Finite Films

The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Like Michael Haneke at Cannes, the team at Finite Films always has a place here at Short Film of the Day to showcase their latest work. For the uninitiated, the highly creative and highly collaborative bunch takes “constraints” from their fans and builds a movie around them. This time, they have to deal with making three of the characters siblings that live together and to place each scene exactly a year from the previous scene amongst a handful of other rules which shape a loving, complicated relationship dramedy. Last Year comes with equal parts frustration and joy. Some of the acting is a bit stagey, but the overall effect is solid, creating a tone that draws in all the anticipation of a New Year countdown and leaving off-balance emotions feeling warm and fuzzy by the end (even if it’s just the couple’s beginning). What will it cost you? Only 6 minutes. Skip work. Watch more short films.


“We should get together and just make a movie” is the “we should open a bar” of Hollywood. Tons of people say it all the time because talk is affordable, but a very small percentage actually get out there and make it happen. That’s why it’s always refreshing to see people with talent match it with active ambition. Finite Films is built on fan-submitted concepts, crowd-funding and creativity. The fans and funding make sure they have user-submitted constraints on their filmmaking (think of it as Dogme 2012) and enough cash to get sandwiches for everyone; the creativity is all theirs. Of course, none of what they’re doing would be noteworthy if they weren’t churning out great short films every single month. After a submission and public voting process, the team takes their list of constraints (“One character has to be hiding a horrible secret”) and makes something magical happen. We’ll talk with two of their founders about the freedom that limitations can create. Plus, managing editor Erik Davis drops by for a game of Movies News Roulette. Download Episode #136


Why Watch? The fine folks at Finite Films effectively have an open invitation to this column. So far, they’ve managed to craft a frightening horror film, a quirky romantic comedy, and with Imperfect, they’ve proven that they’ll excel no matter the genre (and no matter the constraints put on them by their fans). The constraints this time included: • A supernatural being/non-human must masquerade as a human. — Dan B. • One of the characters doesn’t speak English. — Ana • A character must say the line “Please stop shooting me.” — Dan B. • A character must say the line “I don’t know where, I don’t know when, I don’t know how, and I don’t know why. Well, I know where…” — Daniel C. • Plot must revolve around the murder of a character we never know. — MD • The main character never speaks a line of dialogue. — Freddie A. • Must be in the style of a 40′s noir. — Olivia They’ve woven those limitations into a text-book noir with a heartbeat of its own – something that captures the ugly of the world in gorgeous, impressionistic detail. Plus, it quietly slips in a few sci-fi elements that would make Ralph Meeker proud. Maybe it wouldn’t make a list of the top films noir, but hot damn if it isn’t excellent work. What will it cost? Only 23 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve got Time For More Short Films


Why Watch? I fell in love with Finite Films, the crew of creators who give themselves (and ask for) constraints on their short film projects, with their horror short Forest Falls. With this one, they tackle the romantic comedy genre with some interesting rules, and the result is something with more heart and humor than the Heigl-rific crap that passes for rom-coms these days. In Occupational Hazards, a teacher with debilitating social anxiety braves a party to catch the eye of a guy she likes. It’s twitchy, sweet, dangerous, and it’s definitely smile-inducing. What does it cost? Just 20 minutes of your time. Trust us. You have time for more short films.


Why Watch? It’s better horror than most of the stuff hitting theaters and home entertainment. I’ve fallen in love with Finite Films because they use audience participation in a fascinating way – they take constraints on their filmmaking directly from their fans. In Forest Falls, the constraints include using a location from a famous horror movie, featuring a character whose attempt to quit smoking is important to the plot, and a dozen others. They’ve taken those dogmatic rules and built an unsettling horror film that’s definitely by the book – it’s just unclear which book it is. The tried and true cabin in the woods story gets a new flavor, and a production company proves they need a distributor on their side. From the writing to execution, it’s excellent work all around. What does it cost? Just 26 minutes of your time. Check out Forest Falls for yourself:

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published: 12.19.2014
published: 12.18.2014
published: 12.17.2014
published: 12.15.2014

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