"We started when I was little… I'd roll up socks. Then, he'd put me in the suitcase." We always enjoy stop-motion films. Negative Space is stop-motion animated short that was one of the five nominees for Best Animated Short Film Oscar in 2018. The film depicts a father--son relationship through the art of packing a suitcase, showing techniques to pack it perfectly that the son learned from his father growing up. It's co-directed by animation filmmakers Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter, made in France. Featuring the voice of Albert Birney as Sam. This has lovely music, and best of all some gorgeous production design, color, and lighting design. It's a simple, sweet story to tell, and they make it all the more moving with its distinct style.
"Do you have any clue what your son did to my daughter?" Wow. This short film will stir something up inside of you, and stick with you for days and weeks after. Light My Fire is a short film written & directed by filmmaker Bobb Barito, which first premiered at the Austin Film Festival last year. The indie film is about a father who goes to over to confront his daughter's violent boyfriend on the Fourth of July. But as we know, expectations are different from reality. The short stars Ed Moran, Colin Walker, Rosie Benton, Dante Palminteri, and Lizzy DeClement. This film takes on toxic masculinity head on, and as SOTW so perfectly says, it shows that "rage is easy, but comforting is hard." Indeed. It's such a powerful, provocative, upsetting short but that's what makes it superb. So much is conveyed in a glance, just a look. A must watch.
It all starts with a cube. A person pushing a cube in the desert. Then what? What is this cube? Where are they pushing it? M52 is a creative, innovative short film experiment made by filmmaker Yves Paradis. He spent one full year making this improvised short, animating it one week at a time. Each week he would think of where to go, what to do, and follow that along taking us deep into the mesmerizing realms of space and time. This is kind of amazing, and really goes to some seriously trippy places. I also love the music in this - by composer Alexander Hohaus (here's his SoundCloud). There's really so much going on in this short, it's hard to make sense of all of it. Perhaps some hallucinogens might help? That's up to you. Enjoy this film.
"Do you smell something yucky?" Oh now this is a good one. NYET! A Brexit UK Border Farce is a new short film made by London-based filmmakers Alex Helfrecht & Jörg Tittel. This satire mocking the crazy times in the UK is about two immigrants crossing the border who are stopped for bringing contraband over the border. But they're stopped for all the wrong reasons. The short stars Olivia Williams, Beatie Edney, Garry Mountaine, and introducing Gabriella Moran and Dimitri Gripari. For those outside of the UK who don't get this, it's about how Brexit is limiting contraband like cheese and foreign food because it's from the EU. There's a nice twist in this; it's deliciously clever short film storytelling. "Is any of this reasonable?"
"Who's up for a round of space beers?" "Space beer! Space beer!" Here's another funky, fun new sci-fi short film from filmmaker Michael Lukk Litwak. We previously featured his other funky sci-fi short The Life & Death of Tommy Chaos & Stacey Danger in 2014, and he's back again with another cool short film. Alpha Squadron is about a group of fighter pilot friends who start to fall apart after one of them leaves to go to grad school. Sound familiar? That same ol' story of friends growing up and growing apart. Starring Sunita Mani, Griffin Newman, Jordan Carlos, Will Dagger, and Sebastian Conelli. Most of the spaceships are miniatures which is why this is so clunky, but also why it's so cool. Always enjoy this kind of unique vibe.
"You are the sentence begun, but never ended…" Ohhhh my this is gorgeous. Passion Paris produced this 2D animated short film Paroles d'Amour, which translates to simply "Words of Love" in French. Made by artist / filmmaker Chiara Luber, the 2-minute short takes us on a whimsical journey on the rollercoaster of romance and love. Reminiscing about the past and lost loves. "A series of soft, muted images illustrate the words of our disillusioned heroine, Mina, enwrapping them with a subtle mix of comfort and tears." I'm so glad short films like this are still being made. It reminds me why 2D animation is so wonderful and so evocative, and why we should keep this art form alive. And I adore that old, crackling Italian voice speaking in this. Another excellent animated short film to watch and enjoy whenever you have a few minutes to spare.
What's the worst thing that can happen to an astronaut? Depressurization? Space debris? Slowly drift away forever? Alien encounter? How about a bee in your helmet? This fun short film plays with that idea of a bee (or wasp?) showing up at the wrong time. Commissioned by Kino REX Bern and the University of Bern to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing this past weekend, YK Animation (based in Bern, Switzerland) put together this hand-drawn animated short. The full title is Michaela Tereshkova's Extremely Obscure Discovery and it's about an astronaut who "discovers an unwanted fellow traveler." I love how trippy and weird this gets at the end. It's just an amusing little short to watch whenever you can.
"Ohmygod look at that chicken!! Ohhh, so crispy… I want so much chicken!!" If you need a good laugh, this short film is a must watch! Hot and Tasty is an animated short film made by filmmaker Laura Jayne Hodkin. It's her final graduation project from The Royal College of Art (she finished it this year), and it's hilarious and original and totally crazy. Based on Hodkin's own experiences (of course!), Hot and Tasty is about two drunk girls who accidentally stumble into a chicken shop crime scene. It gets even funnier from here on out as they continue to make a scene without noticing anything going on. The animation style in this is super funky and fresh, just a tad wacky, but it's cool. This short is a nice dose of creative expression, and will make you giggle and smile (hopefully) which is sometimes exactly the hearty medicine we need. Enjoy.
"Never, ever leave the house." Get ready for another impressive sci-fi short film from the Brothers Lynch - filmmaker brothers from the UK. Their latest is tilted Zero, which they filmed last year and it's available now. Zero is set in a post-apocalyptic time after a mysterious EMP pulse. It follows a girl who is left behind by her father - with the instructions to never leave the house she's safe staying at. Zero stars Bella Ramsey (who played Lyanna Mormont on "Game of Thrones") along with Nigel O'Neill. There's some very effective atmosphere and world-building in this, with the first half setting up the story. But it's all about the final shot at the end - it's an exhilarating reveal. And yes, of course, they're developing a feature film set in this world.
"Miauw!" Time for something fun. Catastrophe (which an emphasis on the "Cat" part of the word) is an animated short film that runs just over two minutes. Written and directed by Dutch filmmaker Jamille van Wijngaarden, this is her first animated short, after working in live-action before this. Catastrophe tells the story of "an orange cat whose owner has only one request: Don’t kill the bird. The unfortunate mess that results is a visual playground of color, sound, and humor that starts and ends before you can fully process what you’ve just witnessed." This has been playing at film festivals for years, but has just arrived online for everyone to enjoy - premiered by Vimeo Staff Picks. Featuring music composed by Hans Nieuwenhuijsen. It's a funny, cute, easy-to-watch short film that will leave you with a smile. Just the way a good short should.
"Are we going to do this… or what?" Don't mess with artificial intelligence! Watch Room is a sci-fi short film premiered by the sci-fi channel Dust, directed by Noah Wagner, written by Michael Koehler. The short is about an A.I. program being developed by three friends in a garage. They name the program "Kate", developing it safely within virtual reality, hoping it will help talk a suicidal person to step back from a ledge. When the A.I. fails to work they decide to shut her down, but Kate has other plans… Of course! Watch Room stars Jacob Batalon (best known as Ned from the current Spider-Man movies), Mamoudou Athie, and Alice Kremelberg, with Natalie Paul as Kate, plus Gary Teitelbaum. The filmmaking team "consulted with AI scientists to try and properly represent the nature of conversations… focusing on the relationship between human and machine, and what happens when those lines are blurred." This is cool - worth a watch.
"They're dying for 'likes' - literally!" This is cool. Swiped is a clever comedy short film written and directed by British filmmaker Steve Whiteley. Alarmed by the detrimental effect smartphones are having on those around them, three friends launch a rogue initiative intended to force people to be more present. The short is a parody of true crime documentaries (or "real crime" docs) featuring actual real-world footage spliced in with documentary-style scenes. It's quite funny, and seems a bit awkward (why profile thieves?), but has an important message at its core. Swiped stars Wesley Bozonga as Jordan, Selom Awadzi as Ryan, as well as Jen Wakefield as Talia. These are actors, they're not real robbers, and that is what makes this so good. I think this is a great short that breaks the mold of what we're expecting. "You need to be more present, bro!"