The 30 Best Short Film Performances Of 2021

Close-Up Culture reveal our 30 favourite short film performances of 2021.

30. Dennis Pinheiro – Neon Phantom

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Pinheiro leads a talented cast in this musical short.

29. Sofia Elena Borsani – Über Wasser

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Jela Hasler’s short follows Eli (Sofia Elena Borsani) as she tries to escape the narrowness and agitation of the city.

28. Steve Laplante – Like The Ones I Used To Know

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Laplante gives a touching performance as a deflated man picking up his children from his former in-laws’ house at Christmas. A special mention also for young Lilou Roy-Lanouette.

27. Li Chao and Hu Jie – Girl With A Thermal Gun

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Li Chao and Hu Jie are delightful in this musical short.

26. Antonija Belazelkoska – North Pole

North Pole by Marija Apchevska

Belazelkoska plays Margo, a teenager who is struggling to find their place.

25. Motiejus Aškelovičius and Neringa Varnelyte – Techno, Mama

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Aškelovičius and Varnelyte capture the tense relationship between a mother and her techno-loving son.

24. Deanna Gibson – Wiggle Room

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Gibson is fantastic as a young woman who confronts the shady insurance agent who owes her money.

23. Jeanne Rosa – Descente (4 AM)

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Rosa plays a policewoman who realises something is wrong with her colleagues’ late night raid.

22. Hussina Raja – Junior Messenger

Junior Messenger Azeem Bhati

Raja gives a moving performance as a young doctor delivering unfortunate phonecalls.

21. Aesha Balasem – Tala’vision

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Balasem is fantastic as a young girl who finds freedom in a forbidden TV.

20. Will Patton – Safe

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Patton’s character must reckon with his parental failures when his unruly son gets in trouble once again.

19. Rose Byrne – Shark

Byrne is brilliant in Nash Edgerton’s entertaining short.

18. Damien Bonnard – Censor Of Dreams

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Bonnard portrays the Censor, who is in charge of constructing an emotionally-suppressed woman’s dreams.

17. Yasser Osmani – The Right Words

Young Osamni captures all the stresses of youth in this amusing short.

16. Sheri Hagen and Melodie Wakivuamina – I Am

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Jerry Hoffman’s riveting sci-fi short features two excellent lead performances.

15. Safa Tarifi – Are You Still There?

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Tarifi captures the frustrations of someone stranded alone in a parking lot.

14. Sandra Guldberg Kampp – In The Soil

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Kampp plays a young woman who becomes increasingly disturbed by her dad’s digging.

13. Badu Morais – August Sky

Morais plays a nurse in Sao Paulo who finds herself drawn to a neo-Pentecostal church.

12. Dina Musanovic – Branka

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Musanovic’s character uncovers an unsettling truth in K. Kovacs Akos’ short.

11. Terry Hu – Americanized

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Hu plays a young woman who struggles to find a sense of belonging within the two worlds that don’t accept her.

10. Caitlin Taylor – Lucid

Lucid Deanna Milligan Short Film

Taylor is a captivating force in Deanna Milligan’s quirky short.

9. Himesh Patel – Enjoy

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Patel plays a man trying to halt his spiralling depression in Saul Abraham’s short.

8. Sandra Guldberg Kampp – Inherent

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Kampp’s intriguing performance leads Nicolai G.H. Johansen’s mysterious short.

7. Julie Zhan – Post Office

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Zhan gives a thoughtful lead performance alongside two wonderful child actors.

6. Jonathan Ajayi – Play It Safe

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Ajayi gives an unforgettable performance in Play It Safe.

5. Karine Gonthier-Hyndman – Frimas

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Gonthier-Hyndman is tremendous as a woman who is forced to go to great lengths to get an abortion. The short also features a great performance from Chantal Baril.

4. Babou Cham – Baltasar

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Cham plays a Senegalese worker who meets resistance as he tries to make a living in Barcelona.

3. Nadir Saribacak – Leylak

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Sariback and young Isabella Haddock are tremendous in this heart-wrenching short.

2. Eliska Krenkova – The Last Day Of Patriarchy


Olmo Omerzu’s striking film sees Krenkova shine as a woman put in an uncomfortable position when visiting her partner’s grandfather.

1. Annie Hamilton – Sealed With A Kiss

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Hamilton’s terrific performance leads Luka Wilson’s short about loss.

The 30 Best Short Films Of 2021


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