Every year, Filminute challenges filmmakers all over the world to tell a story in 60 seconds. After combing through all the entries, they’ve created a shortlist of 25 films representing 19 different countries this time around. The online festival features a jury led by Richard Linklater that will pick an overall winner, but there’s also a People’s Choice Award, and voting ends this week.
For innovation, for cleverness, for brevity – here are 10 entries that deserve recognition for their achievements (and your vote if you think they’ve earned it).
10. The Evening Cigarette
Perhaps the hippest anti-smoking ad around, this anime-style work features deadpan, catastrophic proof that cigarettes can kill even when you’re trying oh-so-hard to look cool.
Matthieu Van Eeckhout’s movie comes with a wry sense of humor and an excellent auto insurance policy.
This entry from Chong Yuen Ping is direct but effective. A husband comes home to his wife already in the middle of having supper. Plaintive, he promises to her cold shoulder that he’ll change, but there’s something wrong that can’t be fixed.
Acted with just the right notes of remorse and solitude, it’s a gut punch that aims slightly higher.
8. The Last Performance
Even though the reveal is telegraphed, there’s still a bittersweetness to this movie from Iran that features an old, blind man taking to the stage for the last time. It’s the kind of short that could act as the first scene in a longer movie, evoking all sorts of questions about who the characters are.
This short film from Andrey Levkovitch is simple and stunning. It features a flock of red balloons on a snowy field wandering wherever the wind blows them, and while it’s contemplative instead of plot-driven, the final sequence delivers a delightful how-did-he-do-it magic trick of beauty.
A truly eyebrow-raising entry, this short blends alienating imagery with the very mundane to excellent effect – a bit like shoving alternative universes inside the nooks and crannies.
5. The Veil
Running into a blind alley during the early demonstrations at the start of Egypt’s Arab Spring, a young woman finds brief safety and a bleeding man. Without asking questions, she commits a profound act of humanity and spirituality.
Shot with a sense of urgency (and a small camera budget), this 60-second short from Mohamed Salama is about intensity as much as it is about reflection. The only human voices are the disembodied, dream-like chants from the street punctuated by gun shots, and without any dialogue between the leads, it offers a direct signal about the power of actions over words – especially when they are transmitted from one person to another.
4. Fish Supper
A quirky mini-doc about a dirty old man who fishes for eels every day on the Thames River. Through some strong, vibrant editing, it provides a brief (yet complete) look into a hobby one man loves dearly (and his sense of humor sure doesn’t hurt).
3. The Explorer
Linus really wants his little brother to stop bothering him while he works on an elaborate system of mirrors for a highly important mission in this funny 60-second-long short from Norway’s Alexander Vestnesstraumen and Ola Martin Fjeld.
It’s shot smartly and edited with sharp scissors, but it’s the bombastic score that stands out – driving the drama of this silly, aggravating situation all the way to the punch line.
2. The Present
Intensity distilled into a few seconds, this short features a man arguing with his conscience before performing an intimate, harrowing duty. Shot with stern close-ups and an immediate sense of purpose, it’s the story of a gift that no one wants to give or receive.
1. The Death and Life of Desmond Wolfe
Undoubtedly my favorite Filminute entry this year.
The concept of flipping through brief moments in a person’s life to create a short film is tried and true, which is what makes this outstanding work from Brett Williams and Hayden Phipps that much more impressive. For one, it’s got a beautifully-shot stunt at its core. For two, it subverts that common flash-by-flash exploration of a person’s existence by introducing us to a man who is not at all what he seems.
Top-flight in every department, it’s a stirring little shock of a movie.