Most Americans spend the majority of the year paying little to no attention to the existence of short films.
They might be reminded of this category of cinema when the Oscars roll around or if their cousin shares a short film on Facebook, but, for the most part, the average moviegoer does not commonly seek after short films. This devastating fact calls for a list of the best shorts from recent years.
One exceptional short film from 2016, Thunder Road, is a triumph of comedy and drama. Written and directed by Jim Cummings, Thunder Road won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival in 2016. The film, which is available on Vimeo, also stars Cummings as a cop delivering a speech at his mother’s funeral.
Thunder Road accomplishes every filmmaker’s dream of making the audience shed tears of laughter and sympathy all at once. Consisting of one single shot, the whole 13-minute film was performed in one take, which only adds to its impressive format.
This year at Sundance, Garrett Bradley, a filmmaker from New Orleans, took home the festival’s Jury Award for her 13-minute short Alone, which follows a young woman who grapples with her desire to marry her incarcerated boyfriend.
The film, which can be found on The New York Times’ OpDoc online channel, is quiet and poignant. The language and honesty of the film lingers with any viewer for days after viewing.
Netflix offers a few great short films like World of Tomorrow, made by Don Hertzfeldt in 2015, which could charm even the coldest heart. The Oscar-nominated 17-minute film follows a young girl named “Emily” as she is introduced to scientific concepts of her own distant future that are far beyond her reality.
The use of animation in this film allows for a magical and refreshingly unique viewing experience even for self-proclaimed haters of animation.
The aforementioned filmmakers also produced less critically acclaimed work that is still guaranteed to entertain, move and provoke audiences everywhere.
Any lover of poignant romantic comedy would enjoy Us Funny, another short made by Cummings that can be found on Vimeo.
Don Hertzfeldt’s short Wisdom Teeth, which delights and tortures audiences with its deceptively charming animation, can be found on YouTube.
Check out shortoftheweek.com for an exciting new short film every week. You also can explore past weeks’ features on the website to discover a form of art and entertainment that rarely permeates larger online platforms.