OK, so this decade did not start as we expected it. No need to pin point what a turbulent year it’s been, but it’s important to mention some of the better things that came out of it. One of those is the persistent rise of short form content. With the lockdowns and bigger productions in stand still, artists looked at cheaper, more effective ways to shoot content, and short films proved to be part of the answer. We were thrilled and overwhelmed with the filmmaking community’s response to keep creating content.

With the hard work of our curation team along with reactions from the public, we put together the stand out films that resonated the most and captured our imagination. Here is our Top 10 of 2020.

A reminder that our Top 10 list is from our Featured Films during the year, and not necessarily released in 2020.

10. Hybrids

Animation by Yohan Thireau, Kim Tailhades, Matthieu Pujol, Florian Brauch & Romain Thirion

Let’s kick off the list with a bite. Hybrids stems from 2017, but we finally got the chance to feature it this year. The incredible creature designs and the captivating concept from a team of five animation graduates is what propels this gorgeous film into our Top 10. Make sure to read our full review and to watch their Making Of process.

Read the review

9. See You Soon

Romance by Tyler Rabinowitz
(United States)

Tyler Rabinowitz breaks a new barrier of intimacy with ‘See You Soon’, particularly when it comes to gay films. While the film industry is still playing catch up to the changing times, some independent filmmakers are way ahead of the curve in terms of equal representation. ‘See You Soon’ is about gay man who travels across the country to spend the weekend with someone he’s been talking to for months on a dating app. Hoping to find the kind of romance that he grew up thinking he’d never get to experience.

Read the review

8. Wrath

Experimental / Suspense by Meg Case & Brad Porter
(United States)

Wrath is 2020 in a nutshell. While we didn’t want this list to be specific to pandemic material, we did have several stand out shorts that touched the subject. Such as Day 48 and Pandemic among many others that can be found in our Quarantine Creatives section. But Meg and Brad brought something a little deeper and unique with Wrath, creating an outstanding audio and visual experience as a young woman living in isolation battles against her growing paranoia and deteriorating mental health.

Read the review

7. The Attaché

Suspense by Andre Stringer
(United States)

Yes, this may be another film that will have you asking at the end: “What’s in the box?”. But we promise, you will still leave fully satisfied. Andre Stringer brings some incredible production values for a short film, all while creating a captivating storyline within a tense setting. While Rian and Liz may not make it out alive, but the case lives on.

Read the review

6. Snowbirds

Drama by Justin Robinson
(United States)

2020 has been quite a year for Justin Robinson. After skimming the Top 10 last year with ‘Guest of Honor‘, Justin released two films in 2020. And while ‘Snowbirds’ made the Top 10, it’s his incredible feature-length documentary about his late brother Jordan: ‘My Brother Jordan’ that made it viral hitting over 12 Million views on YouTube alone. If you haven’t see it yet, it’s a MUST. Since it’s not a short it did not make that cut, but it is available on Film Shortage to watch. Even with all that, ‘Snowbirds’ remains an incredible film for us, reaching an exciting emotional depth and finding that sweet spot balance between humor and drama.

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5. The Sand That Ate The Sea

Drama by Matthew Thorne

A delightful mix of sound and imagery fill up this half hour film. While the timestamp can be frightening, the stretched scenes empower the realm of the story and brings it up to a different level. ‘The Sand That Ate The Sea’ is an intertextual work documenting the South Australian red desert and particularly the Opal mining town of Andamooka.

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4. Seven

Drama by James Morgan

SEVEN occupies the liminal space where wilderness and culture, tradition and modernity collide. The film unfolds in a surreal and stunning Arctic landscape of rearing cliffs and vast seascapes at the edge of civilization. The original narrative and unique setting comfortably brings the film into this year’s Top 10.

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3. Skywatch

Science Fiction by Colin Levy
(United States)

Some of you with a broader memory might remember that Colin Levy took on our number one spot in our very first Top 10 back in 2012 with The Secret Number. This year he introduced the Sci-Fi thriller ‘Skywatch’. A film about two outcast teens who figure out how to hack into a drone delivery system – the Amazon of the future – to swap shipments in transit and pull a prank on the girl next door. After they accidentally crash a drone on their apartment rooftop, they scramble to cover their tracks – but stumble upon a corporate secret that puts their very lives in danger. ‘Skywatch’ has gathered some incredible attention online, but most particularly the one of Seth MacFarlane who has landed the rights to the short and plans on adapting it for TV. An interesting peak at the near future, make sure to watch until the end for a little cameo!

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2. Brotherhood

Drama by Meryam Joobeur
(Tunisia, Canada, Sweden)

Meryam Joobeur’s ‘Brotherhood’ is an Oscar Nominated film, and with its sensitive subject and incredible storytelling perspective, we are not surprised that it hit all the marks that the Academy looks for. Coming from the Montreal production studio Midi la Nuit, who have produced no other than ‘Fauve‘ (2019’s Top 10 winner), and more recently ‘La Couleur de Tes Lèvres‘. ‘Brotherhood’ is a perfect depiction of shifting ideologies and perceptions, taken from the other point-of-view. A father is deeply shaken and suspicious when his eldest son returns home from Syria with a mysterious Syrian wife in tow…

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Best Short of 2021

1. The Neolith

Action by Daniel Boocock
(United Kingdom)

Daniel Boocock’s intentions were to make a film that can arguably change the definition of how a ‘short film’ can typically be identified. ‘The Neolith’ did exactly that, and that’s why it sits at #1 on this year’s Top 10! Brace yourself for a spectacular half-hour of cinema. A high-end, visually based subjective short that is ambitious in scope, yet loaded with substance.

Well done and congratulations Daniel and your entire crew. You have certainly set a high benchmark for yourselves and other filmmakers looking forward!

Read the review

10 is not enough?

Picking only 10 films from the hundreds of featured shorts is quite a difficult task. Here are a couple of films that deserve an honorary mention and that just grazed the Top 10.

A Look at The Past