How Short Films Are Changing

No story in the world of short-form content attracted as much attention (and derision) as the staggering collapse of Quibi, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s mobile video platform dedicated solely to “quick bites” of content. Don’t write the epitaph for shorts solely based on the demise of Quibi, however. As smartphones and internet speeds have better adapted to a video-based web, the ecosystem to exhibit and enjoy short films has only grown more expansive and exciting.

Over the past decade, there has been something of a renaissance for short film distribution online. Communities sprung up around curatorial sections like Vimeo’s staff picks and Short of the Week. Dedicated channels for short films like Field of Vision, Newness and Omeleto have built up large followings and racked up big view counts for their videos. Massive journalistic outfits such as The New York Times and The New Yorker invested heavily in short films, particularly documentaries, as part of their pivots beyond the written word. Feature-heavy streamers like Criterion Channel and Mubi also push their viewers towards shorts; even Netflix, which saw the short film categories as an easy path to Oscar glory, has gotten in on the game in a major way.

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netflix animated shorts

Netflix churns out content at a mile a minute, but every now and then, there’s a title that demands that you stop and think for a moment. And this month, there are three — though they’ll only ask that you stop and think for about 10 minutes.

Three diverse Netflix animated shorts being released this holiday season are turning attention toward powerful, emotionally resonant issues like grief, school shootings, and police brutality through striking storytelling and eye-catching art. The three shorts include the Laura Dern-produced short If Anything Happens I Love You; the directorial debut of Soul animator Frank E. Abney III, Canvas; and an experimental animated poem, Cops and Robbers.

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Todd Strauss-Schulson's Rat Short Film

If you’ve been perusing the internet since the election, there’s a good chance that you’ve encountered images and photos of a human dressed as a giant rat scrounging around New York City, dragging a giant slice of pizza or riding the subway. Though this is fairly typical of New York and all its weirdness, the human-sized rat is actually the result of the aptly titled short film Rat, directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson, the filmmaker behind A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas and Isn’t It Romantic, and starring stage actor Jonothon Lyons as the titular rodent.

Watch the Rat short film below to see Read More »

The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse Trailer

Mickey Mouse is an icon, albeit one who has grown into more of a corporate mascot than an actual character. But in recent years, he’s enjoyed a resurgence thanks to Disney Television Animation’s aptly titled Mickey Mouse shorts. Combining a classic artistic aesthetic that calls back to the old animated shorts that played in theaters with modern cartoon sensibilities, the show has created plenty of fun adventures for Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Pluto. That stylish iteration of Mickey and friends is back in The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse, a series of animated shorts coming to Disney+ just in time for Mickey’s birthday.

Watch The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse trailer below for a sneak peek. Read More »

If you have questions about the Frozen universe, Becky Bresee and Peter del Vecho can answer them. She was a supervising animator on the first film and the head of animation on the second. He is the producer of the entire franchise. Now, she’s the head of animation and he’s a producer and creative consultant for Once Upon a Snowman, a new prequel short film about Olaf the talking snowman’s first day of existence.

I spoke with Bresee and del Vecho ahead of the short’s streaming premiere and learned the key to telling an Olaf story, why they had to entirely recreate familiar scenes from scratch, and how the pandemic has changed the animation process. Once Upon a Snowman is streaming now on Disney+.

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Once Upon a Snowman Clip

Remember when the runtime Pixar’s Coco was increased by nearly a third of the film’s total length due to the fact that Disney attached the 22-minute short film Olaf’s Frozen Adventure to it? It was a brutal experience, especially for families who just wanted to take their kids to see a Pixar movie.

Well, Disney is at it again with a new Frozen short film focusing on Olaf. Thankfully, Once Upon a Snowman clocks in around only seven minutes, and you can watch one minute of it right now Read More »

Once Upon a Snowman Director Interview

What happened to Olaf the talking snowman in the window of time between his creation and his first meeting with Anna during Frozen? The new Disney short Once Upon a Snowman answers that question. It turns out that Josh Gad’s warm hug-loving character had a bit of an adventure, full of hijinks and existence-defining moments. And according to directors Trent Correy and Dan Abraham, it was all inspired by Back to the Future Part II.

Once Upon a Snowman is streaming now on Disney+, so before or after you watch it, you can read our interview with the filmmakers, who shared their inspiration for the short, how they made Olaf work as a central character, and whether there’s a bit of Looney Tunes in their Disney character.

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once upon a snowman trailer

Everyone’s favorite summer-loving snowman has another animated short dedicated just to him. In Once Upon a Snowman, we finally get to see Olaf’s unseen origins in a Frozen prequel short film coming to Disney+ this month. Watch the Once Upon a Snowman trailer below.

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the human voice review

In his 40-year career, Pedro Almodóvar was never tempted by the allure of the Hollywood lights to direct an English-language film, like so many of his international compatriots. The Spanish auteur’s unique brand of candy-colored kitsch, of bold colors and even bolder emotions, would only be neutered under a Hollywood studio, which Almodóvar was probably well aware of. So it’s fitting that he would only cross the language barrier under his own terms, in isolation, with the short film The Human Voice, anchored by a blazing performance from Tilda Swinton.

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Star Wars Squadrons short film

It’s been nearly nine months since the latest Star Wars movie hit theaters, four months since Star Wars: The Clone Wars came to an end, and we still have over a month to go until The Mandalorian season 2 hits Disney+. Star Wars fans who have gotten used to a constant diet of content from a galaxy far, far away may be desperate for more stories set in that universe. Now a story has arrived to fill that gap – albeit from an unexpected source.

Electronic Arts, the video game company behind the upcoming game Star Wars: Squadrons, has released a seven-minute short film called Hunters, which tracks what happens to an Imperial pilot in the aftermath of a gigantic space battle. Check it out below. Read More »