With easily accessible streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, it’s easy to understand how independent short films go overlooked. However, the short film is a unique medium that provides avenues of expression to the super-indie filmmaker whose voice might otherwise be quelled in the big, bad world of explosions and monetization.
Short films are the food trucks of the cinematic universe: difficult to find but more specialized – and sometimes more delicious – than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. These short films that you might have missed are now freely available to stream.
Possibilia (Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert)
Possibilia, a technical breakthrough, tells the story of a young couple contemplating breaking up through via interactive storytelling. Written and directed by the Daniels duo, who recently brought us Swiss Army Man, Possibilia encourages its viewers to navigate through a 6-minute conversation that splits into alternate realities.
The viewers have the option to follow the same script told in 16 versions, each presenting distinct shifts in tone. The film ends in the same place in which it began, which not only underscores its re-watchability but also raises existential questions about infinite possibilities and roads not taken.
Possibilia premiered at the Tribecca Film Festival and launched on the interactive platform Eko on August 3, 2016. Watch it here.
Where You Are (Graham Parkes)
Where You Are is a heart-wrenching tale that follows a mother (Sarah Burns) searching through time for her lost son. In an anxiety-inducing 13 minutes, the audience rolls through an entire lifetime of love lost and love attained.
Where You Are employs some fantastic elements, but at its core, it is grounded in an emotional reality that will ring true to parents and children alike. The long, uninterrupted shots highlight the angst of parenthood and the impossibility of holding onto unconditional love.
Where You Are premiered at South By Southwest 2016 and has been available on Vimeo since August 24, 2016.
Thunder Road (Jim Cummings)
Although billed as a comedy, Thunder Road is better understood as an absurd yet tender film that details the painful, dramatic, awkward ways in which we deal with death. Shot in an impressively long, single-take, Thunder Road slowly pushes in on Officer James Arnaud (Jim Cummings), drawing us deeper and closer into the character’s tragically naked grief. The plot is simple – a police officer’s eulogy at his mother’s funeral – but the emotional storytelling is anything but.
Thunder Road won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Film at Sundance in 2016 and debuted on Vimeo in July 2016.
What are some of your favorite festival short films?