As we say goodbye to 2019, Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge names his 30 best short films of the year.
30. The Distance Between Us And The Sky – Vasilis Kekatos
Set at a gas station, Kekatos’ short is an enchanting work of romantic tension thanks to imitate camerawork, flirtatious dialogue and wanting looks.
29. Father Figurine – Matt Kazman
Fantastically dry humour support this short’s dark and absurd concept. Credit also goes to wonderfully measured performances from a talented cast.
28. Luisa And Anna’s First Fight – Lena Tsodykovskaya
Luisa And Anna’s First Fight is an adrenaline-fuelled look at teenage culture and friendship. Fiercely energetic and highly entertaining.
27. Safety – Fabrice Joubert
A gym teacher and his class of young children hide from a shooter in this intense short.
26. The Sea – Cameron Richards
This touching and grippingly structured short uses a seaside bench to explore the delicate nature of memories.
25. Favoriten – Martin Monk
Lia Wilfing and Christian Dolezal are excellent in Monk’s touching short about an unlikely duo’s sanative road trip.
24. Tuesday From 8 to 6 (Mardi de 8 à 18) – Cecilia de Arce
Tuesday From 8 To 6 jumps into the heart of school life as we follow one dedicated school monitor’s attempts to keep a troubled student on the right track.
23. Twist – Aly Migliori
Led by a powerful performance from Helena Howard, this suspenseful short speaks to unsettling truths about gender power dynamics and the female experience.
22. And Then The Bear – Agnès Patron
Darkness and flickering colours are used to enthralling effect in this animated short about the awakening of one young man’s courage.
21. A Son Like Others – Antonio Sequeira
A mother wrestles with the future of her schizophrenic son in this moving and beautifully acted short.
5 Special Mentions: Forgotten – David Soares, Just You And Me (Juste Moi Et Toi) – Sandrine Brodeur-Desrosiers, The Jump (Le Grand Saut) – Vanessa Dumont and Nicolas Davnel, Mr. Mare – Luca Toth, All Cats Are Grey In The Dark – Lasse Linder
20. A Million Eyes – Richard Raymond
Gentle cinematography conflicts with harsh realities in Raymond’s touching short film about a young boy discovering his artistic voice.
19. The Manila Lover – Johanna Pyykkö
Johanna Pyykkö’s short uses an affair between a Norwegian man and a Filipino woman to intimately observe masculinity and insecurity.
18. Lockdown – Celine Held and Logan George
A tense and honest short in which a fourteen-year-old girl stages an elaborate plan to get close to the classmate she has feelings for.
17. Little Grey Bubbles – Charles Wahl
Little Grey Bubbles poignantly probes at the nature and depth of online relationships.
16. The Devil’s Harmony – Dylan Holmes Williams
The eccentric vision of The Devil’s Harmony is executed with such conviction that it charms and delights from start to finish.
15. Kamali – Sasha Rainbow
This uplifting and beautifully pieced together short follows a young female skateboarder, named Kamali, as she defies expectations in southern India.
14. This Perfect Day – Lydia Rui
Rui’s intimate and quietly powerful short captures the nerves of a young person as they prepare for an encounter that will change their life.
13. Girl In The Hallway – Valerie Barnhart
This engrossing and atmospheric animated short sees writer Jamie DeWolf share the personal story of the disappearance of his young neighbour.
12. Snare – Madeleine Gottlieb
Set in a Chinese restaurant, Gottlieb’s short is a brilliantly crafted tribute to father-son relationships.
11. Postcards From The End Of The World – Konstantinos Antonopoulos
Guided by a soft spoken narrator and Larry Gus’ original score, there is an epic and slightly absurd feel to this tale of a family vacation that is thrown into chaos by unexpected forces.
5 More Special Mentions: Sunday Afternoon At Denny’s – Xavier Rotnofsky, Kate In Oxnard – Emily Tomson, My Generation – Ludovic Houplain, November 1st – Charlie Manton, Monster God (Monstruo Dios) – Agustina San Martín
10. Acid Rain – Tomek Popakul
Popakul’s trippy animation drops us into rave culture in post-industrial Eastern Europe.
9. Journey Through A Body – Camille Degeye
Degeye delicately observes a musician’s daily life before the unannounced arrival of a women violently shifts the film’s tone. An arresting and clever short.
8. Lowland Kids – Sandra Winther
The devastating effects of climate change and the power of family are bitter-sweet focuses of Winther’s stunningly shot short.
7. She Runs – Qiu Yang
Yang expertly captures the isolation of a young girl who desperately wants to quit her high school dance team.
6. Olla – Ariane Labed
Delivered with delighting spirit and flair, Labed’s first short film follows a young woman who defies expectations and power structures in her new surroundings.
5. Party Day (Dia De Festa) – Sofia Bost
Led by a poignant performance by Rita Martins, Party Day presents a deeply human and emotionally complex portrait of mother-daughter relationships.
4. No Ill Will (Ikka Illa Meint) – Andrias Høgenni
A casual conversation between two friends in a supermarket transforms into a fascinating study of navigating relationships in the age of Facebook.
3. Sometimes, I Think About Dying – Stephanie Abel Horowitz
Stefanie Abel Horowitz’s second short film is a quiet and internal story about a woman whose fantasies about dying are interrupted by an office romance.
2. Invisible Hero (Invisible Herói) – Cristèle Alves Meira
Cristèle Alves Meira’s beautifully poetic short film follows a middle-aged blind man as he wanders the streets of Lisbon in search of an imaginary friend.
1. Electric Swan – Konstantina Kotzamani
Ktozamani’s surreal and dreamlike short presents a lyrical look at class structures in Buenos Aires.