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SFW Reviews: Illegal Move

Illegal Move A cute animated film about what would happen if two chess pieces fell in love on the board. The film is funny and makes you think about chess pieces in a whole new light. The two pieces encourage each other to be more daring, and learn to break the rules for love. I…

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A Little Elbow Room By Mavreen David

This NSI short film is about a Canadian couple who buys a small breakfast café in Vancouver after losing their jobs. A Little Elbow Room becomes a saving grace for co-owners Patrick and Bryan. Unafraid of being a crass restauranteur, the restaurant’s business strategy has evolved to match Patrick’s personality. The pair make a point…

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Rangan 99 By Tiyam Yabandeh Jahroumi *Viewer Warning*

A Must Watch! This film is one of the best independent short films I have seen in a while. There is such raw attention to detail from the first scene, and I felt absorbed in the moment with the characters. There is a mysterious atmosphere, and you are not quite sure what is going on…

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Crafted By Morgan Spurlock

This is a refreshing short about getting back to the basics of why we do what we do. The film investigates five master artisans, each with a story that embodies a love for carving a unique path of purpose. Each started with what was available to them, and they are grateful to see their passions…

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YVFF 2021: King of Dinoland and Kiss The Ground [Final]

King of Dinoland This film allows me to reminisce about my childhood growing up in the desert. Abe’s personality is very adventurous and childlike, and I think his environment really brings that out of him. When you grow up in a desert (whether physically or metaphorically), you learn to make something out of nothing. Nature…

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YVFF 2021: Caroline

Caroline This film had a bit of a slow start, but I liked the dynamic on-screen relationship between the two characters (Rachael Rath and Terrance Richardson). The film is a bit different, but not so different that the viewer cannot enjoy the creativity. I thought the art exhibition was fascinating; this idea of tackling the…

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YVFF 2021: Animated Films to Watch

Films to Watch: The Broken Candle This cute animation wants to remind us that we all have a purpose and a gift to share with the world despite our challenges. God of Fortune by Nerissa Choo Wee Jin A young boy goes to dire extremes in an effort to increase his fortune. Gaslight My take-away…

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Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell By Andrew Librizzi

While on a road trip, two old friends begin to question the meaning of life. “You can age with grace and dignity, or you can go out kicking and screaming.” I especially liked the dialogue between the main characters. Overall, this was a beautiful short about the importance of living a life well-lived.

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Monthly Wrap Up [#3]

Hey All, It’s been a minute since I did a chat session with everyone, but I hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy. September was a pretty busy month, and as a result, I did not get to a monthly wrap-up. So, here it is! I will include September’s monthly wrap-up in October’s post…

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Pepper By Patrick Aubert

I thought Pepper was a good representation of why communication is vital in a relationship. I’m sure this film was meant to be a light comedy, but I think the scenario in this short is very common. I think the acting was well done, and the film was clever about its messaging. The main character…

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National Screen Institute-Canada: #Cold *Trigger Warning*

A guy wanting to end his life meets a former classmate who gives him more reasons to live. They are both lonely people, but they handle their loneliness in different ways. She shows him that it is okay not having all the answers to life’s questions. That life is not meant to be taken so…

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Goodbye Charm City By Christian Grier

This film highlights a tumultuous battle between a mother’s love for her son and a mother’s gift to see the fault in another woman’s child. Trying her best to discover the answers rooted deep within her troubled heart, the mother must confront the murderer’s sister to find solace in her difficult choice. The question now…

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Spectrum By Jill Jones

This film tackles the controversy behind autism and explains what autism looks like for the individuals who have it.  The film features interviews from several people clinically diagnosed with autism; together, this group begins breaking down what their isolated experiences with autism look like on a sensory perception spectrum. The filmmakers did a fantastic job explaining, in detail, that autism should be looked at as a blessing rather than a curse. They creatively painted a picture of autism that counteracts its typical portrayal in the media. I appreciated the heart of this film. It was produced on a modest budget, but it makes up for it by executing its ideas in a direct…

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CG Meetup: Don’t You Know You’re Queen

This is a darkly crafted experimental short that plays around with different graphic design elements to create a style I have never seen before. To me, this film paints a rare picture of self-discovery and liberation. One, that represents all the unique wonders we get when we have the courage to be who we are…

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National Screen Institute-Canada: ‘Til Death

What would you do to get back the person you loved? What sacrifices would you make? Now, imagine existing in an endless loop, chasing the very thing you thought you already had. That is the very premise of this film: chasing what was not intended to be found and never realizing it. In the first half…

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CG Meetup: The Doll That Chose to Drive

The Doll That Chose to Drive is an intriguing short animation that serves to arouse attention to the gender division between toys typically meant for girls and boys.  Why can’t a doll operate a fast car just like the boys? This film follows a female doll possessing that very thought-that she can play with whatever she wants. The doll jumps in one of the fastest cars she can find…

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CG Meetup: Fear of Flying

Fear of Flying stars Dugo, a petite bird who has a uniquely ironic fear of flying. It all starts with a nightmare. Dugo wakes up in his bed, and what follows is a series of events that causes him to begin preparing for winter. To a typical bird, preparing for winter would mean flying south or…

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MYM: Gracie

How can a second spent reminiscing about long-gone memories entrap a person in their mature age?  The film Gracie captures the unique essence of the passage of time.  Following the character, Gracie, an elderly Jamaican immigrant, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, as she comes to terms with her situation. Grace lives in a nursing home and is frequently visited by her daughter and grandson, Aaron. As the story progresses, we learn Gracie is…

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CG Meetup: Playing House

The short, animated film, Playing House, captures the story of an innocent game of house. A little girl tucks her beloved doll into bed, dusts her makeshift cardboard house, and assembles a homemade meal from playdough. And a small boy watches her play her pretentious game, grabs some inedible food, and enters her cardboard house.…

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Film School Shorts: Rosie, Oh, Hui Ying, and Shadow Beat [Final]

Rosie, Oh *content warning* This film’s style (one-shot filming) and the lead actress have single-handedly made me love this film. It was very cool to watch how all the different parts came together to tell this unique story. Hui Ying I really enjoyed this short; it was well-paced and visually impactful. It gave me Disney…

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Film School Shorts: Salt and Sweet, Sweet Country

Salt *trigger warming* This was a well-crafted film. I could instantly feel the profound emotion with each scene; it was almost melodic in delivery. I thought the actors were great at their roles and nailed a bizarrely beautiful film. I am surprised the boy did not tell anyone sooner what he witnessed; I assume he wanted to have a moment to pay his respects to her. Not that she could have been saved, but her distraught family would have been able to grieve her loss much sooner. One of two things was troubling the girl. She was either mentally ill and lost in this altered reality, or two, she genuinely…

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Film School Shorts: Bookends, Prom, and When We Were Young

Bookends This film is a must watch film because it has all the makings of a top-notch thriller. The anxiety that builds up while you are watching is palpable, until the particular moment when the short ends, and you are left inquiring what will happen next. Prom Based on a true story. Prom is a film that will leave you speechless. I’m sad the young man in the film didn’t go to his prom anyway, but I understand his reason why. Seeing your date out with another person is heartbreaking. Her parents were OK with the two of them studying together, but not with them extending their friendship beyond those…

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Promising Young Short Filmmakers

Without a doubt, the previous generations produced some of the most talented individuals ever seen. They paved the way for the more recent generations and created so many ample opportunities for them to showcase their creative talents in independent filmmaking.  The following filmmakers should receive some praise: John Prince Wright is an Australian filmmaker, writer, director, and producer who has garnered recognition and popularity from a young age for his budding talents. In 2014, he received an award as the Young Australian Filmmaker of the…

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MYM: War Has No Eyes

This is a well-crafted short film that attempts to bridge the gap between a young man’s religious expectations and his personal freedom. To me, “war has no eyes” means, there is more than one way to generate change in this world. The lead character, Mahmoud, is a young Muslim man living in the United Kingdom. The film highlights Mahmoud’s imperfections and his journey back to the roots of his Islamic faith with the help of his mentor. During…

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SFW Review: Alt. Life

This influential short film is rich in lessons for the current digital generation searching for online attention. The film follows the online interaction between two young adults who are attempting to reconnect through social media.  The boy falsely represents himself on his profile as a health guru; measuring his likeness to a highly adept fitness king. But in reality, he is meek. He gorges on junk food and soda, which are far from healthy. He even goes to great lengths to buy tight-fitting clothes to show off his…

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SFW Review: Last Shot and Whale Heart

Last Shot by Aemilia Widodo Last Shot is a cute short film about a camera with a broken lens that, once animated, convinces his owner to appreciate the beauty in imperfection.  Reasonably, when the owner first sees the damaged lens, throws the camera away. But instead of giving up hope, the camera responds by meticulously arranging an exquisite art piece, using only its newly altered images. This is all to prove a moral point: that happiness can only exist after we have achieved a sense of optimism. Whale Heart by The Animation…

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PBS Film School Shorts: Glory Days

This film really succeeded in stressing me out. My issue was with the sheer amount of irresponsibility on the father’s part. He leaves his young children standing in the middle of a crowded room of intoxicated people so that he can flirt. He lets his friend carry him down a path he knows he should…

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Reel South Shorts: The Basin, Uniontown, and Signs [Final]

The Basin I love crawfish; thus, I love this film. The Basin follows two prominent crawfish farmers as they discuss climate change affecting their businesses and livelihoods. Uniontown I highly recommend watching this film. The film Uniontown strives to bring attention to the shady business practices of industrial companies. Namely, the pollution of low-income and…

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Reel South Shorts: As In Death

As In Death This film was a bit macabre. However, I love the message being delivered… Do what you feel is right, regardless of the opposition. To many, Sidney Brodie’s steadfast determination to honor the children and young adults killed in Durham, North Carolina, by sewing their names into a quilt, is bordering on obsession.…

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Vancouver Latin Film Festival

My Weaving Hands The film artistically describes the laborious process of making clothing for the street market from the seller’s perspective. The purpose of this film is to show tourists that while it feels natural to haggle a price, it, in turn, can signal to the seller that their work and time are undervalued. IXCH’UMIL…

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Monthly Wrap Up [#2]

Hi all, I hope everyone is doing well and getting some much-needed rest. August was an excellent month for short film festivals. I found a lot of good films to share with you guys, which felt very rewarding. Though films were not as emotionally charged as of July’s selection, each festival this month had its…

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PBS Film School Shorts: Lambing Season and A World for Raul

Lambing Season I honestly was not expecting to like this film as much as I did. Essentially, an American woman takes her significant other to meet her estranged father, whom she has not seen since her childhood. All she has is an old photograph, her ambition, and the hope that her father still remembers her.…

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Film School Shorts: First Match

First Match A young female wrestler attempts to navigate her place on her all-male high school wrestling team in this film. The film tackles the topic of overcoming fundamental adolescent issues without embarrassment or ridicule. The film highlights the friction her gender has caused in her relationship with her father. He loves his daughter and…

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Melbourne International Film Festival: Your Street and The Echo

Your Street The film starts with the narrator wanting to establish a connection with the viewer. Showing the viewer that life has many commonalities regardless of who you are or where you live. You soon realize that the narrator is not talking about you, specifically, but through you to someone who resides on the other…

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SJWIFF: Glad You’re Here, The Onyx Butterfly, and MerB’ys [Final]

Glad You’re Here I adore this film. It’s a raw personal account of the main character’s life. She highlights the ups and downs of her marriage, her learning disability, her self-sacrifices, motherhood, and eventually her journey to find her purpose in life again after domestic abuse. A quote that stood out to me was, “I…

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AAIFF: Ones To Watch Review

My Pumpkin, My Boo I enjoyed the comic quality of this film. A pumpkin and a ghost forge an unlikely friendship through a shared love of what candy represents to the world. My greatest takeaway from the film was the need to find acceptance by finding your purpose, and through this, you can achieve transcendence.…

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Asian American International Film Festival: CUNY Short Showcase

Though not a massive selection of films this year, I thought what was submitted was excellent. One film that stood out to me, though, was Morkovcha. Morkovcha recounts what life was like for the filmmaker and her family growing up as Korean Russians in Uzbekistan, and how her culture and childhood had shaped her perspective…

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PBS Reel South: Station 15

When a New Orleans teen becomes curious about her neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a journey ensues to find the answers to all of her questions. Through her investigation, Chasity discovers that the pipes in her area were not designed to manage large quantities of rainwater. During Hurricane Katrina, the city had installed…

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PBS The Latino Experience: Mi Fango, Mi Cerro [Episode 3]

This documentary follows a Puerto Rican artist, Chemi, on his artistic journey to reconstruct the appearance of his childhood neighborhood, El Cerro. I love the overall message of this film, which is the significance of community maintenance and restoration. By painting the houses green, Chemi gave the people of El Cerro the means to express…

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Monthly Wrap Up [#1]

Hi all, To wrap up July, I want to reflect on the past month’s activities while also laying out a plan for the months to come. Like I said earlier this month, we are diving into some heavy topics, as that seems to be the trend most film festivals this year are going in. But…

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PBS Short Film Festival 2021 Review: Ta Hasso and Phony

Ta Hasso Ta Hasso is a film about a community outreach program based in Long Beach, California, and its commitment to operate throughout the pandemic with regular zoom meetings. What I enjoy most about this film is its attention to the importance of human interaction. Covid-19 was unexpected but that does not mean that we…

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SFW Review: Ringling College

If you want to learn more about making a career in graphic design or filmmaking, I would suggest checking out Ringling College’s degree programs. Though I have only had the opportunity to look at the school’s published student film projects, the quality of work coming out of their creative arts department is high caliber, which speaks highly…

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SFW Review: Aftermath and Take Me

Aftermath A tale of two brothers who are forced to care for themselves in the frigid backcountry. While the eldest brother understands the never-ending dangers associated with survival, the younger brother is a little slow to learn. Unfortunately, when the younger brother does finally learn this lesson, it is too late. The main theme I…

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SFW Review: Missing and Lili

Missing This is an absolutely beautiful film that has a dark underbelly. As viewers, we are on this journey with a father that has lost his son. I am guessing the boy went missing while he was in the woods, and the father decides to go searching for him. As the film progresses, you slowly…

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PBS Short Film Festival 2021: You and The Thing You Love

Hi all, I hope everyone is having a wonderful week and staying safe! As you know, PBS Film Festival 2021 started this Monday, and all I can say is A-MAZING! This year’s submissions certainly top the last two years, and it makes me excited to see what PBS releases next year. So, to start the…

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PBS Short Film Festival 2019

Hi all, Here is a list of short films from PBS Short Film Festival 2019, I found noteworthy: The Moon and The Night- This is an emotional film; it is natural to become invested in the sweet friendship between the girl and her dog. Heroine of Hope– This is a warm and powerful documentary about…

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2021 Short Film Festival List

Lower Eastside Short Film Festival: July 8th, 2021- July 18th, 2021 The LES Film Festival starts today, and I hope everyone is ready! This year’s short film lineup looks exceptionally fun, with a blend of experienced and amateur filmmakers bringing their creative projects to the public eye. Work includes big names such as Michael James…

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PBS Short Film Festival 2021: A Story of America

The PBS network gives local, independent, and amateur short film artists a platform to showcase their work. Launched in 2012, this will be PBS’s tenth year hosting this short film festival. The festival will host a wide range of film genres, and this year 25 films are selected for public viewing. As a viewer, you…

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SFW Review: Real Talk

After watching Real Talk, it is easy to sympathize with the victim. She calls out her abuser live on television, and you would expect that he would have been ridiculed, but he slithers his way out of the accusations with ease. He charms the host with a tale of woe; he captivates the audience with…

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SFW Review: Woman in Stall: A Theory

Now, here is my theory. The film is supposed to simulate all facets of torment that women may feel in public, as well as touching on certain elements of gender stereotypes. The man in the film has the woman cornered in the stall, trying to make small talk. He knows that he is being socially…

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SFW Review: Meet Jimmy by David-Jan Bronsgeest

This was a ride of a film; I loved it. It was a sensory experience that left me on the edge of my seat. As a viewer, I was taken on a vicarious journey along with the main character, as she listens to an occult-style podcast. The stage is set for a spooky interview with…

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SFW Review: Can You Hear Me Now?

What stood out most to me with this short film is that it showed a different perspective on an otherwise prolific global issue. The narrator spoke about how he felt stuck in this impossible situation and had no opportunities to achieve his ambitions. What I like the most about this film is how the tone…

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SFW Review: Shattered by Suyoung Jang

What I gathered from this short film are the different metaphorical interpretations of where this preferential treatment may be taking place, but the gist of it is, men and women are cut from the same cloth; they are made in the same way (given the factory setting); the only noticeable difference is that once an…

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SFW Review: Coin Operated-Two Ghosts

Coin Operated is maybe one of the most nostalgic yet playful short films ever made. Nicholas Arioli, the director of Coin Operated, has done a great job representing the life experiences from childhood till old age in barely five minutes. The short film opens with the representation of a space shuttle roaming around the sky,…

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SFW Review: Princess Rita

My takeaway from the film was the main character’s profound disconnect from the natural world – to the point that he starts to create an imaginary world where he is in a long-term relationship with a woman named Rita. Rita may be a real person, but the authenticity of his relationship with her is not.…

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SFW Review: Stand

Stand is such an exciting film because it is very much a psychological horror. If you have ever suffered from sleep paralysis or parasomnia, I think it will be easier to relate to the main character’s struggle. The comparison to sleep paralysis may not be what the director was going for, but that is how…

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