Top Five Shorts of 2018

Top Five Shorts of 2018

Compiled by Laurence Boyce

Given that the world of short film often defines itself as one that is open to experimentation and inclusivity alongside a plurality of modes of expression, the idea of a “Top Five” list of short films in any given year seems somewhat anathema as short films resist the ranking and codification of the mainstream. Yet, at a time of year when “Best Of (insert year here),” it seems a shame that all that are (mostly) talked about are feature films.

This list of top shorts of 2018 is meant to somewhat redress that balance as those on the forefront of the short film industry — including those from the likes of Cannes, Berlin, Venice, and Toronto — share their favorite shorts of the past year. The list is not meant to provide an objective “Best of” (indeed, even referring it to as “Top Shorts” seems slightly confrontational), but instead gives people a snapshot of those films that struck a chord amongst the respondents. More than 30 participants chose over 110 films, reflecting the diversity that still keeps the short film so rich and vital.

All that said, there were some films that clearly have become firm favorites amongst everyone. Jeremy Comte’s stunning “Fauvre” was chosen by almost a third of the respondents while “This Magnificent Cake!,” the brilliant re-imaging of colonial history, and relatively new documentary “All Inclusive” were also popular. Although these are three very different films, they each show how shorts can resonate with people across the world.

In previous forms this list concentrated solely on European shorts, with 2018 being the first year that the list was open up to films from any country. The compiler recognizes that the list of respondents is still heavily biased towards Europe and the West with Africa, Latin America, and Asia being sorely underrepresented. Rest assured that for future editions of this list, hard work will be put in to rectify this current imbalance.

So, enjoy this delve into some of the shorts that made an impact in 2018 and will continue to do so as 2019 rolls on.

A few caveats before the list begins:

Each respondent was given a choice of five films. No ranking was required.

Release dates are especially fluid in the short film world. Respondents were asked to choose films that “Came to prominence in 2018.” Exactly what that meant remained under each individual’s purview.

Each list remains the choice of the individuals who responded, and does not necessarily reflect that of the organizations they work for.

“Solar Walk” (Réka Bucsi)

Maike Mia Höhne (Curator Berlinale Shorts, Berlin International Film Festival, www.berlinale.de)

“Solar Walk” (Dir. Réka Bucsi, 2018, Denmark/Hungary)

Réka Bucsi, one of the most important and exciting animation artists today, takes on new worlds in “Solar Walk.” In this work, she recalls the liberating effects of automatic writing — a possibility to activate the unconscious, spontaneous, dreamlike, and repressed elements of human inspiration. Flags are planted. Hands are held. Every action is only then meaningful when something is truly created or when one is really taking care of someone else. Every action is only existent from the perspective of the individual itself.

“Skip Day” (Dirs. Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan, 2018, USA)

Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan have been working with the community of Pahokee, Florida for years. They have become a part of the lives of the people they portray — and show us their world from the inside perspective, an intimate view, always with respect and admiration for the protagonists. It is often young people in front of their lens — a young America, a new generation, looking to the future. The duo’s award-winning short film “The Rabbit Hunt” was shown at Berlinale Shorts 2017, and I have been following their work ever since. In January, Ivete and Patrick will premiere their feature Pahokee at Sundance.

“Russa” (Dirs. João Salaviza and Ricardo Alves Jr., 2018, Portugal/Brazil)

A comment on displacement and the housing crisis — a topic that is affecting us all. We are visiting the neighborhood of Bairro do Aleixo in Porto, where two high-rise buildings are about to be torn down. Russa is one of those who are now forced to move out. Fresh out of prison, she has nowhere else to go. What is about to come? João Salaviza is one of the most prominent, remarkable voices of contemporary Portuguese cinema.

“Mountain Plain Mountain” (Dirs. Daniel Jacoby and Araki Yu, 2018, Spain/The Netherlands/Japan)

Another duo – Daniel Jacoby and Yu Araki. Their film is an ode to Ban’ei horse races in Japan. Images, light, binoculars — their examination of tradition is both immersive and contemplative. The filmmakers observe and, at the same time, question the limits of the documentary form.

“The Men Behind the Wall” (Dir. Inés Moldavsky, 2018, Israel)

Winner of the Golden Bear for Best Short Film 2018. Tinder. Woman seeks men. Man seeks women. Everything could be so simple if she weren’t in Israel, and the suggested men to meet weren’t on the other side of the wall, in the West Bank. Israeli filmmaker Inés Moldavsky crosses boundaries — and makes herself the subject of her investigation. A bold voice.

“The Men Behind the Wall” (Inés Moldavsky)

Enrico Vannucci (Short Film Advisor at Venice Film Festival — labiennale.org, Short Film Programmer at Torino Short Film Market — tsfm.centrodelcorto.it, Managing Director at Varicoloured — varicoloured.eu)

“I’m Going Out for Cigarettes” [Je sors acheter des cigarettes] (Dir. Osman Cerfon, 2018, France)

“Love’s Circus” [Circo do Amor] (Dir. Miguel Clara Vasconcelos, 2018, Portugal)

“Patision Avenue” [Leoforos Patision] (Dir. Thanasis Neofotistos, 2018, Greece)

“The Men Behind the Wall” (Dir. Inés Moldavsky, 2018, Israel)

“Where Are We Heading” [Le sens de la marche] (Dir. Jela Hasler, 2018, Switzerland)

“Translations” (Tinne Zenner)

Per Fikse (Director — Minimalen Short Film Festival, Trondheim — www.minimalen.com)

“Fauve” (Dir. Jeremy Comte, 2018, Canada)

“All Inclusive” (Dir. Corina Schwingruber Ilić, 2018, Switzerland)

“Translations” [Nutsigassat] (Dir. Tinne Zenner, 2018, Canada/Denmark)

“Flame “[Polte] (Dir. Sami van Ingen, 2018, Finland)

“This Magnificent Cake!” [Ce Magnifique Gâteau!] (Dirs. Emma De Swaef and Marc Roels, 2018, Belgium/France/The Netherlands)

“Between Relating and Use” (Nazli Dinçel)

Lydia Beilby (Short Film Programmer, Edinburgh International Film Festival, www.edfilmfest.org.uk)

“Ayesha” (Dir. Yanyu Dong, 2017, India / China / USA)

Memory and myth intertwine to dazzling effect in this performative re-staging of episodes from the life of the filmmaker’s mother, once a star of Bollywood cinema.

“Between Relating and Use” (Dir. Nazli Dinçel, 2018, Argentina, USA)

The body as a sensual and political landscape, with tactile images of the human form overlaid with text, laser printed onto the 16mm filmstrip, as if etched directly onto the skin.

“Monument: Parts One and Two” (Dir. Tom Chick, 2018, UK)

A tapestry of beautifully observed images and fragments of sound. Everyday moments are presented as both delicate and precious, and a parallel is drawn between the wonder at the advent of early cinema, and the birth of a child.

“Riot Not Diet” (Dir. Julia Fuhr Mann, 2018, Germany)

Public space is claimed and provocatively inhabited by queer bodies that confront the dominant norms mainstream society holds in relation to beauty and the physical form.

“Sunstone” (Dirs. Filipa César and Louis Henderson, 2017, France/Portugal/Brazil)

The relationship between vision and knowledge, light and enlightenment, is investigated through the lenses of optical technologies, 3D CGI imagery and 16mm analogue cinematography.

“Fry Day” (Dir. Laura Moss)

James McNally (Director, Shorts That Are Not Pants, www.shortsnotpants.com)

“Souls of Totality” (Dir. Richard Raymond, 2018, USA/UK)

“Fry Day” (Dir. Laura Moss, 2017, USA)

“Mixtape Marauders” (Dir. Peter Edlund, 2017, USA)

“Fauve” (Dir. Jeremy Comte, 2018, Canada)

“Magic Alps” (Dirs. Andrea Brusa and Marco Scotuzzi, 2018, Italy)

“Gede Vizyon” (Jefferson Kielwagen, Marcos Serafim, and Steevens Simeon)

Neil Young (Journalist-Reviewer/Programmer-Curator/Moderator; Hollywood Reporter, Sight & Sound, European Film Festival Palić, Viennale etc.)

“Gede Vizyon” (Dirs. Jefferson Kielwagen, Marcos Serafim, and Steevens Simeon, 2018, Haiti/Brazil)

“Lost & Found” (Dirs. Andrew Goldsmith and Bradley Slabe, 2018, Australia)

“Maskirovka” (Dir. Tobias Zielony, 2018, Germany/Ukraine)

“Sec Rouge” (Dirs. Kate Tessa Lee and Tom Schön, 2018, Germany)

“The Houses We Were” [Le case che eravamo] (Dir. Arianna Lodeserto, 2018, Italy)

“Prisoner of Society” (Rati Tsiteladze)

Christoffer Olofsson (Program Director, Uppsala International Short Film Festival www.shortfilmfestival.com)

A fistful of films that broke through the hardened exterior of a seasoned professional.

Caution: sensitive short film viewers may find “Terror Nullius” (Dir. Soda_Jerk, 2018, Australia) containing too much intense material to be included in this kind of list. At 55 minutes, in my mind it’s the short film version of a triple grindhouse bill mashed up into one all-nighter mega trip and a miraculous creation that keeps slipping in and out of the cracks between set genres, gnawing away at rigid time limits as well as at most other boundaries you can think of.

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming:

“Skip Day” (Dir. Patrick Bresnan and Ivete Lucas, 2018, USA)

“Caucasus” [Kaukazas] (Dir. Laurynas Bareisa, 2018, Lithuania)

“Prisoner of Society” (Dir. Rati Tsiteladze, 2018 Georgia)

“The Cup Is Already Filling Up” (Dir. Debora Elgeholm, 2018, Sweden)

“This My Favorite Mural” (Dir. Michael Arcos, 2018, USA)

“Our Song to War” (Juanita Onzaga)

Marcin Łuczaj (Acquisitions at New Europe Film Sales [www.neweuropefilmsales.com] and Programmer at Zubroffka Short Film Festival [www.zubroffka.pl])

“Tremors” (Dir. Dawid Bodzak, 2018, Poland)

“This Magnificent Cake!” [Ce Magnifique Gâteau!] (Dirs. Emma De Swaef and Marc Roels, 2018, Belgium/France/The Netherlands)

“Our Song to War” (Dir. Juanita Onzaga, 2018, Columbia/Belgium)

“Solar Walk” (Dir. Réka Bucsi, 2018, Denmark/Hungary)

“Fauve” (Dir. Jeremy Comte, 2018, Canada)

“Vihta” (François Bierry)

Heinz Hermanns  (Festival Director, CEO interfilm Berlin — International Short Film Festival and Distribution/Kuki, www.interfilm.de )

“Per tutta la vita” (Dir. Roberto Catani, 2018, Italy)

Amazing, creative, and well-done 2D painted animation — a flowing of memories.

“Guaxuma” (Dir. Nara Normande, 2018, Brazil/France)

Fantastic mix of ideas and techniques.

“Birth Place” (Dirs. Jorik Dozy and Sil van der Woerd , 2018, Indonesia)

Wonderful underwater camera showing the destruction of the oceans by plastic in a very special way.

“Vihta” (Dir. François Bierry, 2018, Belgium)

Great comedy with great actors showing the reality of modern society and relations at work.

“Bendito Machine VI: Carry On” (Dir. Jossie Malis, 2018, Spain/France)

Jossie Malis developed his own style to analyze society from the point of view of aliens.

“Egg” (Martina Scarpelli)

Carmen Gray (Freelance Film Critic, Short Film Festival Winterthur Programmer)

“The Fall” [La Chute] (Dir. Boris Labbé, 2018, France)

“Prisoner of Society” (Dir. Rati Tsiteladze, 2018, Georgia)

“The Lovetts” (Dir. Igor Bezinović, 2018, Croatia)

“Bigger Than Life” (Dir. Adnan Softić, 2018, Macedonia/Italy/Germany)

“Egg” (Dir. Martina Scarpelli, 2018, Denmark/France)

“The Imminent Immanent” (Carlo Francisco Manatad)

Molly Cowderoy (Programmer — Leeds International Film Festival, www.leedsfilmcity.com)

“Fauve” (Dir. Jeremy Comte, 2018, Canada)

“The Imminent Immanent” (Dir. Carlo Francisco Manatad, 2018, Philippines/Singapore/Italy)

“All These Creatures” (Dir. Charles Williams, 2018, Australia)

“The Field” (Dir. Sandhya Suri, 2018, UK/India/France)

“Caroline” (Dirs. Logan George and Celine Held, 2018, USA)

“Petit Daguerre” (Leandro Listorti)

Eddy Baez (Freelance Film Critic — misseddybaez.wixsite.com/news)

“Julio Iglesias’ House” [La casa de Julio Iglesias] (Dir. Natalia Marín, 2018, Spain)

“Gulyabani” (Dir. Gürcan Keltek, 2018, Netherlands/Turkey)

“Reconstruction” [Rekonstrukce] (Dirs. Jiří Havlíček and Ondřej Novák, 2017, Czech Republic)

“Petit Daguerre” (Dir. Leandro Listorti, 2018, Argentina)

“Between Relating and Use” (Dir. Nazli Dinçel, 2018, Argentina/USA)

“Neko No Hi” (Jon Frickey)

Sven Schwarz (Administrative Director at the Hamburg International Short Film Festival [festival.shortfilm.com] and Member of A Wall Is a Screen [www.awallisascreen.com])

“Mountain Plain Mountain” (Dirs. Yu Araki and Daniel Jacob, 2018, Japan/Netherlands)

A film about horseracing, just without any horses. Sounds strange? No, it’s not, but then again, it is, but in a sometimes hilarious way!

“Brotherhood” (Dir. Meryam Joobeur, 2018, Canada/Tunisia)

A rare gem in conventional (am I allowed to say this?) short fiction, with a great cast and a wonderful closeness to the subject.

“Neko No Hi” [Cat Days] (Dir. Jon Frickey, 2018, Germany)

It’s sometimes really great if a film does work well with young and grown-up audiences. Cat Days certainly does and is also a really beautiful work of animation.

“What Is love” (Dir. Anna Franceschini, 2017, Italy)

No one knew that safety-proofing toys could be such a funny (and very German) thing.

“Taking Stock” (Dir. Duncan Cowles, 2017, UK)

The struggle of making ends meet as a filmmaker sometimes leads to taking stock, and who else could describe the struggle better than Duncan Cowles?

“Swatted” (Ismaël Joffroy Chandoutis)

Simon Ellis (Filmmaker, www.simonellisfilms.com)

“All Inclusive” (Dir: Corina Schwingruber Ilić, 2018, Switzerland)

“Swatted” (Dir. Ismaël Joffroy Chandoutis, 2018, France)

“Amor” (Dir. Isabel Lamberti, 2017, Netherlands)

“Second Best” (Dir. Alyssa McClelland, 2017, Australia)

“Prisoner of Society” (Dir. Rati Tsiteladze, 2018, Georgia)

“Bloeistraat 11” (Nienke Deutz)

Niels Putman (Administrator, Short Film Conference, http://shortfilmconference.com/)

“Fauve” (Dir. Jeremy Comte, 2018, Canada)

“The Orphan” [O órfão] (Dir. Carolina Markowitz, 2018, Brazil)

“Prisoner of Society” (Dir. Rati Tsiteladze, 2018, Georgia)

“Bloeistraat 11” (Dir. Nienke Deutz, 2018, Belgium/Netherlands)

“All Inclusive” (Dir. Corina Schwingruber Ilić, 2018, Switzerland)

“Bigger Than Life” (Adnan Softic)

Emilia Mazik and Szymon Stemplewski (Festival Director and Founder of Short Waves Festival, www.shortwaves.pl/en)

“III” (Dir. Marta Pajek, 2018, Poland)

“Allen Anders: Live at the Comedy Castle – Circa 1987” (Dir. Laura Moss, 2018, USA)

“Bigger Than Life” (Dir. Adnan Softic, 2018, Macedonia/Italy/Germany)

“Hector Malot: The Last Day of the Year” (Dir. Jacqueline Lentzou, 2018, Greece)

“I Signed the Petition” (Dir. Mahdi Fleifel, 2018, United Kingdom/Germany/Switzerland)

“Taking Stock” (Duncan Cowles)

Matt Lloyd (Director, Glasgow Short Film Festival [www.glasgowfilm.org/gsff])

“Edgecombe” (Dir. Crystal Kayiza, 2018, USA)

An impressionistic documentary triptych of characters within an Afro-American community, and the lingering ghosts of slavery and Jim Crow, this was understated yet lyrical, and continued to resonate on repeat viewings

“III” (Dir. Marta Pajek, 2018, Poland)

More stripped down and stark than “II,” Marta’s previous offering in the “Impossible Figures and Other Stories” trilogy. But a beautiful soup of sex and dread and aging bodies and Einstürzende Neubauten.

“Self Destructive Boys” (Dirs. André Santos and Marco Leão, 2018, Portugal)

I adored this sexy little film. Languorous and sultry, sensitively directed with just the right amount of suggestion, and with quietly epic character arcs that are convincingly performed.

“Solar Walk” (Dir. Réka Bucsi, 2018, Denmark/Hungary)

After an abortive attempt to stage the full-length live orchestral version in Glasgow, the following might sound like sour grapes, but I think this 21-minute version is better. A typically funny, disturbing, luscious dreamscape.

“Taking Stock” (Dir. Duncan Cowles, 2017, Scotland)

Big Dunc is one of those unfortunately funny people who bares their soul for others to laugh at. Yes, “Taking Stock” is hilarious, but it’s also a cry for help from an artist clinging precariously onto his place in the gig economy. Or something like that. So tired. So very, very tired.

“Judgement” (Raymund Ribay Gutierrez)

Cord Dueppe (Head of Sales, interfilm Berlin Distribution, Sales and Acquisition, https://www.interfilm.de/en/sales/)

“Detainment” (Dir. Vincent Lambe, Ireland, 2018)

“Fauve” (Dir. Jeremy Comte, 2018, Canada)

“Judgement” (Dir. Raymund Ribay Gutierrez, Philippines, 2018)

“Wildebeest” (Dir. Nicolas Keppens and Matthias Phlips, Belgium, 2017)

“The Field” (Dir. Sandhya Suri, 2018, UK/India/France)

“The Song” (Tiphaine Raffier)

Catherine Bray (Commissioner, Channel 4’s Random Acts Short Film Strand, https://www.channel4.com/programmes/random-acts)

“This Magnificent Cake!” [Ce Magnifique Gâteau!] (Dirs. Emma De Swaef and Marc Roels, 2018, Belgium/France/The Netherlands)

“The Song” [La Chanson] (Dir. Tiphaine Raffier, 2018, France)

“III” (Dir. Marta Pajek, 2018, Poland)

“The Other” [Inny] (Dir. Marta Magnuska, 2018, Poland)

“Schächer” (Dir. Flurin and Silvan Giger, 2018, Switzerland)

“I Signed the Petition” (Mahdi Fleifel)

Insa Wiese (Artistic Director, International Short Film Week Regensburg [www.kurzfilmwoche.de])

“Fauve” (Dir. Jeremy Comte, 2018, Canada)

Placed in a wonderful and, at the same time, frightening landscape, this timeless and actually quite simple story develops into a real tragedy. A movie that gets under your skin.

“Swatted” (Dir. Ismaël Joffroy Chandoutis, 2018, France)

A frightening, intense portrayal of a phenomenon from the gaming scene depicted with its own means.

“Bigger Than Life” (Dir. Adnan Softic, 2018, Macedonia/Italy/Germany)

I am attracted to the film’s clever combination of the various high arts (opera, architecture, poetry) with the representation of how a city tries to create a collective identity. By means of exaggerated images and exaggerated sound, this representation achieves ironic breaks and humor that simply give pleasure to the audience , while also clarifying the tragedy of the situation.

“Egg” (Dir. Martina Scarpelli, 2018, France)

The first film for me that deals with the topic of anorexia in a humorous and, at the same time, poetic way that actually offers a deeper psychological perspective and finds the right form for it.

“I Signed the Petition” (Dir. Mahdi Fleifel, 2018, United Kingdom/Germany/Switzerland)

Like an intimate play without visible people, the emergence of paranoia due to political circumstances that are absurd to me is illustrated here. This situation stands pars pro toto for a multitude of political systems of this world and encourages us to scrutinize them.

“Operation Jane Walk” (Leonhard Müllner and Robin Klengel)

Wouter Jansen (Some Shorts — www.someshorts.com)

Disclaimer: I didn’t include any of the films I work with, although I of course love those. 🙂

“Tungrus” (Dir. Rishi Chandna, 2018, India)

“Operation Jane Walk” (Dirs. Leonhard Müllner and Robin Klengel, 2018, Austria)

“Letters to Adja” [Lettres à Adja] (Dir. Marie-Stéphane Imbert, 2017, France)

“Interregnum” (Dir. Adrian Paci, 2017, Albania, Italy)

“Amor, Avenidas Novas” (Dir. Duarte Coimbra, 2018, Portugal)

“A Room with a Coconut View” (Tulapop Saenjaroen)

John Canciani (Artistic Director, Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur, www.kurzfilmtage.ch)

“A Room with a Coconut View” (Dir. Tulapop Saenjaroen, 2018, Thailand)

“Swatted” (Dir. Ismaël Joffroy Chandoutis, 2018, France)

“Self Destructive Boys” (Dirs. André Santos & Marco Leão, 2018, Portugal)

“The Sisters Jajariju” [Soeurs Jarariju] (Dir. Jorge Cadena, 2018, Switzerland)

“I have Sinned a Rapturous Sin” (Dir. Maryam Takafory, 2018, UK/Iran)

“The Labyrinth” (Laura Huertas Millán)

Andreea Pătru (Film Critic/Programmer at Tenerife Shorts https://tenerifeshorts.com/)

“Horse Riders” [Krzyżoki] (Dir. Anna Gawlita, 2018, Poland)

This almost anthropological depiction of tradition in Eastern Europe is truly authentic and visually stunning. Anna Gawlita depicts the intermingling between the sacred and the profane through the fascinating performance of rituals.    

“The Imminent Immanent” [Baga’t Diri Tuhay Ta’t Pamahungpahung] (Dir. Carlo Francisco Manatad, 2018, Philippines/Singapore/Italy)

A personal mood piece about the absurdity of the quotidian in the face of imminent disaster.

“All Inclusive” (Dir. Corina Schwingruber Ilić, 2018, Switzerland)

An impressive depiction of massification and an intelligent critique of contemporary society through impeccable cinematography in a challenging location.  

“Castle to Castle “[D’un château l’autre] (Dir. Emmanuel Marre, 2018, Belgium/France)

This film explores human connection and offers an empathetic examination of contrasting political views in a divided France.

“The Labyrinth” [El laberinto] (Dir. Laura Huertas Millán, 2018, France/Colombia/USA)

Once again, Laura Huertas Millán builds stories out of ruins, both physical and metaphorical with her trademark experimental visual storytelling.

“Dodgy Dave” (Charlotte Regan)

Philip Ilson (Artistic Director, London Short Film Festival, https://shortfilms.org.uk/ — Short Film Programmer, BFI London Film Festival — https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/lff)

“Vertical Shapes in a Horizontal Landscape” (Dir. Mark Jenkin, 2018, UK)

“Veslemøy’s Song” (Dir. Sofia Bohdanowicz, 2018, Canada)

“Lasting Marks” (Dir. Charlie Lyne, 2018, UK)

“Dodgy Dave” (Dir. Charlotte Regan, 2018, UK)

“Black Sheep” (Ed Perkins, 2018, UK)

“Valea Jiului Notes” (Alexandra Gulea)

Lars Henrik Gass (Director, International Short Film Festival Oberhausen [www.kurzfilmtage.de])

“Arsenic” (Dir. Claire Doyon, 2017, France)

“Kala” (Dir. Jaan Toomik, 2018, Estonia)

“Three Casualties” (Dir. Jens Pecho, 2017, Germany)

“Um filme para Ehuana” (Dir. Louise Botkay, 2018, Brazil)

“Valea Jiului Notes” (Dir. Alexandra Gulea, 2018, Romania)

“Bitchboy” (Måns Berthas)

Gina Dellabarca (Festival Director, Show Me Shorts Film Festival, www.showmeshorts.co.nz)

“Wren Boys” (Dir. Harry Lighton, 2017, UK)

This short film has won awards at festivals around the globe, including Best International Film at Show Me Shorts in New Zealand, which qualifies it for the Oscars. The story about a Catholic priest and his nephew is deeply affecting, surprising, and layered. It’s the work of an accomplished writer/director.

“Fire in Cardboard City” (Dir. Phil Brough, 2017, New Zealand)

This comedic animated short film set in a world made of cardboard has screened around the world and won numerous awards. Irreverent, sharp-witted, and fun. It is currently being made into a children’s TV series.

“Neko No Hi” [Cat Days] (Dir. Jon Frickey, 2018, Germany)

This animated short film tells the story of a sick little boy who is diagnosed as being a cat. The film examines labelling of children in a playful way, providing a pertinent and timely exploration of identity.

“Twenty One Points” (Dir. Pete Circuitt, 2018, New Zealand)

Deftly straddling the difficult terrain of comedy, friendship, and mental health, this short film will soon be making its way around international festivals. It’s a buddy movie about an adult man whose best friend is an imaginary robot. Touching and funny, with impressive CGI animation.

“Bitchboy” (Dir. Måns Berthas, 2016, Sweden)

This short film boldly goes to some pretty dark places. It does so in a matter-of-fact way, with a likeable protagonist in the form of a young goth boy. Easy to see why this short has been winning awards internationally.

“How Fernando Pessoa Saved Portugal” (Eugène Green)

Miguel Dias (Director and Programmer Curtas Vila do Conde — International Film Festival, www.curtas.pt)

“This Magnificent Cake!” [Ce Magnifique Gâteau!] (Dirs. Emma De Swaef and Marc Roels, 2018, Belgium/France/The Netherlands)

“How Fernando Pessoa Saved Portugal” [Como Fernando Pessoa Salvou Portugal] (Dir. Eugène Green, 2018, Portugal/France/Belgium)

“Castle to Castle” [D’un chateau l’autre] (Dir. Emmanuel Marre, 2018, France)

“Gulyabani” (Dir. Gürcan Keltek, 2018, Netherlands/Turkey)

“Apocalypse After” [Ultra Pulpe] (Dir. Bertrand Mandico, 2018, France)

“Souls of Totality” (Richard Raymond)

Simon Young (VP EMEA Acquisitions, Shorts International, www.shorts.tv)

“Chuchotage” [Susotázs] (Dir. Barnabás Tóth, 2018, Hungary)

“La Noria” (Dir. Carlos Baena, 2018, Spain)

“Souls of Totality” (Dir. Richard Raymond, 2018, USA)

“Grounded” (Dir. Rich Peppiatt, 2018, UK)

“Dreaming of Ice Cream” (Dir. Samir Arabzadeh, 2018, Peru/Sweden)

“The Fall” (Boris Labbé)

Daniel Ebner (Director, Vienna Independent Shorts)

“Fauve” (Dir. Jeremy Comte, 2018, Canada)

An incredibly intense and perfectly staged film that won’t let you go after watching it.

“Solar Walk” (Dir. Réka Bucsi, 2018, Denmark/Hungary)

A film like an intellectual stroll, a carefree flotation through space and time, with forms and creatures that are drawn with subtlety and affection.

“The Fall” [La Chute] (Dir. Boris Labbé, 2018, France)

A trajectory from a peaceful paradise replete with dancing figures to a hellish landscape of humanity’s destruction, reminiscent of a painting by Hieronymus Bosch.

“Our Song to War” (Dir. Juanita Onzaga, 2018, Columbia/Belgium)

What is there to life after the end of war? A touching and brilliant film full of wisdom and insight about life.

“Operation Jane Walk” (Dirs. Leonhard Müllner and Robin Klengel, 2018, Austria)

City sightseeing as a computer game: a clever and incredibly entertaining film about the history of urban planning and architecture in New York.

“Hector Malot: Last Day of the Year” (Jacqueline Lentzou)

Tom Grimshaw (London Short Film Festival, https://shortfilms.org.uk)

“Gulyabani” (Dir. Gürcan Keltek, 2018, Turkey)

“Who’s the Daddy? (Dir. Wong Ping, 2018, China)

“Hector Malot: Last Day of the Year” (Dir. Jacqueline Lentzou, 2018, Greece)

“Wishing Well” (Dir. Sylvia Schedelbauer, 2018, Germany)

“Interregnum” (Adrian Paci, 2017, Albania/ Italy)

“Digger” (Kengo Yagawa)

Wim Vanacker (Head of the Script Department — NISI MASA — European Network of Young Cinema, Selection Committee — Official Short Film Competition — Festival de Cannes) (http://www.nisimasa.com/) (https://www.festival-cannes.com/fr/)

“III” (Dir. Marta Pajek, 2018, Poland)

“All These Creatures” (Dir. Charles Williams, 2018, Australia)

“The Silence of the Dying Fish” (Dir. Vasilis Kekatos, 2018, Greece/France)

“Digger” (Dir. Kengo Yagawa, 2017, Japan)

“Wildebeest” (Dirs. Nicolas Keppens and Matthias Phlips, 2018, Belgium)

“Brotherhood” (Meryam Joobeur)

Jason Anderson (Journalist and Short Cuts Programmer, Toronto International Film Festival —  www.tiff.net

“Brotherhood” (Dir. Meryam Joobeur, 2018, Canada)

Hugely impressive drama with the most captivating ensemble of non-professional actors I saw all year (must be all the freckles).

“La Chute” (Dir. Boris Labbé, 2018, France)

An ultra-vivid nightmare that didn’t lose its intensity even after many, many viewings, some of which I was glad to hear very, very loudly.

“Fauve” (Dir. Jeremy Comte, 2018, Canada)

Thrilled to see this boyhood tale get the reception it deserved. Another major breakout talent from home.

“Feathers” (Dir. A.V. Rockwell, 2018, USA)

Timely, powerful, and gorgeous to boot.

“This Magnificent Cake!” (Dir. Marc James Roels and Emma de Swaef, 2018, Belgium/Netherlands/France)

The year’s most astonishing film — the ugly history of African colonialism reimagined as a harrowing tragicomedy.

“Flame” (Sami van Ingen)

Anna Zača (Head curator of Short Riga, the Short Film Program at RIGA IFF — www.rigaiff.lv)

“Egg” (Dir. Martina Scarpelli, 2018, Denmark / France)

This film, in a very stylized hence distant and jet clear way, allows the spectator to experience how it feels to have an eating disorder.

“The Green Valley” [Den grønne dalen] (Dir. Ellen Ugelstad, 2018, Norway)

These days, the more you know, the harder it gets to believe in humanity, but somehow we do live on. And this film depicts the absurdity of this situation.

“Anteu” (Dir. João Vladimiro, 2018, Portugal, France)

A dark and hypnotic trip to Anteu’s village, where he is the last one living.

“Pebbles” [Камешки] (Dir. Mikhail Zheleznikov, 2018, Russia)

Just like a shoebox full of memories, only this time it’s not your teenage pics and jewellery, it’s strips and bits in the life of a traveling artist’s collection.

“Flame” [Polte] (Dir. Sami van Ingen, 2018, Finland)

The bigger the screen the better, just sit down and let the image take you over. This film will always work as a meditation for me.

“The Glass Note” (Mary Helena Clark)

Scout Tafoya (Critic and Video EssayistRogerEbert.com and MUBI Notebook

“Piu Piu” (Dir. Naima Ramos-Chapman, 2018, USA)

“Westerly Wind” [Vent d’ouest] (Dir. Unknown, 2018, France)

“The Glass Note” (Dir. Mary Helena Clark, 2018, USA)

“Make Me Feel” (Dir. Alan Ferguson, 2018, USA)

“No Service” (Dir. Bram Ruiter, 2018, The Netherlands/South Africa)

“T.R.A.P.” (Manque La Banca)

Flavia Dima (Freelance Film Critic and Co-Programmer of Filmul de Piatra)

“T.R.A.P.” (Dir. Manque La Banca, 2018, Argentina)

“How Fernando Pessoa Saved Portugal” [Como Fernando Pessoa Salvou Portugal] (Dir. Eugène Green, 2018, Portugal/France/Belgium)

“The Glorious Acceptance Speech of Nicolas Chauvin” [Le Discours d’acceptation glorieux de Nicolas Chauvin] (Dir. Benjamin Crotty, 2018, France)

“brief conversation about the d word” [scurtă conversație despre cuvântul cu d] (Dir. Teona Galgoțiu, 2018, Romania)

“Hector Malot: The Last Day of the Year” [Ektoras Malo: I Teleftea Mera Tis Chronias] (Dir. Jacqueline Lentzou, 2018, Greece) 

 

“People of the Lake” (Jean-Marie Straub)

James Slaymaker (Doctoral Researcher at the University of Southampton, Critic for Senses of CinemaBright Lights Film JournalKinoscope)

“People of the Lake” [Gens du Lac] (Dir. Jean-Marie Straub, 2018, Switzerland)

“22nd Ji.hlava IDFF 2018 Trailer” (Dir. Jean-Luc Godard, 2018, France)

“Wishing Well” [Wunschbrunnen] (Dir. Sylvia Schedelbauer, 2018, Germany)

“The Growing Glow” (Dir. Eli Hayes, 2018, USA)

“Deck” (Dir. Leighton Pierce, 2018, USA)

“Third Kind” (Yorgos Zois)

Pawel Wieszczecinski (Founder and Executive Director and Head of Distribution-Programming, kinoscope.org

“Heart of Hunger” (Dir. Bernardo Zanotta, 2018, Netherlands)

“Hector Malot: Last Day of the Year” (Dir. Jacqueline Lentzou, 2018, Greece)

“A Room with a Coconut View” (Dir. Tulapop Saenjaroen, 2018, Thailand)

“Third Kind” (Dir. Yorgos Zois, 2018, Greece)

“Translations” [Nutsigassat] (Dir. Tinne Zenner, 2018, Canada/Denmark)

“Aquaparque” (Ana Moreia)

Laurence Boyce (Film Critic/Head of Live Action Programme PÖFF Short/Black Nights Film Festival, www.poff.ee)

“All Inclusive” (Dir. Corina Schwingruber Ilić, 2018, Switzerland)

There’s an air of the works of Yuri Ancarani in this film with a juxtaposition of epic edifices and the fragility (and venality) of human behavior. A towering technical achievement that is coupled with an undercurrent of satire. As of this writing, the film is only a few months shy of its premiere, and it has already won numerous awards. Look for it to continue its cruise to glory in 2019.

“Aquaparque” (Dir. Ana Moreia, 2018, Portugal)

Ana Moreira, known primarily as an actress in such films as Miguel Gomes’ Tabu (2012), shows she is dazzling behind the camera with this sun-drenched slice of magical realism. With a bravura opening sequence — in which a girl practices roller skating in an abandoned water park — the film morphs into something else entirely with an arrival of a new camera. There’s a dreamlike air here with a dark vein of criticism for a society that has left a generation hanging.

“The Egg and the Thieving Pie” (Dir. Lola Blanche Higgins, 2018, UK)

Director Lola Blanche Higgins plays with the tropes of British social realism to present a world that is both totally familiar yet completely surreal. Some brilliant performances plus some wonderful production design ensure a brilliant experience.

“Kado” (Dir. Aditya Ahmad, 2018, Indonesia)

This year’s winner at Venice is just a wonderfully rendered coming-of-age story that deals with gender identity in a subtle yet complex way. A delight.

“All These Creatures” (Dir. Charles Williams, 2018, Australia)

A stunning examination of the relationship between a father and son torn asunder by mental illness.

Laurence Boyce and Kinoscope would like to thank all the respondents for their time. For any queries on the list, please email laurence.boyce@gmail.com.

About The Author

Laurence Boyce

Laurence Boyce is a film critic and curator, originally from the UK and now chiefly based in Tallinn, Estonia. He writes for the likes of Cineuropa, Sight & Sound and Screen International with a particular emphasis on short film. He is also currently the Head of Programme for PÖFF Shorts, the short film element of Black Nights Film Festival.

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