Category Archives: Film Reviews

SFW Reviews: Illegal Move

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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 think it is a creative way for someone to learn about chess and how the chess pieces move.

You can watch Illegal Move here on Short Film Wednesdays or check out more short films from CGMeetup on their YouTube channel.

Monthly Wrap Up [#3]

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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 to make up for last month.

September Recap:

In September, we explored (and finished) two separate PBS short film programs: Reel South Shorts and Film School Shorts. Both of which were full of some of the most life-altering films I have ever watched. They were dark films. They were emotional and heavy, but they were also fantastic.

I also had the pleasure of watching the Vancouver Latin Film Festival, and I loved it. The flavor was different from other film festivals I have seen this year. No energy was put into making the films look perfect; all was focused on creating a natural and honest experience. If you did not make it to this year’s festival, I recommend attending next year.

SFW Monthly Film Favorites:

A World For Raul

Still one of my favorite films; I think my excitement stems from how suspenseful it was. It is painless to worry for the boy. You recognize his softness and intelligence, and it makes you both relieved and uncertain about his future. The boy shows you that he is willing to survive in a cruel world, despite not being made for it. The transitions in this character’s development are smooth, and I love the creative direction.

Less Than Human

This is a uniquely quirky film about zombies desiring equality. There are a lot of cheeky and fun moments in this animated film, but there is also a wholesome message about accepting differences. The film demonstrates a fictional world that is representative of our society. We see the breaks in our conventional ideology of human beings. This leaves room for us to question what a life experience is for others different from us; why shouldn’t we let someone/something live out its version of a life experience without ridicule.

Drum Wave

This is a crazy horror film, but I love it. It was thoughtful, and it kept me glued to the screen.


This was a fun horror film. The polaroid camera was a nice element, and it added a unique quality to the horror.

October Recap:

October marked SFW’s First Anniversary. A year ago, when I started this blog, I had no clue what I was going to do with it, but I wanted to build something. I was on YouTube, and I saw some of the most impressive short films. Content that was better than the movies on T.V., with only a few hundred views. These short films changed my whole perspective on visual art and filmmaking. My biggest goal for this site is to give small filmmakers an audience. I have watched many short films that have positively changed my life over the past year, and I hope this site offers something to the people visiting it. Having a place to share my thoughts on fantastic films every day has been an incredibly rewarding experience, and I am thankful.

November Schedule:

October, we started this dive into short films about mental health and mental illness. In November, we will be continuing this short film deep-dive.

Also, I have a couple of film festivals I want to attend. So, I will have my reviews up later in the month for you guys.

SFW Monthly Film Favorites:

Last Call

You spend most of the film questioning whom the main character is talking to on the other line. Then, you wonder if the main character is even talking to another person. It is a sad film, but it is also simple to connect to the character’s difficulty letting go.


It is ok to feel broken but never to stay broken. I love the poetry of this biopic. It is based on a harried moment in Amani’s life where he almost died. The film details Amani’s struggle with the demons of youth and his progression away from street life.

SFW Review: Alt. Life

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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 “bulging” muscles which, in fact, are edited by imaging software. He thrives on the attention and is good at what he does-making others believe in the character that he has created. His life seems idyllic, but as we learn, it is far from great; the boy is deeply dissatisfied with his body, and he hates the way he looks.

After coming upon his profile, the girl begins falling in love with the boy’s online personality. Soon, she gathers the courage and asks him out. Where, appearing to accept her invitation, the boy agrees. Even posting a public photo, entitled #datenight, to commemorate the moment. However, despite agreeing to the meet up, the frightened boy is incapable of facing reality and blows the girl off. 

As she waits anxiously for him, the girl becomes heartbroken, and eventually goes home. When she asks him why he didn’t show up, she is confronted with a cold shoulder and blocked. Naturally, she responds with anger. But instead of letting it go, the girl gets the boy’s home address and drives to his house. When she confronts him again (but in person) , he can no longer hide from her and she finally sees the person he has become. A sad, broken-down version of the boy online.

The film takes on one of the most compelling messages that I have ever seen and that is: trying to be something that you are not, will only leave you more empty than you were before. And living your life solely to satisfy others, will habitually be at the enormous expense of your own happiness.

SFW Review: Last Shot and Whale Heart

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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 Workshop

Whale Heart, follows the life of a whaler, named Silas. The film highlights the struggle of Silas’s life, in an isolated village, with his young family. We see that Silas’s inner turmoil and his environment, are taking a dark toll on him. His work has made him a cold and emotionally distant man; he has mastered the art of extracting his emotions (taking out his heart and abandoning it at home, with his family).

In the film, we see Silas’s young son primed to follow him. From the moment Silas was born, he was groomed for the whaling lifestyle. Which is why, when given a conscious choice to initiate his son into the life, Silas wisely decides against it; naturally wanting to give his boy a chance at something better.

Ultimately, when Silas does not remove his heart and dies protecting his son, it marks the beginning of the end for this story. This moment is symbolic of the fact that we cannot always hide our raw emotions for/from our loved ones. Having his son with him, is a key moment in Silas’s life, one that he cannot detach from. And with this, I feel like Silas is finally able to create a choice for himself-one he could not readily make in the past. What makes the story all the more interesting, is how, even with his devoted father’s ultimate sacrifice, the son becomes a whaler for the village, anyway.

While their reasons for pursuing this harsh lifestyle are different (with the son sorely wanting vengeance for his slain father and the father only wanting to provide for his family), it is fascinating to see how easy it was from both of them to become the thing they were fighting so hard against. The father and son never talked about each other’s earnest hopes and wishes for the future, so it seems inevitable that this would be the outcome.