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Short Cuts: 5 Short Films You Need To Know

The Playlist By Leah Zak | The Playlist October 29, 2012 at 2:00PM

You generally don’t see them in theaters, and if you do, they are often a tacked on as a bonus, or come packaged as a group deal. They make up one of the categories that most tend to close-their-eyes-and-point-to when it comes to the office Oscar Pool. They are where film began, in the experiments of Edison Manufacturing Company, or, perhaps more officially, with Edwin S. Porter’s “The Great Train Robbery.” They’re also often where filmmakers begin, but in the case of many great filmmakers (Kurosawa, Godard, Altman, Sodebergh, and so on) at some point return to. They are short films. While today the short form is often considered a calling card or stepping stone, they’re also an opportunity to test narratives waters, or try new technique, and as video-sharing sites grow and improve, so does a shorts potential for a much wider audience.

“Metro” isn’t specifically billed as a children’s film, but, as opposed to “Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared,” it is one you might actually show them. Storybook-like in its design and with zero dialogue, director Jacob Wyatt takes us on an “Alice in Wonderland”-like journey into the worlds within and below the Metro’s tunnels. Made by Wyatt while he was still a student, the film has taken off for the animator and illustrator, and after screening at a number of festivals this year, joined ‘Scared’ and ‘Baldassari’ as another finalist for the ShortList Film Festival. We can only imagine what it must have been like to watch “Metro” unfold on the big screen, as the worlds Wyatt created are breathtaking even on a small one. Experience them for yourself below:

As I Am
In May of 2011, high school senior Chris Dean introduced President Barack Obama as his graduation keynote speaker, and his brief but inspiring remarks gave him a moment in the national spotlight, and a scholarship to attend Lane College. It was perhaps a surprise twist for a young man who grew up in the impoverished neighborhood of South Memphis; who at the age of 2 came back to life after his heart stopped; and who at the age of 5, lost his father to gang violence. “As I Am” is a film featuring Dean’s observations as he walks the streets of his neighborhood with celebrated photojournalist Alan Spearman and cinematographer Mark Adams. The footage they shot over 8 weeks, combined with Dean’s observations, which he performs as narration to the film, create a powerful and affecting look at a piece of America that is rarely allotted air time. Only recently released by the filmmakers online, we have yet to see if this one will be a part of the 2013 festival circuit, but waves being made in the blogosphere suggest it would certainly leave an impression if it did. You can watch it here:

This article is related to: Shorts, Short Film, Features

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