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Monday Shorts

Make your Mondays a little more pleasant with a newly curated short film each week, plus our insights into why we love them.

A mysterious creature stands with outstretched arms under a glowing light

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manila paper background, simple illustrated bunting along the top of the image, and a bunch of o, O and 0 characters with various other letters and colours sprinkled throughout the rest of hte space.

Rendered on a portable typewriter, you can see the film as Johnson’s daydreams manifesting through a dreary day job, the excitement of early aviation rendered in a few pieces of punctuation and some dabs of colour.

From Simon Gerbaud's saVer (2015) - image of a shoe cut in half.

It’s hypnotic in a way that’s hard to describe, like staring at a fire—there’s something in the pattern of movement that’s just inherently compelling.

Cut paper painted in pastels, an image of a man wearing thick glasses, a yellow and red checkered shirt and black slacks sits at a desk looking at a typewriter. He is holding his neck in pain from slouching. In the top left of the frame, there is a hand holding the handle of an umbrella.

unlike most cut-out animation, which tends to treat its canvas like a two-dimensional platform, Voltova is more than willing to push her camera angles and distort her perspectives; it makes for a much more dramatic and energetic piece of animation than paper cut-out usually allows.

digital illustration of a blue cat with red eyes pouncing on a black and yellow snake with red eyes and teeth

The CRT glow and chunky lines recall old Amiga art, and the constant morphing between keyframes gives the whole thing an eerie feeling—more of a ghost of technology past than an exercise in nostalgia.

Lori Damiano's film compresses a lot of wisdom into 15 minutes, on the difference between observation and experience, the burdens created by the past and the future, the need for appreciation of simple moments.

Black screen with white text that reads, "EVERYTHING"

It tells you the things the game will let you discover—it can even be useful in showing you the frame of mind the game is meant to be played in—but it's a different piece of art from the game itself.

Bright crayon-illustrated image of a yellow frog-like character at the bottom of the frame with a big open smile and many teeth. The background is bright teal and turquoise stripes coming from the character , and unevent block letters in the same yellow as the character read "BREAK FAST"

Dr. Breakfast isn't exactly normal, but it is straightforward, mixing a crisp, traditionally cartoony style, an easy-to-follow narrative and a sense of humour that's alternately manic and deadpan.

a point-of-view shot of someone's feet sticking out of the water. The colour palette is very muted. The text below it reads 
"OFFICIAL SELECTION 2012 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL"

The pervasive sense of melancholy, the dream-like story structure, the dark, dry humour; all of them create a mood that's hard to describe and equally hard to forget. 

Image of a cute blue character wear ing a chef hat lifting a large yellow oven spatula into a pizza over in a small cabin.

In his words, it's "a lamentable tragedy mixed full of pleasant mirth," but the mirth is mostly in the contrast between Cross' golden age animation style and his willingness to follow through on a premise to its bitterest conclusion.

Pencil drawing o fa woman holding her face in her hands, her eyes are closed and she has long hair

Sijia Ke's film Pear is based on a true story. Maybe. It's based on a story, in any case — one that Ke was listening to on the radio, despite not speaking the language it was broadcast in.

Illustration of a bird-man wearing a blue-green suit holding a gun of some sort that looks like it's spewing radio waves (colours red, white and blue) into the sky. From One Year, One Film, One Second a Day by the Brothers McLeod

For an entire year, the McLeod's drew one second of animation each day, basing it on something they had seen, heard or read over the course of the day, with a little creative license for good measure.

Three characters are looking off-screen to the right. The leftmost character is a character with an elephant face, and elephant faces for arms. The middle scaracter looks lik ea furry being wearin gan owl mask. The third character has antlers, and three faces stacked on top of each other like a Totem pole

Anne Breymann's 2017 film Nachtstück is, in a word, weird. Not in the hand-wavy, dismissive way that word is often used, as in "that was weird, I don't get it." Nachtstück is weird in a deeper, more unsettling way, the way that horror writer H.P. Lovecraft articulated almost a century ago in his essay Supernatural Horror in Literature

Screenshot of Victoria Vincent's Floatland (2018)
Image of a girl looking at a screen to the left of the frame. She has blue long hair in a ponytail and is holding a game controller. Behind her is a dirty room filled with clothing, bottles, posters, empty bowls, cigarettes and prescription bottles

The range of moods it runs through in just over two-and-a-half minutes is astounding. The fact she can do it in such an intuitively appealing way is why she's an artist you absolutely should be following.

Screenshot from Andy Kennedy's Slow Wave (2016). Image is of a warped bedroom, looking at the bed on a tilt, wiht a night stand next to it. There are two windows on the right wall and a light above the bed. There is a portal directly above the headboard of the bed radiating a bright neon pink that douses the room with its light.

The first half of the film shows the unease that accompanies those restless nights where sleep never seems to come. The second shows that falling asleep isn't always so great, either.

Image of  awoman in a white robe with tassels down her front stands by a birch tree and looking past the camera. The scene is in a forest

The story of a Nishnaabeg youth and elder rescuing a canoe from a museum's collection, it's a direct challenge to the western claim that other culture's artifacts are educational items or historical curiousities.

black and white colour scheme. Depicts an establishing shot of an environment with large hills, but with two figures - one with a black body and a white dot on their middle, and one with a white body and a black dot on their middle - sitting on the floor looking at each other.

There's a reason it walked away from our 2017 GIRAF festival with the Audience Favourite award and some of the highest ratings we've ever seen for a short at the fest.

image of a man standing in a room with minimal furniture. A piano, some discarded picture frames. The room is framed as a circle, and we're looking in it from a god-like view above. All in black and white

Split into four parts, the film is somewhere between a visual poem and an expression of philosophy, cycling through acts of creation and destruction, evolution and remembrance. Volcanoes erupt, creatures evolve as sort of whimsical exquisite corpses, the pins that make up the animation dance around the screen in a strangely minimal ballet.

preview image for Alan Holly's Coda (2014). A dark green grassy background, with a nude character lying down, surrounded by black bugs. The title "CODA" is next to him, and the rest of the image is taken up by the various awards that "Coda" has won

Its post-life coda can't come close to capturing everything beautiful about life, but that failure is its own argument for life's beauty.

screenshot from Prologue (2015) by Richard Williams. A sketchy aesthetic of a man's angry face with blowing dandelion seeds in the foreground

Prologue is meant to be the beginning of an adaptation of Lysistrata, the Greek play where women withhold sex from their spouses to stop a war. It would be interesting to see where Williams aimed to take the production; how faithful he would be to its story, how much humour and horror he planned to bring to the piece.

A gloomy image of a street. A red moon in the background has a raven fly across it. 
There are two citizens looking frightened towards the camera. They are wearing old-time clothes (Bowler hat, suit, large sun hat and high-collared dress) and their heads are gourds

Before it was fleshed out into a 10-film miniseries (which constitutes one of the best American animated features of the 21st century, for what it's worth), Patrick McHale's Over the Garden Wall started its life as a more humble short film, Tome of the Unknown.

illustration of a large monster with fin ears, large fangs, and covered in fur with its mouth open. In the mouth there are 6 skeletons writhing in pain, engulfed in Flames

Robbie Ward's video for "Annihilation" by Dedsa is a stunner, a one-of-a-kind creation that's equally suited to a serious watching or the epic backdrop to your Halloween party.

Black and white image of a close up shot of a person holding an egg in front of their face. The egg's shadow makes the mouth and nose of the person cloaked in black.

Everything in an animated world can grow, shrink or transform in the blink of an eye, and the simple cube in which Egg's narrator resides does all that, constantly—and so does the character.

black and white image of a boy with glasses looking at a figure wearing a dog mask. The masked figure is holding up their finger as if to Shush the main character. Everything is slightly blurred.

Filmed with a multiplane camera setup with five layers, the film only gives viewers glimpses of the whole, with constant motion on the other, blurred-out layers adding to the film's inner anxiety.

drawn in neon lights of a rooster and a unicorn looking towards the audience through a window

an animated short as part of the National Film Board's Five @ 50 Series: An Intimate Look at Contemporary LGBTQ2+ Lives and Iden­ti­ties. A neon-coloured tribute (conflicted as it may be) to a long-shuttered Edmonton gay bar, it is every bit as thoughtful, personal and provocative as you'd expect, and a worthy addition to Vivek's ever-growing artistic catalogue.

A crowd of stick-people each lost in their own private worlds.

Despite being overshadowed by the two very different masterpieces he released on either side of it, Don Hertzfeldt's The Meaning of Life is still the kind of film most animators go their whole career hoping to create—funny, thoughtful, cynical and gorgeous in its own odd way.

A young girl stands on the surface of the sun, staring at a tall castle.

If you're in need of a wholesome escape, Jacob Kafka's student short is a great place to get it. Silly, calm, and life-affirming, it's six well-spent minutes for the terminally overwhelmed.

Wade

Monday ShortsMay 02, 2022

Set in a version of Kolkata that has been made uninhabitable by rising water levels in a post-global warming future, Ghost studio's 2020 short is a tense 10 minutes of climate horror

an artistic rendering of deep space as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope, with swirling clusters of purple, blue and white stars on a black background

The daughter of one of the engineers who worked on the creation and launch of the Hubble Space Telescope, Tracy K. Smith's poem is a touching tribute to her father's work—but it's the analog artwork by Brazilian animation director Daniel Bruson that truly elevates this short film

A person stands in a nearly bare room, with a single window and chair beside them. They're holding a multicoloured sweater, getting ready to put it on.

A clever spin on abstract animation, Sweater gives its director an excuse to indulge in the medium's affinity for swirling patterns, vivid colours, and kaleidoscopic arrangements, with some relateable slapstick added as a framing device

On old man in a white shirt, green vest and red tie speaks to an ornate, single-eyed robot. Behind them there is a wall of bookshelves densely packed with beautiful hard-backed books.

Steeped in art deco elegance and ornate designs, Avarya is a visually rich addition to one of science fiction's longest ongoing converstions—one that has only gotten more urgent since it began nearly a century ago.

A pencil drawing on lined yellow paper depicting an octopus with bright red boxing gloves at the end of each tentacle

With its unique visual metaphors, subtle comic timing, and the sandpaper grit of cognitive dissonance, Lepage's darkly funny short captures a contemporary version of an age-old feeling.

A line drawing of a child looking worried, staring straight forward, as other children look up. Other images are overlaid in red pencil, of fish hooks, a fish, a cut of meat, and what look like dead grassses.

An encounter with a street vendor prompts a young boy to confront his own mortality in this multilayered memento mori from the Tokyo University of the Arts

An isometric view of colourful rectangular prisms arranged in abstract patterns.

Buoyed by a joyful score and Mirai Mizue's intricate draftsmanship, Dreamland is a narrative film in abstract clothing, a memorable blurring of the boundaries between animated genres.

A purple character in a dress rockets through the stars, orange flames shooting from their hands and legs.

A sci-fi fable in the vein of Italo Calvini's Cosmicomics, Matisse Gonzalez' film is a brief, breezy story built around an immediately intuitive metaphor

A man wearing only underpants sits on a chair, resting his chin on his hand. Most of his body is blue, as if he is filled with water. A cloud pokes through the window beside him. The rest of the room is brown and tan; a nearly leafless plant is on the opposite side of the room, and a mirror reflects a cluttered bookshelf.

Man on the Chair is a film focused on doubts, with a sense of uncertainty that goes beyond asking why we are here to whether we are here at all. Director Jeong Dahee doesn't seem especially interested in finding answers—it's the feeling of sitting within questions that seems to interest her.

Two pedestrians balanced on their heads in identical poses, facing opposite directions on a street corner.

Nata Metlukh pokes fun at social cues misfiring with a fun house-mirror reflection of our social incompetence

A DJ surrounded by various gear—turntables, tape decks, drum machines and speakers.

Looking back at Glucose four years later, it's easy to see why folks were so excited. For lack of a better word, and at the risk of sounding absurdly unhip, it just looks and sounds cool.

Two green hands and two line-drawing mouths on a background of slightly rumpled white paper, with pinkish splotches.

An animation that focuses on the subtle movements and rhythms that unconsciously happen at an owambe, a Nigerian street party. As people come together in joy, their hearts begin to beat to the same rhythm, as if united in happiness.

Close-up of two robots' heads staring each other down, the one on the left with afro-like coils of hair and a headband, the one on the right in a police riot helmet.

Kibwe Tavares' sci-fi short is far from your typical architecture school project, but his eye for the intersection of class, race, and the built environment is all over this film.

A strange, long-legged creature walks across a vast, barren landscape as the sun sits just below the horizon.

Even before seeing a frame of Erika Grace Strada's student short, the title brings some very specific imagery to mind. It suggests alien landscapes, strange creatures, and a healthy dose of cosmic horror—and it delivers most of that. The jaunty soundtrack dispels any sense of dread, but with a different score, the film's opening could easily set the stage for some true cosmic horror.

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