"When you're young, you don't think about goals. Your dreams are your goals… Adventure is all around you… waiting. All you need is a little bit of courage." Time for a touch of inspiration. When the going gets tough, when it all seems hopeless, when there's nothing but darkness, a tiny bit of positivity can make all the difference. This lovely, heartening short film titled Century is exactly the dose of positivity we need right now. Made by filmmaker Mike Burton, Century is about a cyclist embarking on his first 100 mile ride (aka "century ride") juxtaposed with his son taking his first ride on his bicycle. It's really wonderful - just watch.
"It used to feel like everybody else was doing it, except me." Another fun horror short to feature this month, this one from filmmakers based out of Bristol in England. Cherry is a "horror/romance" short film that is actually a monologue written & developed by actress Jaleelah Galbraith. "We decided that rather than the usual, some might say 'boring' way in which monologues are presented, we wanted to do something visual and engaging, that was driven by the narrative of the work." And this is the result. You have to watch all the way to the end to get the real horror twist here, and it's worth it. I always admire seeing short films that rely on creativity and minimalism to still have a big impact, and this one is a good one. It's worth a quick watch.
"404 - Not Found." Another nifty new horror short to feature in October, this one just released online today. 404 is made by up-and-coming Phoenix-based filmmaker Daniel Mattei, and it's another fun horror film that involves computers. 404 stars Jared Stewart, with John Brennan as the creature. I like the slow burn of the creepiness in this one, taking its time to build the tension once he notices something weird going on. Daniel gives us this warning: "the next time you click on a link and get a 404 message, the next time you get the scary sneaking suspicion that your phone is keeping tabs on you, remember this short horror film, and stay away from your screens, because you're probably right. You're not alone, but it doesn’t matter who's watching you, but what!" Hopefully there isn't going to be a demon hiding behind your next 404 error.
"I don't feel guilty… we brought this on ourselves." A few years ago, we featured a stunning sci-fi short film titled True Skin, which went on to become a huge hit online then was picked up by Warner Bros to be made into a feature film. The creator of that short, filmmaker Stephan Zlotescu, is back with another "proof of concept" pitch for his next project - titled Product Wars. This one also integrates CG creations into real-world footage, taking us into an alternate history where mascots and marketing characters are genetically manufactured to actually exist. It's a bit creepy, and Stephan pushes this concept into the apocalyptic realm. It's a cautionary tale about consumerism and marketing and how bad it can/will get. Definitely worth a look.
"I think you've been out in the sun too long." Continuing to feature horror short films during the month of October, here's another one to watch. El Aura Azul is a horror short made by filmmaker Andy Harbeck, set in capital city of Medellín, Colombia. The title translates to The Blue Aura, and it's about a young woman who returns home from an afternoon at the pool to discover she might have awakened a supernatural force. The short stars Manuela Vásquez Ochoa, Valentina Abad Pérez, and Camila Velez. The scary stuff that does appear isn't that scary, but I like the cinematography and the way he builds up the tension in this.
"Please wake me, For my love lies patiently…" Need something to cleanse your palette inbetween trailers? Watch this fantastic short film music video for LCD Soundsystem's song "oh baby". Even though this video has been out for a few weeks, you can still enjoy it, especially if you haven't seen it yet. The music video is directed by Rian Johnson, yes, Rian – director of The Last Jedi – Johnson who went off and made this in the midst Star Wars work. The music video plays as a short film, about a couple who invent a teleportation device. Starring Sissy Spacek and David Strathairn. This is really wonderful but quite tragic, I must say.
"Try The Rizzle if you dare…" Hulu has launched a fun new competition called the Huluween Film Fest, featuring 8 horror shorts made by up-and-coming filmmakers. One of those shorts is this one - The Rizzle, made by Australian filmmaker Josh Tanner. The film is about a young woman who loves the roaring 20s. One night while watching videos on YouTube, she comes across a video for the dance routine called "The Rizzle" that she's never seen before. Starring Holly Rooth and Steven Bishop. Now that we're in October again, we're featuring new horror short films to get everyone, and keep everyone, in the horror movie mood throughout this month. This short is fun - I like the twist on The Ring concept and the chilling vibe. Enjoy.
"Tap - - If You Hear It… It's Too Late." It's October! That means it's time to start featuring some new horror short films to get everyone, and keep everyone, in the horror movie mood throughout this month. Up first is a two-minute short film titled Tap, from director Dave Bundtzen. The film won Best Horror Short Film at the Top Shorts Film Festival, and it's a surprisingly scary, but quick watch. Tap stars Katherine Celio and Mike Dinsmore. This reminds me of the short Where Is It we featured last year in the fall. I always enjoy shorts like this because it shows how films can be quite effective at scares within just a few minutes of time.
"Is that a pitbull?" "Um, it's a mix. His name's Floyd. Lindsey said he could come." A bit of a different short film to feature today, much more somber and emotional. This one is titled Mutt, a 13-minute short written and directed by filmmaker Erin Sanger. The story is about a father and sister who stage an intervention. It's another film about addiction and the struggles that come with it, but with a nice canine twist. Mutt stars Corey Cost, Taylor Hess, and Noel Wilson. Plus the dog Booker T. playing Floyd. This is an excellent short film all around, from performances to cinematography. Another talented filmmaker to keep an eye on.
"When the time came, I knew how to give the crowd something to stand up for." Now here's a terrific short film for sports fans. Do or Die is a short doc made by Dan Klores, who's also making a 20-episode series titled "Basketball: A Love Story" for ESPN. It's a journey back to the 1977-78 NBA season. The scoring title came down to the final day of the season, between "San Antonio's silky-smooth forward" George Gervin, and "high-flying Denver showman" David Thompson. They realized it was "do or die" that final day, and so the "greatest shootout in NBA history" took place - even though they weren't on the same court. There's no footage of the games, so this animates their games and uses interviews to tell the rest of the story. Enjoy.
"You knew this was going to be a suicide mission, didn't you?" There's always an abundance of new Star Wars fan films this year, but few of them are really this good. TK630 is an excellent, 10-minute Star Wars fan film short about a scout trooper - directed by Brendan H. Banks, an up-and-coming cinematographer who also shot this film. Marooned on a forest planet, an Imperial scout trooper hunts a lone Jedi, when he discovers an unexpected ally. Starring Josh Ruben & Starla Bolle, with Charlie McWade & Abe Danz. This is basic but good, and a nice twist focusing the story on an Imperial "bad guy." It's worth a quick watch.
"For those who support our dreams." Another wonderful short to brighten up your day (or week, perhaps?). One Small Step is the first short made by a brand new animation studio called Taiko Studios. Founded by Shaofu Zhang, who worked at Disney for years on films including Big Hero 6, Zootopia, and Moana, the studio is a powerful new animation house that operates between America and China. Co-directed by Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas, who worked with the animators in China from their offices in Burbank, is about a Chinese-American girl with great big dreams of becoming an astronaut. This definitely borrows a bit from the Pixar and Disney playbooks, but it's still charming and beautifully animated anyway. Watch below.