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Short Film Showcase: Week One

In 2021, I am actively encouraging myself to support and watch more short films on a regular basis. One of the ways I will be documenting this is through this series that I am running, in which every week I will collate the short films that I have watched and give a quick review of them, alongside stating where these films can be watched if you want to check them out yourselves.

This week, I have six films to share, from animation to Oscar-winning live-action shorts. Ordering them in order of how I watched them, here are the shorts that I watched this week.

Burrow

Director: Madeline Sharifian

Synopsis: Follows a young rabbit as she tries to build the burrow of her dream, becoming embarrassed each time she accidentally digs into a neighbour’s home.

A little simpler in animation and story than Pixar has done previously, but still a very sweet short film. I love the hand-drawn style and the fun they had with the animals, particularly with the burrows. Overall, another solid little animation from Pixar.

Burrow can be watched on Disney+.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Come Swim

Director: Kristen Stewart
Writer: Kristen Stewart
Cast: Josh Kaye, Sydney Lopez, Kristen Stewart

Synopsis: Come Swim is a diptych of one man’s day; half impressionist and half realistic portraits.

Whilst I think the story doesn’t warrant 17 minutes to tell it, Kirsten Stewart is incredibly visual and has a great eye on what makes a compelling story. The sound and visual designs are stunning and I certainly hope that she continues to direct – I would love to see what she does with a feature-length film and time to develop ideas further.

Come Swim can be watched on YouTube (click here)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Fauve

Director: Jérémy Comte
Writer: Jérémy Comte
Stars: Félix Grenier, Alexandre Perreault, Louse Bombardier

Synopsis: Two boys playing in an abandoned surface mine take turns outdoing each other until the stakes are suddenly raised and it’s no longer a game.

Wow. What a stunning short film. Not only is the story compelling for the short length of time it is told, but it is so beautifully shot. The story has so much impact because of the amount of character development that happens incredibly quickly, and the ending shots just confirmed how much I loved this film.

Fauve can be watched on Vimeo (click here)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Neighbors’ Window

Director: Marshall Curry
Writer: Marshall Curry
Stars: Maria Dizzia, Greg Keller, Juliana Canfield

Synopsis: The story of a middle-aged woman with small children whose life is shaken up when two free-spirited twenty-somethings move in across the street.

It is the final few minutes of this film that really does sell this film, and the narrative is clever for a film of this format. The technical elements are nicely done and the dialogue flows naturally, making for a consistently strong film throughout the 20-minute runtime. Whilst I do not think it was the best short of that Oscar year (that credit goes to Defta Football Club), this is still a well made and compelling short.

The Neighbors’ Window can be watched on YouTube (click here)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Ellington Kid

Director: Dan Sully

Synopsis: Two friends sit in a kebab shop in London, whilst one tells the other a story he’d heard about a boy who’d recently been stabbed by a gang in the street.

This four-minute short has good production values and a strong concept, but it falls into the trap of predictability. The length of time makes the film get to the point quickly, which would work if I hadn’t already anticipated the final result. I liked the editing style, and the final shot is very strong, but otherwise, this is sadly forgettable.

The Ellington Kid can be watched on YouTube (click here)

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Canvas

Director: Frank E. Abney III
Writer: Frank E. Abney III

Synopsis: After a heartbreaking loss, a grandfather struggling to reclaim his passion for painting finds the inspiration to create again.

A sweet little short with stunning animation, but sadly it did make little impact for me. It feels very basic, with the clear focus of the short to show off the animation and to have different animation styles within it, between the canvas and the real-life sequences. I just wish the story was more significant or that it had more to tell. Still a nice watch and for the length, I would still recommend it.

Canvas can be watched on Netflix.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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