It’s often tough to find a unifying theme to shorts we select as our monthly “Best Of” picks, and the breadth of styles and forms on display in December’s chosen films is massive. A shapeshifting drama based on a prize-winning literary short story sits alongside a wildly inventive mixed-media animation, which in turn is followed by a devastatingly artistic and emotional documentary.
On reflection however, what each share are subjects that transgress boundaries, and filmmaking approaches willing to do the same. From the blurring of genre in The First Men, and the pop-genius creativity on display in The Chaperone, to the mystically elegiac tone struck in Last Letters, we see stories that are nominally conventional attacked in a sideways fashion in order to distill more purely the underlying theme of their filmmaker’s vision.
In doing so, these three films distinguish themselves amongst their peers in pushing storytelling in innovative directions. That spirit is precisely our vision for short film, and what, as curators, we want to champion. Thus I’m very pleased to share these must-watch picks from the end of 2016.