Short Film Recommendations!

I just finished watching (for like the 14th time) a short film I love quite a bit , Don Hertzfeldt’s World of Tomorrow (can’t recommend it enough), and it got me in the mood to watch some more. The thing is, I just don’t really know where to start. I don’t get a lot of exposure to them except for when the Oscars roll around or the occasional film critic gets retweeted by someone I follow.

The more I think about it, the more they seem like perfect viewing for the particularly busy part of my life I’m in right now where I don’t always have 2+ hours to dedicate to a full length film. I’d love to hear everyone’s favorites, even if it’s something that’s a little longer that you’re dying to tell people about!


It’s a bit classic and experimental, but Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon is one of the few short films that has really stuck with me over the years. The ideas it had in terms of both cinematic technique and visual symbolism are so ahead of their time. David Lynch has cited her works as a major inspiration.

For something completely different, Celles et Ceux des Cimes et Cieux is a short animation with inspiration from Hayao Miyazaki, Jean Giraud, and Syd Mead. As I understand it, this was a project done by a French college student, and it functions as a trailer for a hypothetical film that doesn’t exist. I often think about this and wonder what the full film would be like.


I was literally about to recommend World of Tomorrow! It is such a fantastic short film that I’ve watched five or six times with my boyfriend who’s obsessed with it.

rubs hands with glee

I’ll second Meshes of the Afternoon. A fantastic short.

Night and Fog clocks in at about half an hour and, in my opinion, is the best documentary film I’ve made. It’s about Resnais’ attempt to make a documentary about the holocaust. It’s released by Criterion and you can watch it on Filmstruck.

In the early days of Disney, they produced a series of shorts set to music called Silly Symphonies. There are so many of these that are absolute gold and I’d argue some of the best stuff Disney ever made. I’d say choice shorts are The Old Mill, The Tortoise and the Hare (1935), and The Ugly Duckling (1939).

Outer Space is one of the most aggressive and didactic things you’ll ever watch and I absolutely love it. At 10 minutes, it’s worth a watch.

Buster Keaton’s early shorts are all lovely and most are public domain. One Week, Neighbors, and The Scarecrow are probably the three best.

I could keep going on and on. The Man Who Planted Trees, Balance, Vincent, The Red Balloon, The Wrong Trousers…

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It’s excellent, packs so much to think about into just 15 minutes. I would check out It’s Such a Beautiful Day by Hertzfeldt as well, heartbreaking and mesmerizing stuff

Whoa, thank you so much for all of these. I’m ashamed to say I’ve heard of almost none of them (except the Disney ones) so I get to go in completely fresh. Looking forward to it

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The Gobelins student film Trois Petit Points has a combination of visual aesthetics I haven’t seen anyone else use. It’s not exactly a subtle short, but each time the central visual metaphor reveals itself I find myself very invested.

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Mark Osborne’s More is fun bit of stop motion. I feel like it owes a LOT to the New Order track that plays underneath the whole thing.


I had a friend show me this a while back! Definitely giving it another watch.

Also just want to thank everyone for giving links, it’s super helpful and I’m bookmarking them all asap

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My father was a huge fan of rally, and cars in general, so he kept a huge collection of VHS films about cars. There were two i would constantly rewatch, C’était un rendez-vouz and Climb Dance. The latter in particular has been something i rewatch with frequency, and i still cannot get over my affection for the low quality, gravel-like engine sounds that is so characteristic of old movies.

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Came here to recommend this. I feel a bit out of love with it over time, but I still enjoy it.

You’re absolutely right it is carried by Elegia. Kind of cool, the song also featured in an MGS:V trailer.

A newer short I would recommend is Pear Cider and Cigarettes. It’s available a few places online to stream for $2. Well worth it.

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I’m actually in the process of putting together a short film. I’ve wanted to make films for as long as I can remember. This year I decided that in order to make something, I would have to set myself realistic goals. I attended some film classes after work, which put me into contact with a group of people who also wanted to make something. We pitched several ideas, and most people voted for my idea. I’ve got a final version of the script (after three drafts), have most of the actors cast and am going to be shooting it on location this weekend (so long as the weather is good).

As for short film recommendations:

The Smiling Man
I’m into my short horrors. This one creeped me out sufficiently.

The film maker who ran my film course made this one called Dolls. It’s just ran the festival circuit and was released online:

Made by Christopher Nolan. Gotta start somewhere.

Love and Other Chairs.
Because too many of my recommendations have been horrors.

Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life.
Peter Capaldi directed this and won an Oscar for his trouble.


max and marry then

I like Tokyo! which is a collection of three shorts about Tokyo by people from different countries. they’re very strange and surreal with great imagery.

This is my jam.

For something contemporary, Jim Cummings is putting out great work and making a big splash. His first film, Thunder Road, is the best short I’ve seen in years.

For something classic, Buster Keaton is the king of silent comedies. If you’re wary of checking out silent films, he’ll win you over. One Week is my favourite, but Cops and The Goat are classics.

If you’re into more experimental work, then I agree with several people above about Maya Deren and Meshes of the Afternoon.

I can heartily recommend Mr Biffo’s Found Footage, a series of shorts by Paul Rose, creator of teletext games magazine Digitiser. They alternate between comedic and disturbing and are often not work-safe but are nevertheless utterly brilliant. Episodes 1 - 7 share a faint narrative arc, concluding tonight with a sci-fi short, The Trojan Arse Protocol.

I always recommend this short because it’s quite charming and then creepy.