Here at MC HQ, we take pride in maxing out our internet data capacity.
Which means we’ll watch every short film and movie we get sent, every surf event, every Netflix series, every horse race Dale gets a tip for, the annual Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake—basically whatever we can hit play on.
So when it came to sifting through it all to select our favourite short films from last year, the good people at MC were understandably burnt out. Fair enough.
Instead, I asked eight esteemed directors and filmmakers for their selections. Grab some Maltesers, clear about an hour from your schedule and enjoy the best short films from 2017.
Slapper, Directed by Luci Schroder
Selected by Ben Briand
“Raw. Sexual. Violent. ‘Slapper’ could be a derogatory name for the female lead character or the effect that the film has on the viewer. This startling short film from Australian director Luci Schroder premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and sent her around the world last year, culminating in being awarded Best Short Film at the Sydney Film Festival, and is sure to spark her feature career. Hold out until the full film is released online in the next month but in the meantime, here is the trailer for a good measure of ‘slap.’ ”
The Privates, Directed by Dylan Allen
Selected by Ian Durkin
“Alt-rock and sci-fi. An unlikely blend for a short film, but director Dylan Allen nails it. Inspired by seeing a favourite rock band, The Privates, play a late night basement show, Allen pulled narrative cues from their lyrics and created a fictional version of the band itself, creating favourite film of 2017. The Privates tells the story of an aspiring, but self-destructive rock band. (Destructive in that their music has a radioactive quality that blows amps, liquifies demo tapes and burns down venues). Along with a soundtrack that had me searching for The Privates’ back catalog and believable performances from all the actors involved, the story line serves as an apt metaphor for pursuing any type of creative career these days: you may be putting out fires all along the way that you’re to blame for, but at least you’re still having fun and making stuff with friends.”
Now That I’ve Found You, Directed by Peter Huang
Selected by Taylor Steele
“This film has some beautiful images, but more than anything I like films that give you a feeling. This one shows the side of travel that can be both lonely and isolating, but inviting at the same time. It reminds me a little of the movie ‘Lost in Translation’ but set in Central America.”
H.B. | One minute short film, Directed by Gaspar Palacio
Selected by Lincoln Caplice
“This is what a short film should be. Simple, quick and entertaining. It doesn’t have the highest production value and was probably made for next to nothing, but it still manages to leave you surprised and amused. Job done. I never went to film school, but I know they bang on about keeping things simple—and if I can pass any nugget of wisdom on, it’s that.”
Territory, Directed by The Blaze
Selected by Riley Blakeway
“I feel like this had the biggest impact on me this year. The perfect combination of music/visuals/story/characters. I love character stories like this that stir up all the feels.”
Backstory, Directed by Joschka Laukeninks
Selected by Mark Blondel
“This punched me in the heart. It was a big year—having kids, losing friends, shifting gears, blowing up engines. The film details the fast and turbulent progression of one man’s life, from birth to death, filled with joy, sadness, and tragedy. A not so gentle reminder of the impermanence of things. A western perspective of the plunge into the oceans of Samsara. Joshchka’s craft is visible throughout. It’s a wild ride.”
Ingrid Silva // The Journey, Directed by Ben Briand
Selected by Andrew Kaineder
“I can’t go past Ben Briand’s short film following the life journey of ballet dancer Ingrid Silva. I’ve long been a fan of Ben Briand’s work. His films always feel very personal and seem to draw you into a relationship with the characters beyond the screen, whether personally relatable or not. This film follows the life journey of ballet dancer Ingrid Silva from the slums of Rio to the stage in New York. It fuses a short narrative into an ad campaign—something that Ben has seemed to do for most of his career. Shot in POV for three-quarters of the film, we don’t meet Ingrid until the last quarter of the film. Eigil Bryld nailed the cinematography which comes as no surprise with his list of credits, elevating Ben’s artistic direction. Although linear in the way it’s told, they only ever show you what you need to see and I thought it grasped the emotion and path of an extraordinary journey to the top.”
Medicine, Directed by Salomon Ligthelm
Selected by Sam Brumby
“It’s a music video, however, realistically it’s a short film that happens to have a music bed. Salomon and Khalid together is just a damn match made in heaven. This film sets the bar both in a narrative and emotive sense but also stylistically. The cinematography is just incredibly beautiful. It’s a real tear-jerker, especially when you read the story behind it.”
Chapter 11, by Dane Reynolds
Selected by Tyge Landa
“I’m going keep it in the surf genre and say ‘Chapter 11.’ Dane’s editing cuts the crap, the film was pure unadulterated storytelling taking us back 35 years into his childhood, then fast forwarding to present day with nothing but honesty. From spine-tingling anxiety attacks to getting numerous zeros cut on his monthly wage. You can tell the transitions of music are well thought out and Dane’s mulled over this piece. Afterward finishing the flick you are left with a, ‘Where the fuck do I go from here?’ feeling. But watching it back a few times you see the story and the finish. An inspired piece of work and insane surfing, epic variety, great story and narration to tie it together.”