Documentary Short

The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Imagine a world where you can’t walk down the street without being hassled by the police simply for “looking suspicious.” Most of us are lucky enough to have that stay in our imaginations, but there’s a group of people who don’t have that luxury. This short from Ross Tuttle, comprised centrally from a secret recording of two NYPD officers stopping a young man for “being a mutt” – is as compelling as it is difficult to watch. This is what documentary filmmaking is supposed to do: educate, challenge and (every so often) channel anger to where it’s deserved. The Hunted and the Hated transcends with its core focus and clear, detailed footwork that tells the larger story. The talking heads are insightful and on-point, but it’s the blurred visages of police officers explaining the nature of stop-and-frisk that’s most damning. [Daily Dish] Like all great documentaries, it demands a response. What will it cost you? Only 9 minutes. Skip work. Watch more short films.

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Mondays at Racine

Let’s not pretend like anyone is any good at prognosticating which documentary short will emerge from the pack to stand on stage while the Get Off the Stage music swells. It’s one of the culprits that destroys everyone’s chances every year at rocking a perfect Oscar ballot prediction. But maybe, just maybe, you can get a head start on your co-workers by checking out the films that have the honor of just being nominated.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Let’s face it. Selling six-figures worth of hard drugs in a week is not as simple as standing on the corner shouting that you have drugs for sale. It’s also romanticized heavily in movies and in television, which is why this documentary – which focuses on a dealer explaining the process step-by-step – is so fascinating. Gritty, the very definition of candid, this is a must-see doc. What will it cost? Only 20 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch?  Someone had to play the hands of Bill Bixby just before turning into The Hulk. That man was Steve Hershon, a remarkably prolific hand insert model. This documentary is joyous in its trivia and complete in how cool and unexpected finding a Hollywood career can be. It’s also bittersweet, showing how fragile a perfect set up can be. Watch as, like all things, Hershon’s hand job comes to an end. What will it cost? Only 8 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films Hat tip to /film for featuring this.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? In the opening seconds of IRL, a young man starts to list his World of Warcraft character’s achievements. It’s impressive at first, until the audio editing transforms the accolades into an overwhelming mess, descending into a confusing spiral that sets up the tone for this light, yet serious look at the very real inability to disconnect from a game online. The young man is writer/director Anthony Rosner who delivers a fantastic short documentary told primarily with imagery from the game and from pictures of his personal life. It’s sweet and sad at the same time. All that money spent, all that time dedicated to something that failed to make him friends or advance him in the outside world. It also makes sense – accurately explaining how the allure of praise and adulation in the online world can keep someone in a basement even when there’s a beautiful country out there to explore. What will it cost? Only 7 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? To make his latest short, Joseph Ernst took a camera onto a London street. What makes it special, is the camera – a hand-cranked wooden beast that’s rocking 18 frames per second and coming up on its 100th birthday. What he captures is a kind of temperal confusion that seems gimmicky, but still speaks loudly to the films of the past. What we all wouldn’t give for a hi-def camera to take back to the 1920s to see what real life looked like back then. All too often, watching a movie from another era means seeing a time through the lens limitations and imagining things in their sepia-toned saturation instead of how they looked through everyday eyes. Ernst has done the reverse here, and it’s fascinating and funny. What will it cost? Only 1 minute. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? A great story is being told all the time, right under your feet. And because you’ve always wanted to go where you were told not to. With this doc, director Andrew Wonder lives up to his name. He joined forces with urban explorer Steve Duncan to dig around the New York subway system where mere mortals aren’t meant to go. “The following was filmed without consent or permits from the New York City Transit Authority,” pretty well sums up the attitude, and there’s certainly a rush of the illegal right at the beginning, but the overall feel is one of grungy beauty that’s there if we dare to view it. Absolutely phenomenal work here. What does it cost? Just 27 minutes of your time. Trust us. You have time for more short films.

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Why Watch? There’s something simple and raw about this footage. In it, Jim Henson takes a group full of puppeteers and Muppets through some numbers (including a musical one). It’s a window into the way the master worked. At least, it’s a view to how he taught, and those methods are all part of the magic that we never got to see because it stayed backstage while the magic took the stage. What does it cost? Just 6 minutes of your time. Check out Muppets Counting for yourself:

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Why Watch? Vinyl collection is a growing trend, and this raw documentary focuses on the personal reasons a handful of collectors give for why they’ve become addicted. It’s a bit raw, but the rough edges actually help it out. This is clearly an independent, student production that doesn’t have time or money for the fancy stuff, and the result is a doc that digs down to the roots of its subject. The short also raises some important questions. Why buy a CD when you can make your own? Does vinyl give a greater sense of ownership than downloading a digital copy? Are we reaching back to the past because we’re broke? And of course, beyond the questions, it features some great music. What does it cost? Just 10 minutes of your time. Check out Finding the Groove for yourself:

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Why Watch? A break from one type of art leads to the love of another. The Made By Hand series is young, but proving itself to be peerless as a documentary series. The second film, after a stunning look at a gin distiller, chronicles how writer Joel Bukiewicz took up the craft of making knives and got really, really good at it. It creates a balance between his old art – creating abstract pieces that might never be seen – for his new one – building practical elements that people can use and admire everyday. Celebrating artisans who make things with their hands is a fascinating, compelling starting point, but the doc itself drops jaws with its sheer beauty and in the execution of its insightful storytelling. What does it cost? Just 10 minutes of your time. Check out The Knife Maker for yourself:

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Why Watch? A brief examination of a growing, brass-filled culture. PBS‘s Off Book series is a wondrous mini-doc collection that examines some fascinating parts about our culture and society. In this installment, they get antique without getting rusty with the growing geek movement or art, music, dance and theater that we know (and love) as Steampunk. It’s a joyous window with a small view into the world, and as an October bonus, there’s even talk of a Steampunk Haunted House. Plus, they close out the doc with 7 Things That Are Better Steampunk’d. Yes, Hello Kitty is involved. What does it cost? Just 5 minutes of your time. Check out the trailer for Off Book: Steampunk for yourself:

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Why Watch? Prepare to be fascinated. Before directing the fantastic Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure, Matthew Bate was looking into a different kind of audio. His 2007 short documentary turns up the volume on the power of electronic music – ranging from the early pioneers to the dance music of today. It’s an experimental, first-rate example of collage filmmaking with a subject that’s compelling and shared in a fresh way. And to hear more audio, check out our podcast interview with Bate on making art without your subjects knowing. What does it cost? Just 26 minutes of your time. Check out What the Future Sounded Like for yourself:

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Why Watch? A man walks into a Ralph’s, grabs a carton of half-and-half, and takes a sip. There are few movies that inspire annual celebrations, and there are fewer movies that turn their inspirations into celebrities. Jeff Dowd was already a certain type of celebrity after being part of The Seattle Seven, but he was introduced to the movie-going world when The Coen Brothers used him as the inspiration for The Dude in The Big Lebowski. This sharp documentary lets him tell his story which includes protesting, working with the Coens, and being His Dudeness at a Lebowski Fest in Miami. What does it cost? Just 18 minute of your time. Check out The Dude for yourself:

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Why Watch? Because it’s art about art. This short documentary is from the same time that made Catfish, but its subject matter is miles away from that film. Here, they step inside the workshop of famed artist Chris Burden to share his car-centric kinetic sculpture called “Metropolis II.” The art is stunning, the voice over illuminating, and one of the most breathtaking moments actually happens when he kills the power, and his city stops. What does it cost? Just 6 minutes of your time. Check out Metropolis II for yourself:

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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