled Homemade, a collection of short films made by various filmmakers and celebrities from all over the world. We've already been featuring short films made at home by up-and-coming filmmakers (watch: It's Outside or The Follow-Up or Hangnail or the attic short) but this is an entire collection of shorts from professional filmmakers and top tier talent. All of these shorts, made by actors / directors including David Mackenzie, Gurinder Chadha, Pablo Larrain, Kristen Stewart, are made by the individual with their own equipment that they have at home. Including drones! There are no synopsis available for each short, but the footage in this trailer promises quite a diverse range of stories and ideas – from the mundane to the thrilling. Even some stop-motion animation! Available on Netflix at the end of June this summer. Might be cool to check this out.
"To those who haven't given up - love is resistance." Rock on with this Lebanese band! There is a beautiful animated music video made for the song "Radio Romance" by the pro-LGBT rock band Mashrou' Leila (aka مشروع ليلى in Arabic). It was made by a Paris animation studio called Mathematic, and directed by a very talented animation filmmaker named Vladimir Mavounia-Kouka (aka "Vladimir MK"). This is not just a music video, the animated short film features a story as well. The story is about a loving couple that tries to kiss and embrace but doesn’t succeed. "A tender metaphor of a city and a world, where many love stories remain prohibited because of homophobia, xenophobia and any form of racism." Even if you don't like their music, these guys rock for being pro-LGBT in a country where that is very rare. And this is a really lovely music video that emphasizes how powerful love is, no matter who it's with, and how love should conquer all.
"Like any other child, I too learned to deal with the physiological characteristics conferred upon me." This is no ordinary short film about a person with an extra long nose. Nosis is a deeply philosophical, existential short film made by German animation filmmaker Vincenz Neuhaus based in Berlin. This is the short film he created and finished in only five months to present as his thesis while studying at the Filmuniversität Babelsberg Konrad Wolf. It first premiered back in 2018, and played at the Palm Springs ShortFest last year. Inspired by Erich Fromm's book 'To Have or to Be, the short is about a boy with an exceptionally long nose who one day accidentally falls into a cake - this changes his life forever. Now equipped with a "Super-Nose", he begins to re-explore life. But everything comes at a price. It always does. German filmmakers are good at digging deep into the existential psyche. I love the use of the two colors in this short, gives it a stylistic edge.
"Maybe one day there will be a time you can create a little magic of your own…" Animation Magazine has revealed an official trailer for a wonderful short film titled To: Gerard, made by DreamWorks Animation. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and it's currently showing at the Annecy Film Festival in-competition. The short is about an aging, quiet man who works at a post office who has dreamed of being a magician all his life. One day, a little girl finds her way inside and he realizes it's finally his chance to share his magic with her. "It's really a love letter to [director] Taylor [Meacham's] dad for everything that he has done for him and his sister." I just watched this short last night via Annecy and it's amazing. Easily one of the best animated short films I've ever seen, it made me tear up good. There's no release set yet, but after playing to acclaim at two festivals, I expect it'll make its way online soon enough. For now, enjoy this tease.
"They are part of a pattern that has shaped America's history… But it doesn't have to shape its future." Time for a quick look back. This vital animated short film is made by a non-profit in Seattle to help educate more people about America's true history. A Brief History of Xenophobia in America, directed by JJ Gerber of activism agency Movement Content, is based on the book "America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States". A condensed version of what's in the book, so to say. "The United States is known as a nation of immigrants. But it is also a nation of xenophobia." The short (and the book) go on to explain how and why this is, referencing the founding of the nation on slavery and genocide. "Forcing us to confront this history, America for Americans explains how xenophobia works, why it has endured, and how it threatens America. It is a necessary corrective and spur to action for any concerned citizen." So very true.
"Let's give it a try." The prison system in America is a harrowing and horrible place - and many ex-convicts end up returning within a few years. The Prisoner's Song follows a traumatized prisoner living through two interwoven days of his life – between his time incarcerated and his time as a free man. This narrative short won the Humanitarian Award at the Sedona Film Festival this year, and is indeed a powerful, moving portrait of humanity. Starring Skeeta Jenkins as The Prisoner, and a cast including Jason C. Campbell, Stacey A. Sheffield, and Lisa Belcher. The song referenced in the title, and heard in this film, was made popular by a white man but it was originally passed by song from a prisoner. The original artist is unknown.
Ouch! Ahhhh!! This is probably one of the scariest short films you'll ever see. Because it's so frickin' REAL! Hangnail is a three-minute horror short made by Canadian filmmaker Colin MacDonald and his partner Nicole Barron, who stars in this as well. The short was produced by MacDonald and Barron in a single night during quarantine in the couple's Nova Scotia home. Horror film journalist/composer Jerry Smith then came on board to provide an original synthesizer score. It's a truly frightening horror short about those pesky hangnails. "That painful chunk of tissue that won’t let go. You rip and tear at it, but the flesh holds on." There is no way anyone can watch this short without shrieking in horror. Ahaha. Horror filmmakers always come up with some of the most creative and painful ideas for under-five-minutes short films. Enjoy.
Don't worry, be happy. Time for some wholesome visual storytelling that might be helpful to some of you. How to Float is a gorgeous animated short film that tries to "to tackle the complex subject of anxiety and depression" by following a hero "swept away in a lonely sea of worry" as she goes out in a city that looks a lot like Lisbon, Portugal. It's designed and animated by the animation house Good Form Studio located in Toronto, Canada. "Based on the story and scope of the project, we chose to tackle the animation using a 2D illustration style and animation heavily inspired by the suprematism art movement. In conjunction with our 2D approach, we used 3D techniques throughout the animation to help give the film depth." This is one of those fully experiential shorts you're supposed to just get lost in, and let it affect you in its own subtle ways.
We all know drugs are bad… But what if they're drugs made by greedy pharmaceutical companies, secretly working to keep you addicted and consuming more and more? All so they can pad their coffers? Quick Fix is a clever animated short film made by Irish animation filmmaker Chris O'Hara, and it's a must watch short (only 5 minutes!). "Got a problem? Don't worry, there's a pill for that!" The brutally honest short film takes viewers on a fast-paced voyage through one man's life, showing us how there's always a pill to solve every problem. And as long as you keep going and keep taking them, life will be great. Right? Right…?! Or maybe not… Despite making this short, Chris does understand the purpose of prescription medication. But he also hopes "that with a 'little more investigation and care' they may be able to find a better solution." View below.
"I read you. The answer is negative." How to survive: stay in quarantine, make homemade movies. Time for a no-budget, homemade remake of Alien! Ridley Scott's original 1979 sci-fi classic has been "sweded" by the YouTube channel called "Cardboard Movie Co", which hasn't posted a video in about five years since last remaking Jurassic Park. The whole concept of this sweding experience is to remake and recreate the movie with nothing besides whatever you can find around your house - mostly cardboard and craft supplies and various home appliances. These guys are pros, they know how to pull it off and make it look damn good, too. Along with that high school stage production of Alien that went viral last year, it's the perfect movie to pay homage to with these clever recreations. This condenses the entire movie into 5 minutes - watch below.
"From a magic as old as the glaciers…" Disney Animation has debuted an official trailer for an interesting VR project spinning off of the beloved Frozen franchise. The official title is Myth: A Frozen Tale, and it's an 8-minute animated short film described as "an immersive journey through Arendelle lore that blends traditional hand-drawn animation with the latest in VR technology." It first debuted in front of the Frozen 2 premiere in Hollywood last year. This is another example of Disney showcasing "futuristic" storytelling by using VR interaction, mixed with beautiful stories from Disney Animation lore. Featuring the voice of Evan Rachel Wood as the narrator, as well as Nick A Fisher, John Lavelle, Bonnie Popp, and Vivienne Rutherford. There's not much to this trailer, but it is a very magical glimpse at the colors and visuals of the Myth experience. Such a simple name that reminds me of the classic computer game Myst. Give this a look.