As we say farewell to 2018, Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge lists his 25 favourite short film performances of the year (based on IMDb release dates).
25) Elit İşcan (Dancing Girls)
One of the young stars of Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s Mustang (2015), Elit İşcan is continues to show signs she is blossoming into fine young actor. Zeynep Köprülü’s Dancing Girls showcases İşcan’s charm in the role of a young woman preparing to say goodbye to her hometown and best friend.
24) Evgenia Evstigneeva (Consequences Of Any Kind)
Russian actor Evgenia Evstigneeva displays impressive versatility in her debut role as a young woman tangled up in a confusing relationship with another woman.
23) Irina Bravo (Lucy’s Tale)
Irina Bravo quietly conveys the adolescent stresses of dealing with bullies and physical transformation in Chelsea Lupkin’s coming-of-age horror.
22) Grace Glowicki (Arlo Alone)
Grace Glowicki takes us on a surprisingly affecting journey as her character navigates a lonely world in Nicole Dorsey’s futuristic drama.
21) Jordan-Amanda Hall and Jhada Ann Walker (Cross My Heart)
Touching and mature performances from two talented young actors dealing with the sensitive subject of abuse.
20) Mackenzie Davis (Boomerang)
Matthew Frost’s comedy Boomerang follows a nurse (Mackenzie Davis) who is haunted by social media personalities after trying to delete her account. This highly amusing performance from Davis is capped off with a smile of delusion that feels reminiscent of Emma Stone at the end of Birdman.
19) Théodore Pellerin (Incel)
Under the glow of a computer screen, Théodore Pellerin brings the necessary intensity and volatility to help make John Merizalde’s short film an unnerving experience.
18) Inez Dahl Torhaug (I Think I Have A Crush On You)
Inez Dahl Torhaug bravely captures the vulnerability and fear of a young girl being manipulated by an online predator.
17) Deborah Leiser-Moore and Clementine Anderson (Fitting)
The excellent Deborah Leiser-Moore and Clementine Anderson deliver carefully measured performances to fit this gracefully told story about opening up to pain.
16) Lily Newmark and Ruby Stokes (Nosebleed)
Two of Britain’s most talented young actors combine brilliantly to illuminate Luna Carmoon’s stylish and disturbing tale of toxic friendship.
15) Taylor Hickson (A Picnic Table, At Dusk)
Even though her co-star is literally a wooden bench, Taylor Hickson pulls off a moving performance to carry the emotional weight of Sheridan O’Donnell’s short film.
14) Molly Parker and Rosemarie DeWitt (Magic Bullet)
Two acclaimed actors lend powerful performances to this beautifully shot story about life after devastating loss.
13) Vedrana Bozinovic (Ostrom)
A sobering display from Vedrana Bozinovic as she captures the unimaginable pain and desperation of a woman trying to persevere through the deprivations of war.
12) Billy Mack (Red Hill)
Extenuated by Laura Carreira’s framing, Billy Mack cuts a tragically lonely and lost figure in this tale of an ex-miner searching for purpose. The images of Mack’s character in the final scene of the film are nothing short of heart-breaking.
11) Mohamed Graïaa (Brotherhood)
Formidable work from Mohamed Graïaa as he plays a father left conflicted by the surprise return of his son. Once again, this is a performance that reaches an engrossing peak in the closing stages of the short film.
10) Sydney Herauf (Dziadzio)
Sydney Herauf shows herself to be a magnetic on-screen presence who delights in moments of dark comedy and surrealism.
9) Francesca Anderson (F*ck Bunny)
An intimate and engaging Francesca Anderson performance leaves a mark beyond the sexual quirks of Wesley Wingo’s short film.
8) Troels Lyby (A Worthy Man)
An incredibly poignant performance from this experienced Danish actor. He brings gravity to a role that balances humour with creeping despair.
7) Rasmus Luthander (Excuse Me, I Am Looking For The Ping-Pong Room And My Girlfriend)
A clever and restrained performance from Rasmus Luthander. The Swedish actor portrays a passive and directionless male figure who aimlessly wanders around a spa hotel.
6) Yared Scott (All These Creatures)
A striking debut performance from Yared Scott provides the core to Charles Williams’ stunning short film.
5) Missi Pyle (Don’t Be A Hero)
With a robbery disguise as convincing as those found in American Animals, Missi Pyle presents a fascinating portrait of a woman seeking something beyond her monotonous job and lonely life. A tremendous role and performance that deserves the opportunity to be stretched out into a feature film.
4) Félix Grenier (Fauve)
From innocent playfulness to frantic fear, young Félix Grenier helps take us on an unforgettable journey in this truly special short film.
3) Anaïs Demoustier (Pauline Enslaved)
Anaïs Demoustier plays an intellectual who is weakened and tormented by a text conversation in Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet’s Pauline Enslaved. Playing brilliantly off Sigrid Bouaziz, Anaïs brings zippy energy and relatability to this story about the nature of modern relationships.
2) Shirley Chen (Krista)
A beautifully layered and nuanced performance from Shirely Chen is the captivating focal point of Danny Madden’s drama. Chen displays vulnerability and ferocity as a young woman turning victimhood back on a complicit figure.
1) Ely Solan and Leon Hughes (Detainment)
The performance of Leon Hughes and Ely Solan in Detainment is one of the most remarkable achievements in filmmaking this year.
Given the daunting task of portraying Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, who murdered 2-year-old James Bulger in 1993, these two young actors impressively rose to the challenge of retelling this harrowing story. Hughes and Solan provide performances that are not just passable, but hauntingly real and unforgettable.
Huge credit should also be extended to director Vincent Lambe and his team for helping the two youngsters through such potentially taxing roles.