Savi the Cat (2022) [Tribeca Film Festival]

Directors Bryan Tucker and Netsanet Tjirongo’s “Savi the Cat” is one of the more unsuspecting short documentaries of the year. It’s a human story, but one that revolves around owning a pet. It’s amazing what adopting a pet can with and to your life. It can change it in ways that we never thought were possible, which is why so many pets are up for adoption. Not many people realize just how much of a task it can be to maintain and keep any kind of domestic animal. With “Savi the Cat,” the pair of owners not only learns about the humongous task that is of owning a cat, but the toll it inevitably takes on their relationship in the long run.

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Five Websites To Find The Best Short Films, Part 2

Early Internet viral short “George Lucas in Love.”

Seven years ago I posted a list of five great websites you can find the best short films, and thankfully more indie film websites have continued popping up. The need for short films hasn’t thinned over the years, thank goodness. Short films are great launch pads for big time directors, they’re great for proof of concepts to sell to studios, and they can just be mini-masterpieces that, at most, are about thirty minutes.

Hell, major film festivals like Fantasia, Slamdance, and Sundance still have short film line ups, so there’s no denying short films are absolutely valid forms of filmmaking. If you find a great short film, time just flies. That’s the joy of being a film lover.

If you fancy yourself a connoisseur of short films, or are interested in reviewing them for your blog, or podcast, or tiktok, here are five I wholeheartedly recommend. 

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Pillow Party Massacre (2023)

One of the things I wish horror movies would stop doing is the meta-dialogue drop where a character proclaims “I feel like I’m in a horror movie!” to which someone replies “Well this isn’t a horror movie! This is real life.” Please stop that. I know I’m watching a horror movie. I don’t need to know that the characters know that we’re watching a horror movie. That said, “Pillow Party Massacre” is a mix of “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Slaughter High” but with none of the fun hacking and slashing that goes with them. There’s nary a pillow party or a respectable massacre to be had.

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Killer Kites (2023)

With “Killer Kites,” you’re facing a movie that’s genuinely critic proof, and has a clear idea about what it is from the first moment it starts. It’s only an hour in length and spends a lot of its time trying to turn kites in to mythological monsters. So, you either go in knowing what to expect, or you turn around look for another means of entertainment. I have to admit that Alan Dale and Austin Frosch’s horror comedy won me over from the opening credits.

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The Third Saturday in October: Part I (2023)

Hey even if you don’t like the experiment that Jay Burleson has concocted, you have to give “The Third Saturday in October” its credit for being so ambitious. The movies seem to have been made on a very modest budget, but director Burleson has an obvious adoration for slasher movies of all kinds. “Part I” of the series is a love letter to John Carpenter’s “Halloween” and seventies slasher films in general, and while embracing slasher tropes, he does a rare thing and gives us an African American movie maniac. Not just that, but a horrifying African American movie maniac.

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The Third Saturday in October: Part V (2023)

There’s a ton of creativity and fun to be had behind writer and director Jay Burleson’s pair of slasher films. With the pair of movies you have what is an admirably constructed mythology, along with a cast of performers that are the absolute highlight of the movie. Even the more irritating characters eventually won me over, and that’s saying a lot. In spite of the warts and all, Burleson gets creative from the outset with a pair of films that have to be appreciated and experienced backward.

So, you have to watch “Part V” before you can even watch “Part I.”

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Going Nowhere (2022)

One of the things that being a filmmaker does is it grants you the ability to know the true hardships of really making a film. For an indie filmmaker, simply getting your work out there is not just a labor of love, but it is laborious in and of itself. “Going Nowhere” is thankfully one of the many very good indie productions about making movies. Izzy Shill’s feature film debut is a meta-mock documentary about the struggles that come with getting a movie finished. Along the way she also tackles ideas about human relationships, getting the perfect message across with your film, and the impostor syndrome.

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Superman Awakens (2023)

Antonis and Stavros Fylladitis’s short fan film “Superman Awakens” is an absolute accomplishment. It’s only four minutes in length but it conveys a very interesting and intriguing story that is complimented by the massive animation. Rather than attempt a live action film, “Superman Awakens” is animated through CGI, created with Unreal Engine 5 using Lumen technology, and tells the tale of a Superman that has lost it all and is trying to find a reason to keep going.

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