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Hidden Treasures: The 3 Best Free Short Films on YouTube

W[/eltdf_dropcapsWe are definitely experiencing the golden era of TV series: following the popularity of milestones like Game of Thrones and Netflix success stories like Orange is the New Black and The House of Cards, TV productions have become more elaborate, more thoughtful, and more ambitious. Meanwhile, feature films continue to be celebrated as art and generate multi-million blockbusters each year. Yet there is one form of this visual art that remains underestimated: the short film.

Are Short Films the Entertainment of the Future?

This might not be true for very long, as the rise of series might also be attributed in part to another factor: our increasing craving for short-form entertainment. Many people prefer the convenience of streaming a 30- or 45-minute episode to the commitment needed to invest a couple of hours in watching a movie. And scientists confirm that point: a study by Microsoft found that human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000, roughly around the time that mobiles became an integral part of our lives, to just 8 seconds in 2015. For the record, the average attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds. An era of smartphones and multitasking makes also for developments in human behavior, it seems.

Along with our love for content on shorter form comes also our fondness for free entertainment, which is especially true if you take a look at gaming: free mobile game apps like Pokémon Go have seen immense success, while online sites that offer free games like no deposit bingo are attracting more and more players and massively popular multiplayer games like League of Legends and the like are free to play. Much in the same vein, the film industry regularly makes short films available on YouTube and similar platforms. Some of these short films are hidden treasures and many feature well-known actors: so here is our top-3.

The Best Short Films on YouTube

  1. Gregory Go Boom

A short film written and directed by Janicza Bravo, Gregory Go Boom features Michael Cera as a paraplegic young man that tries to find love in an awkward way. He goes on blind dates with women who do not know he is in a wheelchair until he appears. On one of these dates, a violent ex-partner shows up and things go downhill from there.

It is no wonder that the short won Grand Jury Prize for Narrative Short at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. With a tense and chilling performance from Cera, this dark comedy/drama short really captures the harshness of being shunned – and Bravo explained to an audience member that challenged her view of the world as “very dark” that the film was intended to reflect that universal emotion of isolation and drew on her own experiences of being a woman and a person of color.

  1. Castello Cavalcanti

This short delightful and optimistic film is every bit as colorful and dreamy as any other by Wes Anderson, who wrote and directed it – and although it was financed by Prada, the allusions to the brand are so fleeting that they give new meaning to the saying “if you blink, you might miss them”. It also features Jason Schwartzman, who has frequently collaborated with Anderson in films such as The Darjeeling Limited, Moonrise Kingdom, and The Grand Budapest Hotel, as the lead character.

Schwartzman portrays a Formula 1 driver for the US named Jed Cavalcanti who crashes his car in the middle of a quiet 1955 Italian village public square, as he struggles not to finish last in a countryside race – and he also crashes head-first into his past, as he soon realizes that he has found himself in Castello Cavalcanti, his ancestral homeland. The film cuts regularly pay tribute to Federico Fellini, who Anderson credits as a major influence, while the title itself pays homage to another of his favorite directors, Brazilian-born Alberto Cavalcanti.

  1. Connection

This short was inspired by a real-life incident regarding the fate of Belarus Free Theatre – which is directly involved in its production, with members of the theatre company writing the script, directing and starring. The creators of the Belarus Free Theatre were forced to seek asylum in Britain when they were threatened with political imprisonment after the 2010 presidential election, and the film plays around with the idea of freedom and exile.

It features Jude Law and Belarusian theatre man Nikolai Khalezin as themselves, as they incidentally meet at an airport. Even though they struggle to communicate, as they do not speak the same language, they soon find that they have more in common than they think: neither of them can go home safely tonight. Yet the reasons are very different: paparazzi are gathered around the home of the first, and the latter finds out that he will be arrested as soon as he lands for doubting the results of the election.

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