The 30 Best Short Film Performances Of 2019

Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge lists his 30 best short film performances of 2019.

30. Sara Balghonaim – Dunya’s Day

Raed Alsemari’s short film sees Balghonaim play a rich woman whose social status is threatened by a number of party mishaps. Impressive and entertaining work.

29. Sarah Tihany and David Call – Whiteout

In Lance Edmands’ clever short film, Tihany and Call are fantastic as a couple who find themselves in a strange situation.

28. Shaza Moharam – The Trap (Fakh)

Moharam captures the distress of her character as she tries to end her relationship with an insecure and cruel partner.

27. Allegra Leguizamo – Lockdown

Working with two of the best short film directors around (Celine Held and Logan George), Allegra Leguizamo is wonderful as a fourteen-year-old girl who hatches an elaborate plan to deal with her strong feelings for a classmate.

26. Phénix Brossard – The Van

Erenik Beqiri’s bruising tale sees Brossard play a young man fighting for a new life.

25. Thomas Kuratli – Journey Through A Body

A thoughtful performance from Kuratli as a young musician whose day is thrown off by an unexpected visitor.

24. Rob Nagle – Safety

Fabrice Joubert’s film about a gym teacher reacting to the presence of a shooter in their small-town elementary school features powerful performances from Nagle and his young co-stars.

23. Amy Landecker, Katherine Reis and Ryan Foust – Father Figurine

Brilliantly measured performances from this cast help carry off Matt Kazman’s absurd and dark concept.

22. Audrey Corsa – Kate In Oxnard

Audrey Corsa is superb in Emily Tomson’s drama about a young woman whose fresh start in a small-costal town is ruined by the appearance of a predatory figure. Expect to see a lot more of this gifted actress in the next few years.

21. Øyvind BrandtzægThe Manila Lover

Øyvind Brandtzæg taps into the insecurity of middle-aged man losing a grip on his life.

20. Olivia Taylor Cruz and Allison Moses – Luisa And Anna’s First Fight

These two young actors are the Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein of the short film world. Wonderful energy and chemistry.

19. Maria Dizzia and Azikiwea Green – MAY

Dizzia and Green capture the unlikely chemistry between a French professor and a young drug dealer in Julian Turner’s fantastic short.

18. Steve Rodgers and James Fraser – Snare

Rodgers and Fraser are excellent as a father and son meeting up for a surprisingly tense encounter at a Chinese restaurant.

17. Xue Jiayi – She Runs

A brilliant physical performance from Jiayi captures the isolation and anxiety of her character.

16. Lindsay Duncan – November 1st

Charlie Manton’s short sees Duncan deliver a terrific performance as a deeply torn mother driving to witness the execution of her son’s murder. A mention also for her excellent co-star, Sophia Myles.

15. Anna Friel – The Sea

Friel demonstrates why she is one of the best British actors around with this intelligent and heartfelt performance.

14. Kaelen Ohm – Little Grey Bubbles

Ohm is captivating as a young woman attending the funeral of a man she was close to – but never met in real-life.

13. Ioko Ioannis Kotidis and Nikos Zeginoglou – The Distance Between Us And The Sky

Ioko Ioannis Kotidis and Nikos Zeginoglou tease out palpable romantic tension in Vasilis Kekatos’ short film.

12. Michelle Keating – This Perfect Day

A tender performance from Keating captures the emotions of their character in a moment of vulnerability.

11. Mariann Hansen and Sissal Drews Hjaltalin- No Ill Will (Ikki Illa Meint)

Mariann Hansen and Sissal Drews Hjaltalin portray a painfully awkward meeting between two old friends at a supermarket.

10. Patsy Ferran – The Devil’s Harmony

The eccentric tone of Dylan Holmes Williams’ short is encapsulated by this perfectly pitched performance by Ferran.

9. Jesse James Keitel – Miller & Son

Keitel is outstanding as a transwoman who is caught between running her family’s auto shop during the day and expressing her femininity at night.

8. Helena Howard – Twist

Howard is central to capturing the escalating tension and dread of Aly Migliori’s short film.

7. Lia Wilfing – Favoriten

This performance shows Wilfing is one to watch out for in the coming decade. She brings nuance and passion to her role as a directionless young woman.

6. Rita Martins – Party Day (Dia De Festa)

Martins brings incredible honesty to Sofia Bost’s film about a single mother trying to organise a birthday party for her young daughter.

5. Rime Nahmani – Tuesday From 8 to 6 (Mardi de 8 a 18)

Rime Nahmani lends seamless authenticity to this role as a conflicted school monitor.

4. Lewis Pullman – Lefty/Righty

This nuanced performance sees Pullman play a young father coming to terms with his father’s passing.

3. Paula Lobo Antunes – A Son Like Others

A moving lead performance from Antunes as a mother struggling to map out a safe future for her schizophrenic son.

2. Romanna Lobach – Olla

Lobach is an effervescent force in Ariane Labed’s debut short film. She also gifts us one of the highlights of the short film year with an incredible dance scene.

1. Katy Wright-Mead – Sometimes, I Think About Dying

Wright-Mead is tremendous as a young women who has internalised her life and seems to be afraid to live.

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