The 30 Best Short Films Of 2021

Close-Up Culture pick our 30 favourite short films of 2021.

30. Round & Round – Talia Pasqua and Simeon Pratt

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A group of seasoned roller derby players give a glimpse into life’s incurable tendency to define one’s individual identity through the pursuit of passion.

29. Enjoy – Saul Abraham

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As Michael seeks novel ways to halt his spiralling depression, a moment of hope arrives via an unexpected source.

28. North Pole – Marija Apcevska

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Margo belongs to neither the misty field nor the crowded locker room. Maybe if she loses her virginity, she will finally find her place.

27. From My Window – Frank Pickell

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An ambitious young girl with cerebral palsy aims to journey up Colorado’s highest mountains.

26. Trumpets In The Sky – Rakan Mayasi

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Boushra, one of the potato-picking girls, returns from a long day of work in the field only to learn that today her childhood will come to an end.

25. Safe – Ian Barling

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On a winter night in Atlantic City, the manager of a defunct casino must reckon with his parental failures when his unruly son needs help out of an illicit bind.

24. Chicken Skin – Hadi Kouhbor

Chicken Skin Hadi Kouhbor

When guests abandon Maryam’s mother’s funeral reception due to power outages, she finds herself overwhelmed and discovers an overwhelming truth.

23. August Sky – Jasmin Tenucci


As the Amazon burns for the seventeenth day, a nurse in Sao Paulo finds herself drawn to a neo-Pentecostal church.

22. In The Soil – Casper Kjeldsen

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Karoline’s life is turned upside down when her father starts digging a pit in their backyard.

21. Post Office – Courtney Loo & David Karp

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When a Chinese-American mother and her children come upon a seemingly abandoned little girl, their attempts to help have unforeseen consequences.

20. Descente (4 AM) – Mehdi Fikri

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After the Paris terror attacks, a policewoman helps colleagues to conduct a search, but soon finds out that things aren’t going as planned.

19. Takeover – Emma Francis-Snyder

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In 1970, a group of young Puerto Rican activists took over a decrepit hospital in New York City, launching a battle for their lives, their community, and healthcare for all.

18. Brutalia, Days Of Labour – Manolis Mavris

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Mavris’ film poses the question: What would happen if we replaced bees with humans?

17. Branka – K. Kovacs Akos

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A worker becomes concerned when she notices newborn babies disappearing from a state hospital in Yugoslavia.

16. Baltasar – Brietta Hague

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Hague’s short follows a Senegalese worker as he tries to make a living in Barcelona.

15. Displaced – Samir Karahoda

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In post-war Kosovo, two local table tennis players wander from one obscure location to another.

14. Aguilas – Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and Maite Zubiaurre

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This documentary follows a group of volunteers who try to recover the missing from the desert border in Arizona .

13. The Right Words – Adrian Moyse Dullin

Pressured by his older sister, Mahdi declares his love to his crush.

12. Noir-Soleil – Marie Larrive

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A father and daughter embark on an emotional trip to Italy for a DNA test.

11. Lili Alone – Zou Jing

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A young mother heads for the city to earn money for her dying father.

10. Hair Tie, Egg, Homework Books – Luo Runxiao

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A model student in her elementary school, 11-year-old Lin Yuqi is assigned to give a speech about her family at parent’s evening.

9. You Can’t Automate Me – Katarina Jazbec

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A look at the people who risk their lives every day at the port of Rotterdam.

8. The Visit – Morrie Tan

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Tan’s animated short tells the story of a daughter’s trips to visit her father in prison.

7. Play It Safe – Mitch Kalisa

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Coaxed into playing a racial typecast in a fellow student’s play, Jonathan is faced to either challenge prejudice, or play it safe.

6. Censor Of Dreams – Leo Berne and Raphaël Rodriguez

Censor of dremas 4

Night after night the Censor and his team mould Yoko’s memories into fantastical dreams.

5. In Flow Of Words – Eliane Esther Bots

In Flow of Words

A short about the experiences of three interpreters of the Yugoslavia Tribunal in The Hague.

4. The Last Day Of Patriarchy – Olmo Omerzu

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Pregnant Nina faces an terrible decision when she visits the deathbed of her partner’s grandfather.

3. Naya – Sebastian Mulder

Mulder’s short follows Naya, the first wolf in Belgium in a hundred years.

2. Frimas – Marianne Farley

An anti-abortion law forces Kara into a desperate situation.

1. Leylak – Scott Aharoni and Dennis Latos

In New York, a gravedigger struggles to face a shattering truth.

The Best Short Film Performances Of 2021