With the imminent end of 2015 and the heralding of a new year, we’re debuting the 5th edition of the Short of the Week Awards today, our yearly post honoring the best short films featured on the site in the calendar year. 
Before the films though, if you would permit a bit of reflection—2015 was another big year for the development of the Short of the Week project.
Notably, we unveiled a brand new site, designed for binge-watching and more easily used on mobile. Thanks for all your feedback and bug reports!
Then, when it came to putting awesome shorts in this new framework, we set a record by featuring 225 (and counting!) films in 2015, an over 50% increase compared to 2014.
The biggest facilitator of this jump is the maturation of our submission process, which we explained in detail recently in an article from site co-founder Andrew Allen. Naturally, with the greater output it was apparent that the needs of our team grew, and we were supremely pleased to welcome new faces Katie, Chelsea, Paul and Penelope to the team in 2015, our largest influx of new talent yet. 
Soon to be entering our 9th year of curating shorts on the internet, we find ourselves more excited about what we do than ever. We’re looking forward to 2016—it is going to be fascinating, as new types of content, and new business models will grace SotW, empowering artist creativity like never before. But before then, let’s reflect on what has past. Enjoy the list below, we’ve been doing these for a while now, so if you want to go down the rabbit hole, check out previous year lists. As always, these are subjective, so argue with us and propose your favorites in the comments, or join the convo with #SotwAwards on Twitter or Facebook.



Documentary Samuel Abrahams

Offline Dating

BAFTA nominated short film director Samuel Abrahams questions the status quo of online dating by challenging his newly single friend Tom, to find his next date - OFFLINE.

An easy-breezy sociological experiment, with a Buzzfeed premise and lovely production values, BAFTA nominee Samuel Abrahams’ Offline Dating is the complete package. Its highly successful online release wasn’t without controversy, but its good heart and relatable sentiments, connected with love-longing audiences the world over. 



Adventure Carl Beauchemin & 2 Others

Le Gouffre

An inspiring tale about friendship, sacrifice and conquering the impossible.

While not a requirement for a short film, it’s an awesome bonus if it makes you want to climb a mountain, cure cancer, or, you know, bridge an impossible ravine afterwards. Le Gouffre was a showcase for Montreal startup Lightning Boy Studio, an inspiring story in its own right, and the young film team’s passion resulted in 60 festival selections, online viral acclaim, and over 9 awards. Actually, make that 10.


Drama Ben Aston

He Took His Skin Off For Me

The story of a man who takes his skin off for his girlfriend, and why it probably wasn't the best idea...

Big year for Ben Aston. We featured him twice in 2014, and his palette-cleansing side-project Russian Roulette won Sundance London. The film Aston was trying to get his mind away from? His London Film School graduation project He Took His Skin Off For Me. With massively difficult but bloody phenomenal practical effects work (which Rob Munday details in a Q&A w/ Aston here) providing the clickbait draw, the film went supremely viral, but it’s the writing and storytelling’s deeply melancholic meditation on love & sacrifice that earns it a spot here. 



Fantasy Joseph Bennett

Odin's Afterbirth

A warrior sets out on a blood-soaked path of destruction that brings him face-to-face with the Norse god Odin in this unforgettable animation from Joseph Bennett.

Best action? More like Best AWESOME. An interesting fusion of beautifully gory ultraviolence and a don’t give an F attitude, Odin’s Afterbirth plays like a indie animation version of the famous manga Berserk filtered through Adult Swim. Aside from its badassery, what’s interesting about the film is its genesis–3 parts created over the span of many years, the project gaining momentum and awesome animation collaborators along the way. Perhaps the most gleefully fun film on the list, it has been criminally under-seen, and is highly recommended.



Drama James M. Johnston


Marcus is dealing with some serious shit but he can't seem to talk to anyone about it in this contemplative 2015 SXSW short

James Johnston’s humane SXSW drama flew a bit under the radar this year, but its effortless Texas cool combined with the sensitivity of its plotting combines to showcase Johnston’s rare ability to capture the interiority of its main character. That the film has one of the most cathartic releases in recent short film history is icing on the cake. 



Documentary Topaz Adizes


Exploring the intimate spaces of modern-day relationships, {THE AND} is the best couples therapy session you'll ever witness.

It’s been a transition year for interactive projects. The movement of audiences away from desktop consumption to mobile has been tough, but app interfaces beckon. A smartly constructed project, {The And} capitalizes on our innate fascination with the lives of others to create compelling stand alone linear films, but also draw audiences into multiple levels of engagement. Acquired by Conde Nast out of Sundance, it also represented a key 2015 trend, the burgeoning interest of old-media in shorts, something we’ll be on the lookout for more of in 2016. 



Dark Comedy Emma De Swaef & Marc James Roels

Oh Willy...

Forced to return to his naturist roots, Willy bungles his way into noble savagery - 'Oh Willy' is an animated festival-favourite made entirely from wool.

Oh Willy… has been legendary to those of us who frequent the fest circuit, an inside secret we could lord over the lay people. It is that good, and the twist that surprising. The massive scale of festival success often means the indefinite tie-up of rights to various TV deals, so there was not much expectation we’d ever be able to share this iconic gem. Then on a fine day in November it showed up on Vimeo, and the world has been a slightly better place ever since. 



Action David Sandberg

Kung Fury

Miami Police Department detective and martial artist Kung Fury time travels from the 1980s to World War II to kill Adolf Hitler.

As fun as it is to champion unknown but worthy talents, it would be disingenuous to not recognize the remarkable achievement of Kung Fury, and its even more remarkable cultural impact. List the events: a massively viral trailer leads to a phenomenally successful Kickstarter, leading to the concept being optioned for development before it had even received its debut, which happened to be at CANNES of all places, then, with the hype at a fever pitch, it goes online and then somehow becomes an EVEN BIGGER DEAL. Wow! Not since Kony 2012 (ominously enough) do I think a short film has had this kind of pervasive effect on the internet, and even better this was a true grassroots fandom phenomenon not celeb-driven. It really is just that awesome, and everyone felt compelled to tell everyone else how much they needed to watch it. Now we are telling you as well. 


Honorable Mentions

A Reasonable Request

When screening films from submissions, this is the kind of film you dream of finding. Unremarkable on the surface, it grows progressively more strange as the outrageous concept solidifies. A masterful, high-wire act of writing and performance.

Uncanny Valley

From the SotW Award recipient studio 3DAR, this polished sci-fi teaser was the most complete package we saw this year in the genre, balancing concept and vfx beauty with equal aplomb.


A completely different type of sci-fi, Courtney Marsh’s odd mediative piece of filmmaking was the most confident directing performance we saw this year, no wonder she’s a contender for this year’s Oscars. 

Me & You

One of the weirder trends this year was the prevalence of overhead camera view. No less than THREE shorts featured on SotW this year presented this technique, Me & You,  God View, and Growth. That’s not a good enough reason to get on this list itself, but we also happen to really love Me & You, a montage of a relationship from start to finish. It’s sweet, and clever, and reminds us a lot of another of our favorite films, 2013’s winner, Orange Drive