If you aren’t plugged in to what’s going on with short films, you’re missing out on an insane amount of outstanding entertainment. People talk about how difficult it was to whittle down Best Of lists for features this year (Her or Gravity or 12 Years a Slave?!) but after watching almost 3,000 shorts in 12 months, it feels like the depth of talent is growing in a big way on the small side. As a testament to the medium’s freedoms, more and more feature filmmakers are returning to it. No longer simply a calling card or an early stepping stone, shorts have an undeniable power coupled with an infinite platform that some are just now discovering. They’re also strange to categorize. For some, the internet is a red carpet while for others, it’s a final stop after touring festivals for years. As such, some of the best short films of 2013 were made a couple years ago. The focus is certainly on new projects, but some don’t find an audience quickly even as their magic deserves mention. Plus, there are 2013 movies like Noah that would have made this list, but are now unavailable (in most cases — including Noah‘s — because studios are keeping the work offline in order to have well-earned contractual conversations). But instead of getting bogged down in specifics, please let your mind wander for a short while.



Why Watch? Michael (Emun Elliott) has burnt hours studying, pushed his body to the limits and sacrificed greatly for a chance to be part of a space mission to Mars. But he’s not going on one. Blending the towering universal with the blisteringly personal, this short film from Mark Buchanan puts a father/son relationship (and their respective failures) into stark contrast in order to fight through loss to find hope on the other side. Punctuating heartbreak upon heartbreak, it’s a sympathy magnet that’s shot gorgeously (and intensely) and anchored by a stirring performance from the young Peter Strathern who embodies the fragile fear of being tiny at a time when the big person in charge of you loses the map.

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published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.25.2015
published: 01.25.2015

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