Today Short of the Week is launching #ShelterShorts, a charitable short film initiative in partnership with Sugar23, with proceeds benefitting World Central Kitchen’s COVID-19 relief efforts.  

The brainchild of filmmakers, Lance Oppenheim and Max McGillivray, #ShelterShorts is a simple challenge to all filmmakers to channel our creativity toward a good cause and help others struggling through this difficult time. Supporting the effort are filmmakers Cary Fukunaga (No Time to Die), David Gordon Green (Halloween), and a host of other celebrated talents. 


How To Participate

Make a short film of any topic, genre, or style, there are only two rules! 

  1. Filming must take place at the location you are sheltering.
  2. Cast and crew are limited to those you are sheltering with.

From there, share your short film on the platform of your choice with the hashtag #sheltershorts and send it to us, for free, at Submissions will open later this afternoon! In your post, we also ask that you call out this fundraising link to the World Central Kitchen, and tag any friends or filmmakers you want to see participate in the challenge.

How to Follow Along

You can watch as new shorts come in by following the #sheltershorts hashtag on Instagram and YouTube, or by visiting our Vimeo Group. Top picks will be highlighted on the project website and in a weekly playlist every Saturday here on Short of the Week.

We reached out early to a handful of alums and creators we admire, so look forward to #ShelterShorts from the likes of Crystal Moselle (Skate Kitchen), Jim Cummings (Thunder Road), Rod Blackhurst (Amanda Knox), and many more in the coming weeks. In the meantime, take a peek at this first official #ShelterShort from 5-time S/W alum Danny Madden, director of the 2020 Sundance Feature, Beast Beast. 

Why #Sheltershorts?

As a curatorial platform that accepts submissions year-round and straddles both traditional festival worlds and online, we are in a unique position to see what filmmakers are up to in this current moment. What we’ve seen in recent weeks is an explosion of shorts made in keeping with social distancing rules. Creativity doesn’t stop, and despite the radical changes to daily life, the hunger to make things is undaunted. 
Yet, it’s hard enough to get your “polished” film attention, the one you agonized and slaved over.  You may think that there is little chance anyone cares about your quarantine short, made while separated from professional equipment, casts, and crews. We don’t think that’s true though! Let’s make a space for these projects to live and be seen, and support a good cause while we’re at it. Creativity thrives on constraints, and we’re already seeing some ingenious approaches. 
Maybe this initiative will give you that little push needed to execute an idea that you’ve been kicking around. Or maybe you’ll see something new that gives you inspiration. Perhaps watching accomplished filmmakers telling stories with only a cellphone camera and what they have around the house will give you permission to quiet that part of your brain that tells you that your ideas and effort aren’t good enough—go ahead, create! As Danny Madden related to us about his new film Bad Will Hunting:
When I heard about Shelter Shorts I got excited at the idea of essentializing the process, like jumping back to how I made movies when I was younger—what do we have around us and what’s the best way to put it all together? And as soon as an idea comes, you turn on the camera and shoot it.
It was a healthy way to step out of my head and let the wild ideas explode in all directions, keeping the stakes low and the creativity high.
So, this is your invitation to join the film community and find an outlet for your creativity. The rules are simple and accessible to everyone and put A-list directors and novices on the same footing. It’s not about the money you spend, the cameras you use, or the favors you call in, it’s about good ideas and having fun, all while doing your small part to help frontline workers and those affected by the crisis. We look forward to what you come up with!