"How many times can we repel wave after wave of these tacky English invaders?" So how about a warm, fresh baguette to bring home this Monday? La Boulangerie is a short film written & directed by Luke Jin. After premiering at festivals in 2017, it's now available to watch online. A small bakery in the quaint French village of Castillonnès plots to banish British tourists forever, but a budding summer romance between a baker and an Englishman reveals an unlikely heroine. The short is actually a rather cute comedy, with some beautiful cinematography that plays right into the story. Starring Alix Bénézech as Claudia, with Steve Whiteley, Milly Keveren, and Renaud Calvet. This might just lift your spirits and give you a big smile.
"I'll come visit you again soon." After her unforgettable turn as Arya on "Game of Thrones", English actress Maisie Williams has been taking on compelling roles in films big and small. One of her side projects is a short film titled Stealing Silver, which premiered last year and is now available to watch online. The short is written & directed by Mark Lobatto, a production assistant who worked as the Wachowskis' assistant on Jupiter Ascending, currently making short films proving his talent as a director. Maisie Williams stars as a woman confronting a painful time in her life when she discovers the truth about a mysterious old man living across from her. Her sister tells her to look after an elderly neighbor, a confused German man named Udo, as played by Ronald Pickup. He provides some comfort and proves people are more fragile than we know.
"In this twilight of our life, we just went through a gap in the endless flow of time." Cat lovers, this short is for you! The Quintet of the Sunset is a lovely, fabric stop-motion animated short film. This short won the Vimeo Staff Pick Award at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival - Short Film Corner just last month, which is why it has been given an online premiere right away. Made by Chinese filmmaker / animator Jie Weng, the film is about a woman with five cats each with their own personality; or rather, the five cats take care of her. "With impeccable craft and style, this Chinese animator creates a fantastical world where cats become the characters we’ve always imagined from assassins to superstars. Both playful and poetic, this animated short shifted our perspective and made us fall even more in love with our furry feline friends." A tender little film.
Whoa. Dive into something a bit entrancing and completely experimental. 4:3 is a new short film made by creative filmmaker Ross Hogg (follow him @MrRossHogg), and it's barely 5 minutes in total so it's a quick watch. This experimental short combines 12 animated projections together to develop a rhythmic dialogue exploring the intrinsic relationship between sound and image using 16mm film, paint, and projectors. We featured Hogg's very impressive animated short Life Cycles last year, and he continues to break the rules of short filmmaking with such creative, mind-bending work. There's no narrative in this, but it is interactive - you can click and drag the video to change the view 360° around the visual setup as it plays out. Have fun.
This award-winning short film is one of the most compelling films about the refugee crisis in Europe so far, gripping and thought-provoking. Nightshade, also titled Nachtschade in Dutch, is a short film made by Dutch filmmaker Shady El-Hamus that follows a young boy and his father. This premiered at festivals in 2017 but is now available online to watch for free. Tarik helps his father Elias transport illegal immigrants into the Netherlands. When an accident occurs on their latest drive, he gains the recognition from his father he wants, but at a high price - the loss of his own innocence. Starring Kubilay Sengul as Tarik, Mustafa Duygulu as Elias. Featuring music by Terence Dunn. This focus on the kid in this short is what makes it impressive, an intensive study on how tiny decisions and little moments can shape a person, especially kids.
"That beats starting to sound funkier." There's an excellent new music doc available online for everyone to watch. Still Ill: 25 Years of the Beastie Boys Ill Communication is a short 14-minute doc produced by Amazon Music, celebrating the release of the Beastie Boys' iconic 1994 album Ill Communication - complete with a fresh Amazon playlist. Featuring a bunch of old footage & photos. "Still Ill weaves together archival footage and interviews with the surviving Beastie Boys Michael "Mike D" Diamond and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz. Also included are interviews with Beastie collaborators Mario Caldato Jr. and Mark Nishita, illustrating the winding road that led to the classic album." Through footage and the words of his friends, the documentary captures Adam Yauch's journey into activism, which would blossom with the Tibetan Freedom Concerts later in the decade, as well as his famous denunciation of misogyny in hip-hop on the single "Sure Shot". This is a great short doc worth a watch even if you're not the biggest Beastie Boys fan.
"Look at this street… See. Think of those who've passed before you." How about an uber creative, intensive short to end the week? Riot is a short film by French filmmaker / artist Frank Ternier, and after playing on the festival circuit for two years it's now available to watch online. The film combines various filmmaking techniques — animation, observational footage, interpretive dance — about an uprising in a neighborhood after a boy is killed by police. SOTW explains: "Ternier's gripping and powerful film pairs bravura animation techniques with raw feeling to capture, with a rare authenticity, the physical and emotional violence of such a tragedy, and the rage felt by everyone in its wake." This can also be simply described as an "experimental mixed media interpretive dance French art short film about social injustice" - and it's really worth a watch.
Playtime with Baymax and Mochi. To promote the launch of their new animated TV series based on Big Hero 6, Disney has been making short films featuring the lovable robot Baymax and the rascal kitty Mochi, owned by Hiro Hamada. You haven't all forgotten about Big Hero 6, have you? One of Disney's big animated movies, originally released in 2014. The animated short set is called Baymax & Mochi, and so far they've released three 90-second short films in total: Flowers and Butterflies, Mochi and his Toy, and Messy Room. They're just too cute to pass up! The three shorts have a lovely watercolor style to them that reminds me of Studio Ghibli's films. I guess they're keeping the Japanese influence strong for this series. Watch all 3 below.
"How many hours of the day do I try to make the body happy." Yet another beautifully painted animated short to enjoy. Agua Viva is the latest hand-painted short film made by animator / filmmaker Alexa Lim Haas. You may recognize her style, as we also posted her short film Glove about an astronaut's glove. Agua Viva premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, and also played at the Rotterdam Film Festival. It's now available online to watch. The film is about a Chinese manicurist in Miami who attempts to describe feelings she doesn't have the words for about her days. The voice is provided by Mengda Zhang. It's worth a watch.
"After you left, I sat by the window every day. Just hoping that one day I'd look out and you'd be there…" Animation is not just a genre, it's a powerful storytelling tool, a technique that any filmmaker can use to bring their story to the screen. Cradle is an exceptional example of the power of storytelling in animation. Written & directed by Devon Manney as his USC thesis project, the short film won the Student Academy Award in 2017. Returning to home after losing both arms overseas, a young veteran battles phantom pains, prosthetics, and memories of his pre-war life while reaching for a sense of normalcy. Featuring the voices of Devon Manney, Alexa Nikol Curran, Trevor Larson, & Rosie Richards. Another must watch short.
"Could she run forever?" When musicians and filmmakers collaborate and end up working in sync, we end up with something beautiful. I Am Easy to Find is a new short film / music video written and directed by the very talented filmmaker Mike Mills (of the films Thumbsucker, Beginners, 20th Century Women). This 24-minute B&W short film stars Alicia Vikander and captures an entire life in 164 moments. It's inspired by an "artsy fartsy French film" (which was not revealed) and became something greater once Mills started shooting. "Built on the fragmented style of memory-filled detours found in Beginners and 20th Century Women, Mills charts the entire life of Vikander's nameless character through these fleeting 164 moments." It's deeply moving to watch an entire life go by from start to finish in 24 minutes, and Vikander makes it all the more convincing.You can also watch this video with Mills' Directors' Commentary here for more context.
It's the middle of the night, it's dark, the light in the hall doesn't work, you need to run to the bathroom. Can you make it? Drip is a two-minute short film directed by filmmaker Brian Lipko, who has been making a number of impressive short films in the last few years (see his Vimeo page). It's about a young boy who is afraid of the dark, but is there actually something out there? We've featured a number of excellent 2-minute horror short films before, including Salt and Tap just last year. It's tough to make the horror elements work well in two minutes, but these filmmakers are proving it's possible to pull that off and give us a good scare.