As we wind down the year, it’s time for one more look at some of the best short films the world has to offer, as HollyShorts is proud to screen a group of projects from some incredibly talented creators. This month’s screening contains films from multiple genres and styles, but they all have at least one thing in common: they’re all very, very good. With that, let’s get a look at the films in this month’s screenings!
Thumb Runner, Episode 1 – A series by star Dylan Bruno and Kasper Vejlø Kristensen, this web series follows the exploits of Johnny McFury, a man whose wife was kidnapped and who is out for revenge. This first episode sets the tone, which is of high action with a bit of a poke at the genre itself, leading to big performances by the cast, prolonged, almost comical fight scenes that still bring the action and a title that at first glance seems odd but actually works well with the premise. In the world of web series, this one really stands out, and should be given a closer look.
Wasted Seed – A touching and difficult story of a couple trying to convince, it follows Emma (Helen Kennedy Turner) and Ethan (Bambadjan Bamba) through the years, living their lives with one another, looking to have it all, with one exception: they have been trying, and failing, to have a child. As we watch them try, it becomes more and more devastating to see them go through more invasive and painful treatments, try more and more challenging methods and see their marriage suffer through the struggle. Written by Turner and DeNah Angel and directed by Nino Mancuso, this is an exceptional but tough film that shows what some couple have to go through to start the family they’ve always wanted.
Pops – Graham High’s interesting take on the estranged father/ son relationship, it stars H. Michael Croner as Danny, a man with a difficult relationship with his father. After getting a call that he’s taken a turn for the worse, Danny goes to see his father, and now a parent himself, sees his father in a new light, seemingly conflating his behaviors with his young son. This creates an unique dynamic, as Danny’s father is played by Chase Fulp (who is themselves a child) in an introductory role. Shifting the dynamic in this way makes this a very different film from the norm in these kinds of stories, giving it a vibe that has not really been seen before. The cast is terrific, especially Fulp, who had a pretty big challenge for this role, but totally delivered.
Le Sablier (The Hourglass) – This was a haunting and fascinating film that is a bit esoteric, but incredibly interesting. Written and directed by Alexandre Bilardo, this Swiss film brings a mysterious hourglass into the life of a woman, whose ability to use it to reshape the choices in life create a chance to do things differently, and bring life to a new, branching path. The character of Karen, played in three stages, an older woman (Andreia Ribeiro), a young woman (Margaux Billard) and as a child (Angelina Maud) is the main focus, and all three actresses help to develop the life of a woman in myriad ways.
This Lonely Life – An entry into the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge, Zach Mecham’s short film is done in a documentary style, chronicling his life during the pandemic. It’s wonderfully funny as Mecham goes into detail in the ways he suffers through life alone, all the while having social interactions. While it’s only a few minutes long, Mecham does a great job to wring the laughs out of every possible frame.
Last Stand To Nowhere – This all-female reimagining of the Fight at the OK Corral tells the story of Doc Holliday and the Earp Sisters as they have a showdown with the Clanton gang. The art is the Western is one that is rarely seen these days, but this film really does right by the genre. It’s a bit slow paced, but full of tension and conflict, as the cast lets things develop methodically, taking the ages old story and giving it a fresh look. Writer and director Michelle Muldoon brings her fresh take to the old western, and it doesn’t miss a beat. Every moment is just as powerful as any westerns in the past, and the cast of Chelan Horsdal, Luvia Petersen, Jenn MacLean-Angus, Johanna Newmarch, Julie Lynn Mortensen, Maja Aro, Catherine Lonsdale and Sadie Silcock are all brilliant in bringing this story to life.
Mila – A gorgeous animated film by Cinzia Angelini, Mila takes a bleak subject and injects some hope into it. Set in 1943 Italy, the film tackles the subject of war, and specifically, the toll war takes on the children affected. The titular character is devastated by the recent bombing in her city of Trento, and as she loses everything, she continues to have hope, making a new bond with a woman whose also had her share of losses. The very child-like animation style feels reflective of the main character, giving an odd juxtaposition of brightness in the face of what could feel like infinite dark. Mila’s hope and imagination on the face of suffering is heartwarming, while also not shying away from the effects war has. The score is also incredible, and presenting the story without dialog really helps the viewer feel the emotional beats.
Jack and Anna – A film based on a true story, it features Brookelyn Hebert and Kate Smith as the titular characters, the latter of which is put on trial after the biggest secret of their relationship is revealed: that Jack is actually Helen, a woman who has been living as a man for the past few years to not only hide their same sex relationship, but in order to help them build the life they want. With men having an easier time getting money and work, Helen begins life as Jack, marrying her true love and living a life together, until the secret is revealed and Helen is forced to confess to what she’s done. It’s a powerful and heartbreaking film by Ksenia Ivanova that is one of the highlights of the screening.
Wheel Crime – Another entry into the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge, Leo Hodson’s film, starring themselves along Leonard Saem is a short but tremendous film that focuses on a self- proclaimed former criminal mastermind as they recount an old story. It’s witty and very entertaining in its under three minute runtime, showing a real knack for the medium as well as just being a really fun watch.
Ghost Me – A funny and wildly unique film by Anisha Savan, Ghost Me stars Meghan Boyle and Harry Seabrook takes a familiar concept and adds a fun twist, giving a whole new meaning to getting “ghosted” in a relationship. There’s so much silliness in this film, taking an innocent date into something much more dangerous. While the title gives the impression of a double meaning, it pays off well, and both of the main cast do an excellent job of selling the concept.
Couples Therapy – A third entry from the Easterseals Disability Fulm Challenge, this time from the hilarious and entertaining Melanie Rivera Waldman, who also stars and directs. With a story from Samantha Mannis, we watch as a therapist attempts to use strange talk therapy to help bring three couples back from the brink. It’s full of eccentricity, fun and quite a few surprising moments, all of which make for a fantastic film. Done with a cast that almost entirely identifies as disabled, the team working on this was simply excellent, managing to make a few fun and hilarious short film. Waldman is joined by Imani Barbarin, Colin Buckingham, Jaleesa Graham, Steve Way, Sarah Beth Budd and Lee Cleaveland, whose band also helped supply the music.
That will wrap things up for this month’s Monthly Screenings! A big thanks to all of the filmmakers for sharing their work with us! This month’s screenings, as well as so much more in the world of short films will be available from December 2nd to December 5th, only on BitPix.