Where to Watch Short Films Online
The irony of the internet liberating short films from living and dying at festivals, and making them accessible to viewers anywhere at any time, is that quality content has resultantly become harder to find. Three hundred hours of content are said to be uploaded to YouTube every minute, meaning a simple search for the term ‘short film’ reveals some 36.9 million results. This makes it almost impossible to judge what to watch, beyond arbitrarily clicking on interesting-looking thumbnails or assuming a high viewcount equals quality. Thankfully, reliable curators have cut through this media-saturated world, creating fantastic, and regularly updated, collections (listed below) that have become the only places I seek short-form content online.
1. Short of the Week
Perhaps the best-known shorts curation website, Short of the Week links to many award-winning short films which have had phenomenal festival success. I am not sure whether they still only share one film a week, but their archives go back to 2007 so there is a great quantity of content to consume.
2. Vimeo Staff Picks
Vimeo employs a team whose sole job is to watch the films uploaded to their platform and recommend the best to viewers. Their picks tend to be consistently excellent across a range of forms and genres.
The past couple years’ Oscar-nominated short films are available to buy or rent on iTunes at a reasonable price. These are difficult to find elsewhere and definitely worth a watch.
Refinery29’s ‘Shatterbox Anthology’ is a collection of short films by female directors, encompassing first-time filmmakers and established industry figures, including Chloë Sevigny and Kristen Stewart. The platform is a little difficult to use, which is a shame as the content is superb.
5. Brillia Short Shorts Theater Online
You will probably need to be in Japan to use this one, and the website is in Japanese, but it’s free and many of the shorts themselves are festival hits. The platform is run by the Short Shorts Film Festival, which aims to make short films more generally accessible to the public.
Short Film Recommendation
Lost Youth (Kimura Taichi, 2016)
This short film has won awards all over the world, amassing approximately eighty thousand views across various online platforms, although I do not recall it featuring on any of the above channels. Directed by London-based Japanese director, Kimura Taichi, the film is a non-linear, nightmarish look at the dark side of Tokyo life, including drugs and religious cults. Some of it may remind viewers of Enter the Void (Gaspar Noé, 2009) and Murakami Ryū’s Lines but I think the film stands on its own feet despite similarities and clear influences.