When we think of movies, our minds immediately go to whatever is showing on the big screen; however there is an entire realm outside the mainstream industry of blooming filmmakers with no shortage of stories to tell. Short films often tackle issues that may not always be dealt with well, or at all, in Hollywood, act as a way for filmmakers without the money or means to create full-length films to get their foot in the door, and showcase an immense amount of talent. Unfortunately, despite these values, short films rarely ever get the attention they deserve. Though there is a plethora of amazing short films on the internet (which I encourage you to explore), to make it easier I’ve compiled a list of 5 wonderful short films that are available to stream online for free.
1.) Here’s the Plan
Written, directed, and produced by Fernanda Frick, Here’s the Plan showcases incredible storytelling ability and beautiful CGI animation. Told through the story of an animal couple who initially want to start their own bakery together, Here’s the Plan is about dreams, losing sight of them, and how bumps in the road can either bring people together or tear them apart. Joel P. West’s original music is a standout feature of this film, perfectly capturing the essence of each scene and the emotions of the viewer.
You can watch Here’s the Plan here.
Starring Alex Karpovsky, known for playing Ray in Girls, and Troian Bellisario, made famous by her role as Spencer in Pretty Little Liars, Jacob Chase’s Amy perfectly blends their talents. Karpovsky and Bellisario clash, yet compliment each other in the sad, sentimental story of two people who end up hurting each other in the wake of their impulsive decision to reconnect.
(warning: brief sexual content)
You can watch Amy here.
Alex Myung’s Arrival makes clear just how much can be said without the use of words. In this entirely nonverbal short film, Arrival tells the story of a young man who has a profound love and connection with his mother, but begins to push her away as he tries to hide his true self from her. Myung thrives in the medium of 2-D animation, and the result is visually breathtaking, a standout scene being a striking sequence in which the main character chases his mother through a galactic dreamscape.
You can watch Arrival here.
4.) Where Do Lilacs Come From
Where Do Lilacs Come From, a short film written and directed by Matthew Thorne, tackles the experiences of a man living with Alzheimer’s. As the man’s past memories and current circumstances intertwine, they become increasingly difficult to distinguish and begin to bleed into each other, brilliantly conveyed by the film’s cinematography, sometimes juxtaposing several versions of the man at different stages in his life next to each other. Where Do Lilacs Come From is overflowing with emotional potency and achieves a truly distinct level of artistry.
You can watch Where Do Lilacs Come From here.
5.) Lightning Bugs in a Jar
Robert Ian Simpson and Sara Wolkowitz’s Lightning Bugs in a Jar tells the story of Max and his mother Farrah as they reunite to pack up their old house. As old scars resurface, the two must come to terms with what they have lost and how they have been dealing with it (and each other). The strength of this film stems primarily from its plausibility; the dynamic between Max and Farrah, as well as the dynamics between each of them and Max’s boyfriend Ben, come across as familiar and appear to be firmly rooted in the reality of strained familial relationships. Both aesthetic and conceivable, Lightning Bugs in a Jar manages to aptly discuss tragedy, but not without introducing hope.
(warning: brief sexual content)
You can watch Lighting Bugs in a Jar here.
Featured Image: Lightning Bugs in a Jar via Kickstarter