Puppetry

The Best Short Films

Editor’s Note: With Sundance 2013 upon us, we’re revisiting some of our favorite shorts from Sundance years past. This wonderful little film played the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, played in our Short Film of the Day series in August 2011 and is back for another run as we kick off a week of Sundance shorts. Why Watch? Because WTF stands for “Genius.” The vibrant, skillful blend of puppetry and animation, the hammer-to-nail satire of children’s programming and the huge wad of creativity make this short a winner all around. As a bonus, the song is catchy as hell. This is what everyone is thinking whenever they see kid’s shows as adults. Fortunately, it’s done as smartly as possible. The easy joke is avoided, and the rest is a frantic, jaw-lowering exercise in insanity. What does it cost? Just 3 minute of your time. Trust us. You have time for more short films.

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Paul (a puppet that resembles a dog….(an armadillo?)…rides the bus home, slugging something strong from a flask and thinking on his troubles. When he gets to his apartment, he discovers there’s been a break in, and the bastards even stole his fish. Who would do such a thing? Paul wants to know, so he sets out into the seedy underbelly of Tel Aviv to find out. Leaving aside that Paul is the only puppet in a world full of humans, his alienation and “otherness” is just one of the depressing things about him. Even his face is built to look like he’s frowning. Plus, he pines after a lost love (which includes a bizarre memory sequence where he puppet spoons a beautiful naked woman). He’s a troubled hero, which makes his journey both disheartening and wondrous. The filmmaking here is excellent – showcasing capable camera work, intricately playful dialogue and an idea that’s inventive at its core. It’s film noir told with construction paper. What will it cost you? Only 26 minutes. Skip work. Watch more short films.

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Why Watch? Puppeteer Gary Friedman briefly talks about the prose and poetry of puppetry. Today is the release of The Muppets, and after watching a handful of work from Jim Henson, it’s time to get things started on a few other people who work with their hands inside the actors. If you love puppets, rejoice! If you don’t, give them another try because you’re in for a hell of a week otherwise. What does it cost? Just 3 minutes of your time. Check out Television Puppetry for yourself:

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The Daybreakers directors urge us to go grab our own cameras, to be Willem Dafoe and to have faith in a Dark Crystal sequel.

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