“A short film can be anything. Just like a poem. But that doesn’t mean it is easier. Sometimes it’s much harder to write one great poem than to write a whole novel.” – Director Sara Broos
I recently came across this quote by a Swedish filmmaker Sara Broos in an interview. It got me thinking why I like watching short films over feature-length films; for me, it’s because the shortened run time magnify the message of the film. I gravitate toward short films that depict social issues and human drama, so I decided I wanted to share a few that have moved me recently.
This short by Ashley Deckman, a writer/director that is currently enrolled in the MFA program of NYU, provides an honest look at the struggles of parenthood. The kids in this film introduce someone that has positively influenced them through their work at a school event and let’s just say that Alley’s definition of a “hero” was slightly different than her classmates. Although I am not a parent, I would imagine that many parents agonize over the question, “Am I doing this right?”
A Date in 2025
“Would you go out on a date with me, like, in reality?” We live in an age in which it wouldn’t be surprising if that very question is typed into a DM or chat-box and sent to a crush. This short romantic comedy short by Ryan Turner looks at what dating life may be like in the future. With the invention such as smart speakers, smart watches, VR goggles, and the ever-growing interconnecting social media web, technology has made our lives more convenient and connected, but at what cost?
“Plastic Bag” by Ramin Bahrani follows the life of a Plastic Bag that contemplates the meaning of life after its separation from the Maker, the one who took it home from the supermarket and “showed [it] what she knew of the world.” As silly as this plot is, there is a real emptiness and desolation in the tone of the film, which is appropriate if you think about the massive plastic waste problem that exists at a global level. Prior to moving to Japan I lived on the California coast where I enjoyed surfing on a daily basis. As part of my previous work I organized beach clean-up events every year and always wondered where each of the plastic waste originated from, so this one hits close to home.
I don’t want to give too much away about this short film, but it is about a new kid at a high school that needs to overcome barriers to make it on the varsity basketball team. I played a lot of sports growing up so I appreciate films that take a look at human drama through the lens of an athlete. The coach in this film is played by Rick Fox, who was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers during one of their most successful stretch in recent memory when they one the NBA championship three years in a row from 2000 to 2002. As a Los Angeleno that came of age during that era, I particularly liked the character he plays in this short film.
Born with It
This is an incredibly powerful and important short film, especially in this day and age when the topic of diversity and multiculturalism has become so potent globally. This award winning short film by American filmmaker Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour depicts a mixed-race Japanese boy that experiences the cruelty and unfiltered racism from his new peers in a rural town that he and his Japanese single-mother moves to. This film opens up an opportunity to have a discussion about the growing diversity in a country that has been largely homogenous.