As 2022 comes to an end, Close-Up Culture name our best short films of the year.
50. Daddy’s Girl – Lena Hudson
A young woman’s charming but overbearing father helps her move out of her wealthy, older boyfriend’s apartment.
49. The Sentence of Michael Thompson – Kyle Thrash and Haley Elizabeth Anderson
Michael Thompson is the longest serving non-violent offender in Michigan history and this year he is finally up for clemency. The film follows Michael’s daughter Rashawnda and his lawyer Kim during the fight for clemency and examines the harm the war on drugs has caused on communities.
48. Canker – Lin Tu
As the flashy life of the influencer 33 gets crazier, the canker sore inside her lower lip keeps growing larger.
47. Beben – Rudolf Fitzgerald-Leonard
After a water therapy session for his chronic spasms, Leon is involved in an incident that slowly changes all aspects of his life.
46. It’s Nice In Here – Robert-Jonathan Koeyers
A fragmented portrait of a moment seen through the subjective memories of a young Black girl, Imani, and a rookie police officer, David, who both have different recollections of the same fateful moment that will alter their lives forever.
45. Simo – Aziz Zoromba
Simo and Emad’s brotherhood is filled with competition and jealousy. In a desire to prove his popularity and his capabilities to his older brother, Simo sneakily takes over Emad’s online gaming channel. His actions take a dangerous turn that may seriously impact the future of their family.
44. Nazabazi – Maryam Tafakory
Found footage collage that pieces together a history of intimacy in Iranian post-revolution cinema where depictions of physical contact are prohibited.
43. Snow In September – Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir
Davka is a teenager who lives in the decaying Soviet buildings in Ulaanbaatar. With his classmate, Anuka, they talk about manga and tease each other about sex. When Davka encounters an older woman, his ideas about intimacy and his view of relationships are forced to change.
42. The Melting Creatures – Diego Céspede
Nataly, a trans woman, is visiting her ex lover Leon with her daughter Secreto. Leon is living in a mysterious community hiding from the sun: these reunions will remind Nataly the memory of a toxic and abusive relationship.
41. Enloquecer – Hector Prats
After losing her lead actor at the last minute, a music video director goes to extreme measures to get her new talent to perform, pushing her team and the whole production to the brink of madness.
40. Starfuckers – Antonio Marziale
An intimate evening between a film director and an escort is disrupted when a familiar face arrives.
39. Night Light – Kim Torres
Ale, a seventeen-year-old woman, lives in rural Costa Rica with her two younger siblings. Through landscapes fueled by silence, resentment, and brief moments of joy, Ale will try to protect them from the seething truth: their mother has left them and is not coming back.
38. Moshari – Nuhash Humayun
The end of the world forces two sisters together, inside a mosquito net, just to survive—but first, they must survive each other.
37. July. – Mauritz Brekke Solberg
When Tarjei meets his old friends during the summer, years after high school, a childish game develops into a morality play and Tarjei involuntarily witnesses his and his friends’ shortcomings.
36. Manta Ray – Anton Bialas
Three characters in search of liberating breaches in an authoritarian Paris, on the verge of implosion. Each crafts a situation where suffocated screams can uprise and reality be distorted into new horizons.
35. Christopher At Sea – Tom CJ Brown
Christopher embarks on a transatlantic voyage as a passenger on a cargo ship. His hopes of finding out what lures so many men to sea sets him on a journey into solitude, fantasy and obsession.
34. Flowers – Dumas Haddad
An afro-futuristic fairytale of love, following a ceremony of a mother giving away her son, adopting references to classic Disney stories from the 1930s-50s, modernising tropes for a coming-of-age tale.
33. The Last Days of August – Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck and Robert Machoian
Using the photo book aesthetic, filmmakers Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck and Robert Machoian explore some nearly abandoned prairie towns of Nebraska and meditate on the blurred lines between still photography and cinema.
32. The Moisture – Turan Haste
Ishak, a teacher serving in Anatolia, is solving the issue of child custody with his ex-wife, while at the same time struggling with Yusuf, a mischievous student who makes Ishak deviate from his ideals, to assert his authority.
31. Happy New Year, Jim – Andrea Gatopoulos
It’s New Year’s Eve. Jim and Morten are playing video games all night long, like every day. But Morten tonight is uncomfortable.
30. Oyakodon – Roxy Shih
The story of Mama, a Japanese woman who emigrated to the U.S to create a better life for her daughter. A single mother who operates a noodle shop, she struggles to keep her traditions and her restaurant in a rapidly changing world.
29. Potemkinistii – Radu Jude
In 1905, the sailors on the battleship Potemkin are given political asylum in Romania – an act of defiance against Russia. In 2021, a sculptor (Alexandru Dabija) wants to create artwork inspired by the event.
28. Please Hold The Line – Tan Ce Ding
A young scam call operator is thrust into a moral dilemma.
27. Fire At The Lake – Pierre Menahem
A high mountain hamlet, early summer. Félix comes down from the pastures where he’s guarding his cows and finds his old mother lying lifeless on her bed. Shaken, he runs off. He drives a few miles in the valley to the house of a young man who just contacted him on a dating app.
26. I Have No Legs, and I Must Run – Yue Li
A major athlete has an injury and a talented new recruit raises the specter of jealousy.
25. I Am Whole – Bianca Poletti
A coming of age story about the pressures of growing up too fast.
24. Finding Gulo – Colin Arisman and Tyler Wilkinson-Ray
Finding Gulo follows a backcountry ski guide & field biologist who attempts to document an elusive population of wolverines in Washington’s Cascade Range.
23. ZAFAR – Aqsa Altaf & John X. Carey
A Pakistani immigrant juggles demanding ride share customers while talking on the phone to his mother.
22. Haulout – Evgenia Arbugaeva and Maxim Arbugaev
A man is waiting in his hut in the desolate expanse of the Russian Arctic. He is holding out in order to observe a natural event that occurs here, every year. But ocean warming is taking its toll.
21. A Nice Little Film About A Nice Little Death – Julia Mendoza Friedman
A first-person love letter to history, inheritance, and the clumsiness of grieving.
20. Tuesday Afternoon – by Pete Quandt
After 33 years in federal prison, 22 of which were spent in extreme solitary confinement, Jack Powers embarks into a modern world, journeying across the Northeast to start a new life.
19. Chords – Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren
Rita belongs to a women’s choir which is in danger of breaking up because they’ve lost the municipal subsidy that allowed them renting their rehearsal room. Now the group has to decide whether or not to accept sponsorship by one of the companies causing the most pollution in the valley.
18. Gwafi – by Peter Ferris Rosati
A film based on real events of loss and reincarnation.
17. Burial Of Life As A Young Girl – Maïté Sonnet
Axelle is having the worst day of her life: while she is recovering badly from a break-up, she has to go to her sister’s bachelorette party in a ghostly spa in the mountains. Fortunately, among the guests, there is Marguerite. Through one gaze, love is awakened again.
16. Long Line of Ladies – Rayka Zehtabchi and Shaandiin Tome
Long Line of Ladies intimately observes the months-long process of one girl, her family, and their tight-knit Karuk community as they come together to prepare for her Ihuk, the coming-of-age ceremony for girls.
15. Maria Schneider, 1983 – Elisabeth Subrin
In 1983, Maria Schneider gives an interview for the TV show Cinéma Cinémas. The conversation takes an unexpected turn when she challenges film industry practices and is asked to talk about the controversial film Last Tango in Paris (1972).
14. Dress A Cow – by Dawn Luebbe
A documentary that spotlights a 38-year tradition, the “Dress A Cow” event at Ohio’s Canfield County Fair. A meditation on bovine beauty, it reminds us that putting pants on a cow is not like putting pants on a person.
13. A Shore Away – Gaëlle Graton
Newly employed in an emergency shelter for people experiencing homelessness, Genevieve is shocked to meet again with with Camille, a young woman whom she believed to have successfully reinserted while being her social worker.
12. Scale – Joseph Pierce
Driving along the motorway, Will loses his sense of scale. As his condition deepens, he struggles to unpick the sequence of events that led to this predicament, before he’s lost forever.
11. Lay Me By The Shore – David Findlay
Lay Me by the Shore follows a week in the life of Noah, a high school senior in his final days of school as he comes to terms with his best friend’s passing.
10. Swan In The Centre – Iris Chassaigne
In a deserted shopping center, Swan, a junior consultant, navigates the empty hallways in search of clients and salespeople willing to participate in her survey. As days and encounters go by, desire gets in her way.
9. Second Shot – Andrew Michael Ellis
Second Shot investigates the complexities the US parole process through the lens of one of New York’s most notorious murders of the early 90’s: a shootout on Christmas night during a screening of Godfather III.
8. Notice Me – Kurt Schneider
Becky looks up from her phone and her world changes forever.
7. Not Dark Yet – Bonnie Moir
Confined to his room in an aged care facility, an elderly man with a debilitating disease struggles with his son’s abrupt departure.
6. Will My Parents Come To See Me – Mo Harawe
An experienced Somali policewoman once again accompanies a young inmate through the procedures of the Somali justice system.
5. Left Over – by David N. Drake
Nel packs up her late father’s home while simultaneously unpacking memories of their volatile relationship.
4. Neighbour Abdi – Douwe Dijkstra
How can you understand a violent past? Somali-born Abdi is a furniture designer and support worker. He reenacts his life, marked by war and criminality, with the help of his neighbour and filmmaker Douwe.
3. AirHostess-737 – Thanasis Neofotistos
A troublesome new set of orthodontics is just one of the factors that provoke a midair crisis for a flight attendant.
2. Will You Look At Me – Shuli Huang
As a young Chinese filmmaker returns to his hometown in search of himself, a long-due conversation with his mother dives the two of them into a quest for acceptance and love.
1. A Better Half – Marco Calvani
A chronically depressed and emotionally devoid man wrestles with his past trauma and poor mental health as an outcome of abuse as a young boy. He meets with the person he believes is the root of these troubles, and confronts him in a striking, powerful and gut-wrenching way.