Last year saw interactive films finally come into their own as a format for real storytelling. This year, Bear 71 upped the ante with even more interactivity allowing viewers to navigate a map of security cameras as they track a bear across a wildlife refuge. Beyond the environmental message, this film grapples with some of the most important questions facing us today. In a world of increased tracking, are we losing a sense of our true nature?
Surprisingly, this remix film made from found footage about a robot was one of the most emotional films to come out this past year. Robbie is a testament to the power of great storytelling—the materials and tools are there waiting to be re-imagined.
The amazing visual effort in Andrew Huang’s experimental masterpiece was easily one of the most beautiful films we’ve seen all year. The colorful combinations of textures and explosions feel decidedly fresh as they play against themes of isolation and our struggle to find meaningful connections.
Best Branded Film—The Forty Story
The best branded films align a brand’s core idea and a filmmaker’s vision to tell a story that both entertains and informs. Although the tidal wave of branded films seems to have subsided this past year, The Forty Story stood out as a stellar beacon of what branded films should be—a great brand paired with a great classic story.
Best Sci-Fi Effects Film—Sight
Of the dozens of sci-fi shorts that made waves online, none combined a thoughtful technological premise with a powerful story like Sight. ‘Thoughtful’ is the word that separates Sight from the dozens of other sci-fi shorts that lit up the online world this past year. You see it in the film’s very modern themes of gamification, privacy, and the moral hazards new tech brings up.