As a platform built around our love of keeping things short, I’m going to buck the award ceremony trend and keep this intro brief. Shortlisted by our programming team, with the winners picked by our jury – directorial duo rubberband (last year’s winners) and writer/director Maegan Houang – the Short Awards look to honor the best online short film releases of the previous year. With six awards in total, here are the 2023 winners:
Jury Award for Best Short
The Sentence of Michael Thompson by Kyle Thrash + Haley Elizabeth Anderson
Jury Statement: For its ability to perfectly capture the racial injustice of our broken U.S. legal system through the story of a single man, we are honored to award “Short of the Year” to this masterful film which interweaves emotive scenes of a father and his daughter with archival photographs, and poignant phone calls, where we listen to rueful reflections on a stolen life.
Superbly shot by Logan Triplett, and directed with grace by Kyle Thrash and Haley Elizabeth Anderson, The Sentence of Michael Thompson is an important, moving film that humanizes the over 40,000 currently still incarcerated for possession of marijuana, now legal — and extremely profitable — in many states.
Animation Short of the Year
O Black Hole! by Renee Zhan
Documentary Short of the Year
The Black Cop by Cherish Oteka
Live-Action Short of the Year
Moshari by Nuhash Humayun
The Trailblazer Award
The Vandal by Eddie Alcazar
With the winner of our main prize now picked by our Jury, we really wanted to keep an award that we still had control over, one prize which truly represents all that Short of the Week stands for. Innovation has always been key to our curation and we wanted to champion that in our Trailblazer award. A category we only started a couple of years ago, when the brilliant What Happened to Crow 64? won, this year sees the ever-inventive Eddie Alcazar scoop the award for his groundbreaking short The Vandal. Inventing his own filmmaking technique, a combination of stop-motion and live-action that the director calls “Meta-Scope”, it’s a short that’s visually outstanding and like nothing I’ve seen before. However, it’s not just an aesthetic gimmick, it really works, as the narrative is also utterly engrossing and the two combine to immerse you in a strange and unsettling world that feels impossible to shake.
The Audience Choice Award
Homesick by Will Seefried
An instant team favorite from the 2022 SXSW line-up, Seefried’s short builds expectations early on, only to tear them apart as its storyline unravels. A film we could wax lyrical about indefinitely, it’s no surprise to see our viewers select this distinct and original short as our Audience Choice winner. As this is the only award picked by our faithful readership, I think it’s best to turn it over to you to sell the film, with a selection of our favorite YouTube comments:
- I could see this being real. Humans would pay anything for happiness even if it’s not genuine – @reincarnatedPostit
- Yoooo this was wildddd – @Tkd_on1
- I’d hate to see THAT Yelp review! – @Leftatalbuquerque
- From the fREAKIN WOMB, bro- – @zaggity
- Is that breast feeding real??? – @manabirkhangembam7720
☝️If those don’t make you want to watch it, I don’t know what will.