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.
THE BEST Short Films
(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.
While on a ski vacation with his family in the Swiss Alps, a father experiences a series of unexpected and terrifying incidents. Writer/Director Jonas Ulrich’s haunting short film conjures similar feelings of isolation and fear that we experienced watching Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.
A bitter and reclusive old man wants nothing to do with anybody, but after yelling at a bunch of no-good kids, he stumbles his way into an unexpected new relationship. Filmmaker Magali Barbé’s award winning short offers an atypically sweet and hopeful view of the connection between man and machine.
Filmmaker Fabrice Mathieu is best known for his creative reimaginings of classic movies. But his latest short film is a standalone work about a mysterious afterworld a man encounters after his death. We love the collaged style of the visuals, and the surrealist environments inspired by the art of Marc Giai-Miniet.
Former Pixar animator Erick Oh’s goofy short film is packed with the silliest array of characters we’ve run into in a while. It follows the story of a naked hot dog on a quest to figure out his who he really is, and the other possibly edible folks he encounters along his journey.
(PG-13: Gore) A coyote miraculously survives an attack by a pack of wolves, but remains haunted by horrible visions of the carnage as he attempts to get back to life. Director Lorenz Wunderle’s award-winning short for YK Animation is a brutal and powerful tale of loss and revenge. This one’s definitely not for the kids.
Motion designer Jonathan Lindgren’s animated short film is a mouth-watering tribute to the art of making sushi. The combination of Lindgren’s sharp visuals, Luke Brown’s sound effects, and staccato voice work by Yoshi Amao, creates the perfect reflection of the precision with which sushi masters ply their craft.
(PG-13: Language) A group of conspiracy theorists convene on a cruise ship to meet one of their most steadfast believers. But as his crackpot theories start to show their cracks, something unexpected happens aboard the ship. Brad Abrahams fantastic short film has great performances and the perfect amount of dramatic tension.
We’ve seen other footage of empty cities, but Dayne Hudson’s short film takes a different approach, focusing not just on the stark visuals, but capturing the eerily quiet audio around Sydney, Australia during the 2020 pandemic. We’d be remiss not to mention sound designer and editor Mark Parry for his work on the piece.
A stoic and inflexible tree monster finds himself alone and depressed after a bad breakup. But when his ex drops his daughter off for a visit, his hardened shell begins to crack. Adam Rose-Levy’s video for Camel Power Club’s track Change It All is just the right blend of quirky and heartwarming.
“I used to do tricks too, but the tricks don’t make them happy anymore.” Elke Van Der Steen, Lucia Ahrensdorf, and Michael Reich collaborated on this strange, but oddly relatable short film that takes us inside the mind of a dog while its masters are stuck at home under quarantine. Warning: Dog poop ahead.
(PG-13: Language) Filmmaker Ben Berman’s meta-documentary was made entirely under self-quarantine. He used the service Cameo to pay actors and other celebrities, along with news footage and search engine queries to paint a picture of the anxiety being fueled by social media and other rumor mills.
While stuck home during the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to try and vary your days and mix things. up. In Jan Riesenbeck and Dennis Stein-Schomburg’s strange short film, a man explores the importance of breaking out of routines, while his floating head transforms into some of the many thoughts he expresses.
Remote visits with doctors have become commonplace these days, but this science fiction short film from The Bloc and The Youth explores what could happen if we ever let AI tech do the doctoring instead of humans, and serves as a tribute of sorts to the real doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals on the front lines.
Sander Joon’s cacophonous animated short film is best experienced with headphones or nice loud speakers. As its vignettes play out, each object on screen makes a familiar, but very different sound than you’d expect it to make. It turns out that mushrooms are especially noisy little dudes.
While shining a new customer’s shoes, a young man discovers the person sitting on his shoe shine bench might be the suspect in a horrible crime. But will his discovery lead to his own peril, or will he eliminate the evidence before he’s found out? Kevin Haefelin’s award-winning short comedy is good for a quick laugh.
Freelance motion designer James Tupper presents a cheeky animated glimpse into a small piece of the world of a freelance motion designer, as he creates and programs digital imagery, waits for it to render, waits for his social media views to tally up, then does it all over again.
(PG-13: Gore, Language) “I call ye forth… the devil… with my name… Greg!” Jason Tostevin’s completely sacrilegious horror-comedy short film introduces us to a group of satanists who basically have no clue of what they’re doing, as they try to call forth the devil’s spawn from a pregnant woman.
Filmmakers Hugo Manhes and Madcow collaborated on the short film Trajectoires, which uses a simple concept to produce a dramatic effect. By dangling bright flares from a couple of drones, they created a unique source of illumination for their natural surroundings. Set to an ethereal soundtrack by Linky Larson.
Filmmaker Mike McKinlay’s documentary short film follows the story of Marty, an 11-year-old kid who’s obsessed with skateboarding and ’70s and ’80s punk rock. The film does a great job capturing the spirit of something we all craved as kids, our own unique identities. Though a real ’80s skate punk wouldn’t wear a helmet.
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