Short films are perfectly suited to Internet viewing. They require a little sacrifice in terms of attention span, fit perfectly into a coffee break at work and aren’t limited to any particular genre. Everyone can enjoy a good short film, be it a quick documentary about time travel or a hard hitting drama tackling the death of a loved one.
There are an incredible amount of short films online that can be streamed for free. Today’s Stuff to Watch isn’t focused on individual shorts, but instead resources that are jam-packed with short movies. Of course, there will be a selected film from each site – but I’d recommend exploring each site and finding something to your tastes. After all, there is quite a selection!
Indie Movies Online isn’t a website that’s solely dedicated to short film productions and you’ll find all sorts of freely streamable content on offer here. Documentaries and feature films make up a large chunk of the content along with a neatly categorised index of shorts from a variety of studios.
In addition to the usual drama, comedy and documentary productions, there are dedicated sections for Aardman films (think Wallace & Gromit, Creature Comforts) and British Film Institute shorts. Once you’ve exhausted the short film category it’s worth checking out the full-length productions for more free entertainment.
“Programme X: Secret Weapons” is a short 1972 sci-fi film directed by David Cronenberg. America is in the midst of a civil war and a scientist develops a drug that enhances fighting skills in humans. Will he give it to the government or the rebels that oppose the system?
A beautifully laid out website dedicated to the art of short films, Short of the Week has built up a healthy collection of movies from all over the world in a variety of styles and genres. Finding what you’re after is easy thanks to the nicely presented Film Directory which lists movies by genre, topic, style, country and collection.
There are also a number of playlists mainly focusing on the more successful productions, including winners of contests, best-of categories and films that have been featured in festivals like Sundance.
“Rest” puts a new spin on the zombie horror sub-genre by substituting the blood and guts for a very “human” look at the undead. The short follows the journey of a fallen World War I soldier who emerges 90 years after his death and tries to return home.
This particular website is a resource hub for all things film-making, so if you’re a student of film or considering a career in the film industry then it might be worth checking out. This particular sub-forum is specifically designed for students to post their own short productions for feedback and publicity.
This means you’ll get all sorts of productions posted on a regular basis – both good and not-so-good. Unfortunately due to the fact that it’s a forum, nothing is really categorised and you’ll have to dig to find what you want.
“Underground” is a short film that takes place aboard a London Underground train. The mood is as unsettling as it is intriguing as the film focuses on one distressed man clutching a woman’s handbag against the backdrop of a seemingly never-ending train journey.
This is another website focusing solely on short productions, with regular additions to the rather massive database of freely streamable films. Movies are categorised by genre as well as some must-see lists of BAFTA and Academy Award winners and nominees.
The website has two handy links at the top of the page – “Top Short Films” for popular items based on views and “New Short Films” for quickly checking what’s been added recently. There’s also a “Random Film” link which is great if you have absolutely no idea what to watch.
“Six Shooter” is a somewhat tragic Irish tale that takes place aboard a train. A man whose wife has recently died meets a potentially psychotic and dangerous youngster who has a profound effect on the rest of his journey. Upbeat and startlingly easy to watch, the film won Best Short Film (Live Action) at the 2006 Academy Awards.
FilmsShort isn’t the nicest looking website in the world (and the navigation could be improved) but it does provide quite a collection of shorts in a variety of genres, styles and runtimes. Areas of interest include “short shorts” that run for only a couple of minutes, and an exhaustive list of award winners and top films by nationality.
It’s hard to tell if the website has had a recent update or not, but there are still a good number of films here to occupy a good few lunchbreaks.
“Pixels” blends CGI and live action to create a retro-themed short like no other. Created by French film maker Patrick Jean, the film depicts an invading force of retro characters (Donkey Kong, Pac-Man and Space Invaders) who transform the world as we know it into a pixellated mess.
Unfortunately no longer serving new films, Coffee Shorts have had to abandon their video-on-demand project thanks to tighter VOD legislation in the UK requiring websites to pay a licence fee which many cannot afford.
Presently the films are still available so it’s still worth a visit. Productions are presented as an endless stream of video, allowing you to simply sit back and enjoy short after short.
“Blindsight” tells a macabre tale of a woman who loses her keys and a man who finds 100% of the things he ends up looking for. Surreal, modern and weighing in at under 5 minutes long it’s worth a watch before it’s taken offline!
There are hours and hours of short films available thanks to these resources. Many of the videos are hosted on YouTube and Vimeo so saving them for later only requires a simple click or two and the movie is added to your favourites.
If you’ve found any short films online that you absolutely love then share and recommend your favourites in the comments below!