Some of our earliest childhood memories involve colorful Fisher-Price toys with big buttons, spinny parts, and other tactile things to play with. This short animation from NYC creative house Bullpen envisions the evolution of these toys as we grow into adulthood, better representing life, from the mundane to the downright dangerous.
THE BEST Short Films
(Flashing Lights) A woman takes a walk through a contemporary art gallery, and when she comes across an ordinary fork on display, she imagines the creative potential of the eating utensil and other ordinary objects. Optical Arts’ wild short film is packed with surreal and dynamic CG imagery. Behind the scenes here.
(PG-13: Language) Future Garbage presents an excellent short film about a time traveler who visits the exact location and time at which time travel itself was discovered. But will his trip disrupt the fabric of the universe and create a paradox? Written, directed, produced by and starring David Matthew Olson.
Animator and illustrator Vier Nev describes A Mind Sang as “a short film about perception, rebirth and transformation.” But it’s also a wonderful exploration of optical illusions and the phenomenon known as Pareidolia, or humans’ tendency to see faces and other body features in places where they aren’t.
After landing on a deserted planet, an astronaut finds himself stuck on the surface with no way back into his spaceship. Rok Andic’s animated short reminds us of the slapstick comedy of Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner, while Rossini’s The Thieving Magpie is the perfect score as Ben attempts to reboard his ship.
(PG-13) Andrea Vinciguerra’s darkly humorous animated short has a simple message: “If you choose to dance. Please dance responsibly.” It teaches the importance of this rule through a series of vignettes where people blindly follow the choreography of other people who may or may not actually be dancing.
Too hyper? Too sleepy? Too fat? Too scrawny? Big pharma has got you covered. Chris O’Hara’s animated short film follows the story of one man’s obsession with pills, and reminds us that while some drugs really can be helpful, that becoming too reliant on them can be a slippery slope.
Cats and birds aren’t supposed to get along, but in the world of Aaron’s Animals, resident kitty Prince Michael has been raising a bunch of ducklings. But when one of the fuzzy little guys struggles to be accepted by his brothers, he makes a break for it, and falls in with a bad crowd. Best watched with Closed Captions on.
Phil is a skeleton. He quickly rose to fame on the big screen as a stop-motion superstar. Then, modern effects put him out of business. Michael Shanks’ (aka “timtimfed“) charming short film is a fun blend of live-action, animation, and VFX, and a loving tribute to the great Ray Harryhausen. Behind the scenes here.
Jalil Sadool & Adam Meyer of Steamroller Studios present a concept pilot for an intriguing animated series. Spice Frontier is a lighthearted and action-packed story about a starship crew on a mission to track down and recover the last remaining Earth spices in an effort to preserve our world’s culinary history.
Animator Junyi Xiao’s short film The Last Man on Earth Sat Alone in a Room has quite the warped sense of humor. It tells the story of a lonely man who spends his days sitting in front of his computer, and who makes quick work off an alien who comes seeking friendship at his door. But as they often say “karma’s a bitch.”
Jason Young’s wordless documentary introduces us to John and Nancy Little, a couple who spends their days enjoying retirement in the Nova Scotia countryside, and their nights performing a secret task for the RCMP. The short film stands as both a commentary on gun violence, and an intriguing work of visual art.
A man stops at a remote Australian gas station in search of a fill-up. But when he goes inside to enquire about the pumps, he encounters a truly perplexing scenario. Writer/Director Alex Feggans‘ offbeat short film starts out as unsettling, but takes a truly unexpected path along its way.
Like many inventions, pharmaceuticals are a double-edged sword. Some have saved and improved millions of lives, while others have caused terrible side-effects and dangerous, deadly addictions. Patrick Smith’s rapidfire short film offers a satirical commentary on our obsession with drugs without saying a word.
This animated short film plays out like a side-scroller action game, but the level design isn’t just some background scenery. Instead, the story of its protagonist’s tragic past relationship are recalled as she runs through the stages, fueled by a blast of caffeine. From director Hjalti Hjalmarsson and Blender Animation Studio.
(PG-13: Language) After buying a “smart” microwave oven, a suburban family’s life is turned upside-down when their shiny new appliance decides it doesn’t like the way it’s being treated. Brandon Boudreaux’s offbeat short horror film will have you wondering if a microwave oven could commit murder.
Ernest Desumbila’s and Sauvage.TV’s short film packs in a whole lot of style, fantastic cinematography, and a cryptic but intriguing series of vignettes about a future civilization where people meet their doom as they face the inevitable in their monstrous and chaotic world.
(PG-13: Language) Eli Shapiro’s short film about a guy and his childhood friend is filled with uncomfortable moments, yet is completely relatable for anyone who’s ever had a “friend” who was so obnoxious, but you couldn’t get rid of them. Actors Sean Brannon and Will Cooper’s great chemistry is revealed mostly through improv.
Two strangers, each living with a lazy eye, find themselves locked away together in total darkness for 10 days as part of an experimental treatment. As they descend into the dark, madness takes hold. Tom Hardiman and Chris Cornwell’s short film is packed with auditory and visual surprises – and inspired by an actual experiment.
(PG-13) Set 100 years in the future, The Seed of Juna envisions a post-apocalyptic world where Earth has fallen to religious fanatics. After being killed on Earth, a young rebel awakens on a strange planet only to face a whole new threat. Filmmaker Álvaro García Martínez envisions his CGI science fiction epic as a multipart series.
There’s a legend that says China’s Jade Emperor asked the animals of the zodiac to race across the country to decide their order. Filmmaker Law Chen created a bold, modern interpretation of this story in a Chinese New Year campaign for ICBC, but subsequently released it as a reminder to wear masks to protect our safety.
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