Welcome 2019! Before we get too excited about all the things in store for this turn of the calendar, I’d like to take time out to reflect on what was another very good year at Short of the Week. 

Continuing a trend, 2018 once again set a record for traffic to our site, which is very gratifying. Thank you for spending time with us amidst an age of PEAK CONTENT on the web. Y’all spent 26 MILLION minutes on Short of the Week in 2018! There are a lot of distractions out there clamoring for your time, and we appreciate you being a fan of us, and the filmmakers we champion. We also had a record year in terms of submissions to the site, with a 9% increase from 2017. 

Not too much changed with us this past year—we featured a lot of great films (280), and continued to put out great articles (42). 101 of the films we featured were credited to a female director, a welcome 12% increase in share over 2017. With a new backend database that we debuted in 2018, we hope to better track all sorts of demographic information to ensure our commitment to diversity. In other highlights, we were pleased to give the keynote address at the global Short Film Conference at Clermont Ferrand in February, and provided a welcome update to our popular guide, The Essential List of Festivals and Online Eligibility. We also published our most consequential think piece in awhile, Be Everywhere All At Once, which is a culmination of our current philosophy about how creators should approach their short film release to maximize exposure and opportunity. We’re proud of the immense discussion this sparked all over the web. 

Internally we had some great growth for our team. We were pleased to bump Chelsea Lupkin up to Senior Programmer, arming her with the power to have final say over acceptances and rejections (something she got to experience from the other side, as her short film Lucy’s Tale played festivals), and Céline Roustan now has a new title, Festival Coordinator, staying on top of what’s going on in festival-land for us. Thanks largely to her, we were on the ground at over 15 festivals this past year, meeting filmmakers, and recruiting the cream of this year’s short film festival class to share with you. Last but not least, right under the deadline, we welcomed Alex Dudok de Wit to the team as our newest writer/curator. 

Looking out to 2019, we have many exciting new things in the works which I want to tease, but not spoil. First off, we’re looking still to add to our crew, so take a look at our Jobs page if you’re interested in joining us. We’re especially keen to do more with platforms outside of the site. We finally gave in and started using Instagram in 2018, and are building up our YouTube channel (we just passed 10,000 subscribers!). To continue to grow we need your help.

Second, EVENTS! Oh yeah, we’re finally, finally going to get off our screens and begin hosting offline programs and meetups. This is something many of you have been clamoring for, and the first one is set for NYC next month. Details will be sent out soon, and if all goes well, we think LA and London will quickly follow. If you want S/W to do something in your hometown, let us know, and maybe we can partner up!

Lastly, and this is a definite tease, but will be announced soon—S/W has partnered with some significant figures from the world of Film & TV. There are a lot of different forms that this teaming up can and will take, but it points towards what could end up being the most consequential year ever for us. First and foremost though, we’re most excited for what the new possibilities this will open up for the filmmakers whom we curate, and the evolution of our mission to bring attention and opportunity to the deserving talent that we think will be shaping entertainment (for the better!) in the years to come. It’s going to be a fun ride, so please continue to follow along. 

– Co-Founder & Editor-In-Chief Jason Sondhi

 

Team Picks

Enough about us though, you come to S/W to watch great films! We’re currently putting together our Short of the Week Awards which will come out in a few weeks, but, to whet your appetite, we asked each of our curators pick a film from 2018 that they couldn’t stop thinking about. These aren’t necessarily “the best” or even our “favorites”, just films that lodged into out heads and hearts, and which we found ourselves revisiting over and over. Enjoy, and share with us what films struck you in that special spot in the comments below!

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Comedy Peter Edlund
ma

Mixtape Marauders

A nine song visual mixtape following two young stoners into a world of mindless day jobs, petty drug deals and loud ass music.

Picked by Ivan Kander

Just so, so much fun—a supremely geeky and groovy foray into friendship, pop-culture obsession, and all the pointless (yet incredibly important!) stuff that defines our lives. Chock full of killer dialogue and great moments, it’s somehow nostalgic despite taking place in modern day—familiar, yet original at the same time.

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Experimental Nikita Diakur

Ugly

The 2017 Grand Prize Winner at Ottawa, a formally groundbreaking animated short. An ugly cat struggles to coexist in a fragmented and broken world, eventually finding a soulmate in a mystical chief.

Picked by Alex Dudok de Wit

While most CG movies strive for slickness, Nikita Diakur goes the other way. In this film, the Russian animator makes a virtue of glitches in his software, creating a vision of society literally disintegrating before our eyes. Animals explode; buildings collapse into geometric fragments; the camera tumbles about alarmingly. The style fits the dystopian plot – in this day, what’s more unnerving than being reminded of the vulnerabilities of computers?

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Documentary Charlie Tyrell

My Dead Dad's Porno Tapes

Filmmaker Charlie Tyrell seeks to better understand his emotionally distant late-father through the personal belongings he left behind... including a stack of VHS dirty movies.

Picked by Georg Csarmann

My favorite thing as a programmer and fan is when a film says all the things I’ve been meaning to articulate, only better. “My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes” is a deeply personal viewing experience?

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Drama Lucrèce Andreae

Pépé Le Morse (Grandpa Walrus)

On a windy and cloudy beach, Granny is praying, Mum is shouting, the sisters don’t care, Lucas is alone. Grandpa was a weird guy, now he’s dead.

Picked by Serafima Serafimova

PÉPÉ LE MORSE simply blew me away. From the exquisite craft, which embraced the classical animation techniques I fell in love with as a child, to the incredibly authentic characters which made up this wonderfully weird family, to its portrayal of grief, always inevitably followed by inappropriate humour. I found it all relatable, lovable and deeply touching in equal measures, and I still tear up every time I watch it. I can honestly say that PÉPÉ LE MORSE is a special film which will always stay with me.

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Drama Jérémy Comte

Fauve

CURRENTLY OFFLINE for OSCARS - Set in a surface mine, this Special Jury Prize winner from Sundance 2018, follows two boys as they sink into a seemingly innocent power game with Mother Nature as the sole observer.

Picked by Céline Roustan

I hate being this predictable but Fauve not only was a beautiful, perfectly crafted visual experience, it made me “feel” and left me saying “wow” when the credits rolled.

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Dark Comedy Jocelyn DeBoer & 2 Others

Greener Grass

In this dark comedy of manners set in a surreal world, meticulously-coiffed soccer moms Jill and Lisa vie for perfect children, perfect husbands, and most importantly, perfect teeth.

Picked by Jason Sondhi

After 10+ years of doing this, I just learned that evidently I have a type—comedies that are boldly bonkers, endlessly quotable, and unapologetically surreal. The film went into development as a series after its 2016 festival run, so it wasn’t until this year’s low-key drop of the film online that I got to fully appreciate how endlessly rewatchable it is. It is the film I’ve revisited the most this year for pure pleasure, and I’m stoked to check out the feature at Sundance soon!

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Comedy Graham Parkes

Craig's Pathetic Freakout

After smoking some weed with a friend, Craig starts to worry that he might be trapped in a movie.

Picked by Rob Munday

I think I’m a pretty difficult customer when it comes to comedy, so the fact I’ve returned to Graham Parkes’ 6-min stoner comedy again and again and again shows that it has a strange hold over me. It’s not the most original film we featured in 2018, or the cleverest, but for giving me the unabashed giggles several times this year (“every time, every god damn time!”), Craig’s Pathetic Freakout, I salute you.

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Horror Caleb Slain

Demon

A wounded stranger finds a secret on his rescuer's property. A film shot entirely via the light of the full moon.

Picked by Chelsea Lupkin

Few films got me on edge quite like Demon did. Much like a one-act play, this tense chamber piece had me questioning who was evil in a character driven tête-à-tête that explored the premise of demons. A complete sucker for all things horror, Demon’s slick style and knockout performances made it easily a film that stayed with me – especially with an ending that raised all of the goosebumps on my neck.