Features Film

The 30 Best Short Films Of 2020

Close-Up Culture reveal our 30 best short films of 2020.


30. The Seeker – Lance Edmands

This fascinating documentary looks at an excommunicated Amish woodworker’s struggle with spirituality.

29. Mandem – John Ogunmuyiwa

Ogunmuyiwa’s story follows the adventures of two drug dealers in London. This impressive short challenges viewers to reflect on their own presumptions.

28. Escape From The Fragile Planet – Thanasis Tsimpinis

Tsimpinis’ charming tale follows two men as they find romance in the face of the apocalypse. Amazingly, this somewhat prophetic film was shot last year.

27. White Goldfish – Jan Roosens and Raf Roosens

This beautifully told short follows a young girl who stumbles on her mother’s intimate relationship with a mysterious woman.

26. Ride It Out – Ana Lily Amirpour

A cycle ride around Hollywood and Cate Blanchett’s narration make for thought-provoking lockdown viewing.

25. David – Zach Woods

A therapist’s dysfunctional personal life intrudes on his work life in this amusing short film.

24. Melatonin – Nikos Pastras

This sensual film features engrossing cinematography and two brilliantly physical performances.

23. Crickets – Kristen Stewart

Stewart directs and stars in this absorbing short about insomnia.

22. The Lamb Of God – David Pinheiro Vicente

Read our full review of The Lamb Of God.

21. Timo’s Winter – Giulio Mastromauro

An empty fairground is the interesting backdrop for this short film’s touching exploration of grief.

20. History Of Civilization – Zhannat Alshanova

Alshanova’s thoughtful short tells the story of a woman preparing to leave her life behind for a new start in London.

19. Gramercy – Jamil McGinnis and Pat Heywood

A poetic and well-crafted short looking at grief and mental health.

18. Marlon Brando – Vincent Tilanus

Marlon Brando tenderly captures the moment two close friends begin to drift apart.

17. For Your Consideration – Poppy Gordon

Gordon’s daring satire probes at ‘wokeness’ and those entitled enough to manipulate it. A razor-sharp script and wildly entertaining performances make this a must-watch.

16. Stephanie – Leonardo van Dijl

Van Dijl’s short glimpses at the trials of a young gymnast as she contends with injuries and pressure.

15. Two Single Beds – William Stefan Smith

A fascinating portrait of two troubled stand-up comedians.

14. Blue Fear – Lola Halifa-Legrand and Marie Jacotey

 Love, passion and anxiety are explored in this dazzling animation.

13. Morning Song – Bijan Sheibani

Sheibani’s memorable short portrays the intense experience of a woman suffering from postpartum psychosis.

12. Turned – Anders Walter

Walter’s tale of a perturbed racing car driver packs the drama and excitement of a blockbuster feature into a short.

11. Cake Day – Phillip Thomas

Thomas’ tense short film about an addict leaves a profound mark.

10. Good Thanks, You? – Molly Manning Walker

Read our review of Good Thanks, You?

9. Bittu – Karishma Dube

Dube’s short follows two mischievous schoolgirls in a story that builds brilliantly to its harrowing climax.

8. Dustin – Naila Guiguet

The complex relationships within a group of friends are laid bare in Guiguet’s short film. It makes for fascinating and insightful viewing.

7. Little Princess – Eric Forestier

A young woman’s sheltered reality is shattered in Little Princess. An unexpected emotional beat including the woman’s father demonstrates what a thoughtful story this is.

6. I Am Afraid To Forget Your Face – Sameh Alaa

Alaa’s devastating story follows a young man in his pursuit to reunite with a loved one. A masterful piece of storytelling.

5. O Black Hole! – Renee Zhan

Animation at its immersive and fantastical best. We can only hope to see more art like this on the big-screen.

4. The Game – Roman Hodel

Hodel’s engrossing documentary gives us an intimate look at the hectic job of a football referee on matchday.

3. Sudden Light – Sophie Littman

Littman’s atmospheric short is challenging and riveting. It features a tremendous central performance from Esme Creed-Miles.

2. Church And The Fourth Estate – Brian Knappenberger

Brian Knappenberger’s documentary shines a light on widespread sexual abuse within the Idaho Boy Scouts. This harrowing story deserves the biggest possible audience.

1. Bella – Thelyia Petraki

Based on real letters, Bella is an honest account of a woman’s life in 1980s Greece. Magnificent storytelling and an unforgettable central performance from Elena Topalidou.


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