The launch of Netflix's LOVE, DEATH + ROBOTS volume 2 might have been the biggest news in the world of short film in May, but as the streaming giant unleashed eight new shorts as part of their much-hyped genre anthology, here on S/W we featured 20 award-winning short films from all corners of the world and put together a playlist of the best shorts films about mental health. Featuring a couple of stand-out horror shorts from Russia and Ukraine (ELEUSIS & Tale of the Deaf), a documentary exploring the world of foley sound and a surprisingly prescient 3D animation, our May coverage was as eclectic as ever, but below are the films the S/W team decided to highlight as worthy of extra attention (if you're yet to check them out).
Whenever assembling this playlist of team favourites for a month, I always try to uncover a tangible link between the films featured, something that connects the films together - whether themes, approach or genre - and showcases why we love them so much. For May, that link was easier than most months to reveal. Four films (including our 'Most Viewed' short) from four female directors, this playlist of shorts was connected by more than just the gender of their creators, as they are all linked by their desire to present a female perspective not often captured on film. Whether examing the long-lasting, damaging effects of how Freud's theories became the bedrock for the "pervasive thinking that silences and shames victims of sexual assault" or eliciting audience outrage through a story of housing discrimination in Mumbai, these films have the potential to change the way you view the world - in just over 10-minutes (per film).
Like a more cringeworthy answer to close mother-daughter relationships á la Gilmore Girls, Renée Marie Petropoulos grips the viewer's attention and never lets go in the unfolding mixture of awkwardness, titillation and intense discomfort, right up to the crushing finale. I wouldn't be surprised if this short causes some heated discussions and can't wait for the feature film treatment. - Georg Csarmann.
Revisiting one of Freud’s most famous case studies through recreations and archival footage might not instantly sound like the recipe for a gripping and topical short doc, but Kate Novack's incredible vision turns Hysterical Girl into one of the most powerful and memorable shorts you'll see in 2021. If you're yet to give Hysterical Girl the chance it so richly deserves...go watch it now. - Rob Munday
Infuriating, but not without glimpses of absurdist humor, India's Reema Sengupta subverts expectations with this grounded social realist drama. - Jason Sondhi
Whenever delving into our analytics to look at our 'Most Viewed' film from any particular month, I always feel a bit sorry for those shorts launched towards the tail end of the period, as however well they do, how can they compete with a film launched 20-odd days before? For most of May, Maisie Richardson-Sellers' Sunday's Child (featured on May 5th) looked set to prove that it is always the film launched earliest in the month that picks up the most views - but with just five days of the month left, we featured Anette Sidor's F*ck You and it was a runaway success. I talked in my write-up for the film how its explicit title and provocative premise would catch the attention of an online audience (the film already has over 200k views on Vimeo) and that proved true as the film outshone (in terms of views) all those the came before it May.