So Much Drama, So Little Time
Filminute is a contemporary film festival that features the best one-minute films we can find. Here are 25 short introductions to 25 great one-minute films.
Every year, Filminute, the international one-minute film festival, challenges filmmakers, writers, animators, artists, designers and creative producers everywhere to develop and submit the world’s best one-minute films. From hard-hitting to light-hearted, the 25 films selected bring a range of perspectives and engaging cinematic stories that resonate far beyond their 60 seconds.
To help navigate this year’s collection, we’ve prepared short introductions to each film. Enjoy the films, share your favorites and cast your vote between Oct 1–25 on www.filminute.com.
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A WEEKEND WITH HARRY (South Africa) dir. Bauke Brouwer
When couples break up, we’re familiar with the loose ends and the struggle over what “possessions” each side will keep. That fight over children, the family home, holiday schedules, and so on, is rarely pleasant and brings out the worst in a couple. Director Bauke Brouwer captures all that nastiness.
The tension and escalation of conflict is probably often worse than the conflicts that were part of the couples lives when they chose to be together. But in the end, most couples come to some kind of resolution, but what the director and the actors deftly hint at is that resolution sometimes allows a hint of reconciliation to sneak in.
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A2042 (Spain) dir. David Castro Gonzalez
This film is timely and contemporary as the scrutiny of police forces validly takes hold in many cities and countries.
The director throws the audience for a loop by bringing us close to one character traumatized by a violent encounter. We are left to pause and reflect on humanity that can be found on both sides of a conflict.
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BACKTRACK (USA) dir. Nathan Fisher
Here’s what happens when you get an average superhero matter-of-factly explaining their valid yet unremarkable super-heroic powers. Even in the Marvel Universe, some superheroes are destined for B-list status.
Clark Kent inexplicably leaves his clothes in phone booths all over Metropolis. And we’ve grown comfortable with The Incredible Hulk’s tattered predicament every time he settles down from a rampage.
But these guys make up for these loose ends with their great powers. The hero of this film doesn’t shy away from reminding us that while he can bend the laws of physics, his clothing is decidedly of this world.If Deadpool and Ant Man can have their own movies, well then make way for Backtrack too!
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BAHARAT GIRL (Spain/Germany) dir. Javier Sobmazas
It was not surprising to receive many submissions about migrants and refugees. These stories have been central to the news cycle for over a year. BAHARAT GIRL (Spain / Germany) caught our attention with its contrasts — this film pulled a story of hope from a camp full of people living through a desperate situation.
The documentary follows an Austrian volunteer at the Idomeni refugee camp in Greece, close to the Macedonian border. Our first world protagonist has privilege and access — a passport that got her into the country in 5 minutes. Meanwhile, the 8500 refugees in the makeshift camp have nowhere to go.
In May 2016, the refugees were forcibly dispersed and the camp bulldozed to the ground.
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CASCABEL (Spain) dir. Ignacio F. Rodo
A Freudian field day indeed. Most of us in a relationship will recognize the veiled accusations and dissections of behavior that couples sometimes INFLICT upon each other. And yet, maybe she really did just misplace her keys. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
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CLAIRVOYANCE (Japan) dir. Hiroki Yokoyama
We loved the tension of this parlor trick delivered to an audience of one. Maybe this is all taking place on a theatrical stage, or maybe on camera to a rapt audience, but the only person we see who needs to be impressed brings gravitas and scrutiny to the scene.
Our sceptic/antagonist is a perfect complement to the eager-to-please magician and in silence we are left to contemplate some magic.
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CUTTING ROOM (Canada) dir. Nathan White & Richard Colmer
Is this an audition, as the title of the film might suggest? Or is this a psychologist’s interview? Or is it a police interview of a murderer? Doesn’t matter! We’d certainly be interested in hearing what audiences perceive the context of this film to be.
We easily begin to imagine so much more than what our main character shares with us in the film. But part way through we couldn’t decide if the reverie was sweet, philosophical, or sinister. We are given no answers, and yet this film is very complete and satisfying.
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FISH (Iran) dir. Saman Hosseinpuor
The director makes us conscious of time slipping by and presents us with well-crafted and unbearable choices the lead character must make. We are struck by the choice she must make at the staircase, and then we the audience gasp for breath — as if it were our last — as we become desperately aware of time passing.
In Filminute’s early years, we noticed how often directors were self conscious about the one-minute passing. Directors chose clocks, watches, stop lamps, and timers to make the point. However, as the years passed, these heavy-handed references slipped away and directors go into our heads much more subtly yet powerfully and we arrive at films like this.
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HELEN (USA) dir. Aden Wexberg
What is striking about HELEN (USA) is how lean yet powerful the story is. The film is lean not only in composition and production, but also by how little the director chose to reveal.
The audience is given no more than what we needed to see and hear in order for us to be hit hard by the fate of 2 characters. The memoriam brings us to reality with yet another hard landing.
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HUMAN POSTCARDS (France) dir. Nora Jaccaud & Arie van der Poel
We’ve had the pleasure of HUMAN POSTCARDS (France) at our festival before. Nora Jaccaud & Arie van der Poel’s one-minute video portraits are delivered with such poise. The series captures essential and inspiring insights about everyday people from around the world. What we learn about her subjects feels gigantic when compared to the 60 second delivery of the film.
We are introduced to Jake, a triple amputee. Jake acknowledges the persistence of his challenges in a very matter-of-fact way, but he makes no excuses and points out what we must all essentially do to achieve anything in this world. We must try. Watch this film and be inspired.
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JUST KIDS (Spain) dir. Lucia G-Luben
The director of JUST KIDS (Spain) has touched on a raw topic that we can’t help but think about whenever we encounter news stories about psychopathic children. Who’s to blame for the behavior of “demon seed” children?
Did something lead these children to seek revenge? And afterward, how are these children to be treated by society? The younger the children, the tougher the questions, and the more elusive the answer.
Plenty to think about before, during, and long after the voice of the narrator has trailed off.
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KITE (Iran) dir. Eiraj Afkar
Violence against women and girls takes place around the world with alarming frequency and, often, with impunity. Whether a nation is at war or at peace doesn’t make much of a difference — either way, women and girls face disproportionate risk.
In KITE (Iran), our young protagonist happens upon violence escalating against a young girl his age. As kids often naturally do, he does the right thing. Because doing nothing is not an option.
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LA PAZ, BOLIVIA (Spain) dir. Ignacio Vuelta
This is a uniquely crafted, paranormal story. The young boy at the heart of this film crosses time, location, and cultures. The director covers a lot of ground in a minute, literally and figuratively.
The film LA PAZ, BOLIVIA (Spain) hints at greater intrigue simply from the interaction between the boy’s parents. Their concerned glances (perhaps knowing glances…) speak volumes and add to the layers of detail and mystery casually sprinkled through the film.
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LIPSTICK (Ukraine) dir. Elizabeth Telbyzova
This film packs a lot in by delicately balancing complex relationships, a richly claustrophobic set, rituals, obligations, and a dead body. So much drama, so little time!
LIPSTICK (Ukraine) presents us with performances that are hard to look away from. But there’s as much drama and intrigue delivered by the silent person in the room and the invisible person at the door.
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LOVE AT FIRST LIGHT (Ireland) dir. Caroline Grace-Cassidy
LOVE AT FIRST LIGHT (Ireland) is a comedic ode to the morning after. This particular one happens to be a confused morning after… but we’re sure these characters were feeling the love like they said they were.
“Some people call it a one night stand but we can call it paradise.” — Duran Duran
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MIGRAOT (Israel) dir. Yali Herbet & Tal Kantor
Conceptual, philosophical, and spiritual, MIGRAOT (Israel) is a reminder to the audience that humans and nature share a common trajectory and, potentially, a common fate.
The directors deliver their punch quietly, leaving the audience to contemplate a message delivered by a mystical whale. The sound design is also quite sublime.
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NOV.ELA (Uruguay) dir. Facundo Sosa
It’s with great irony that the male antagonist in this film delivers the line “Don’t ‘honey’ me.” NOV.ELA (Uruguay) undermines audience expectations — we are quickly reminded of the pervasive sexism of the film industry.
Yup…Hollywood’s got a woman problem.
95 percent of cinematographers, 89 percent of screenwriters, 82 percent of editors, 81 percent of executive producers and 77 percent of producers were men. (The Celluloid Ceiling: Behind the Scenes Employment of Women on the Top 250 Films of 2013 by Martha M. Lauzen, Ph.D., San Diego State University, 2014 http://bit.ly/1A0PPwV )
Kathryn Bigelow’s quote at the top of the film really sets the scene. She happens to be 1 of only 3 women in Hollywood to have ever directed a films with a budget above $100 million.
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ONE DAY IN JULY (Italy) dir. Hermes Mangialardo
Lean, stylish and friendly animation is the sleight of hand put to effective use in ONE DAY IN JULY (Italy). By the end of the film, the director has gently led us to a critique of arguably the worst part of armed conflict — civilian casualties.
Children are often inadvertently harmed in war zone. It’s a whole other level of hell when the targeting of children is intentional. With all that’s wrong in parts of the world, here we have yet another timely critique.
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PAIJANA (India) dir. Rohin Raveendran
There are labourers and migrant workers all over the world surviving in overcrowded living situations. The director of PAIJANA (India) tackles a sidestory to this grim reality.
The story unfolds in the middle of a cramped room where many workers are sleeping side by side, packed like sardines. In that claustrophobic space, a man and a woman hold their emotions and passions in check. Yet, even under great constraints, and with spare interactions between our two characters, love and desire is shared and celebrated.
PAIJANA doesn’t moralise or pass judgment on those who exploit labourers and migrant workers. However, it’s hard not to think about the plight of these people and of those who perpetuate this abuse.
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RABBIT GIRL (Switzerland) dir. Riccardo Bernasconi & Francesca Reverdito
This film begins with a nerdy bookseller who, as it turns out, leads a double life as a burlesque performer. What!?! Yes, the director quickly gains our attention with a charming and fantastical premise. The bookseller’s love story with the delivery boy is at risk when he suddenly appears at one of her shows.
RABBIT GIRL (Switzerland) delivers circus-like characters, and a rabbit, awkwardly making their way to reach their cheeky destiny.
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RUNNER’S HIGH (USA) dir. Joshua Van Horn
The euphoria and elevated state of mind achieved by runners is this near mythical thing. Those who’ve experienced “runner’s high” talk about it knowingly as if they are part of some elite club. Those of us who haven’t experienced it may simply resort to other “vices” that elevate our endorphins.
Our protagonist in RUNNER’S HIGH (USA) finds his way to an adrenaline kick in the pants and picks up his pace in a most dramatic and comedic way. As is the case with dark comedy, you will enjoy your discomfort AND your laughter when you watch this film.
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STITCHED UP (UK) dir. Martin Moseley
Great directors sometimes choose to make beautiful horror films — Tony Scott, Guillermo del Toro, Tarsem Singh, and others have all had their hands in that genre at some point in their careers. STITCHED UP (UK) hints at that potential. This film is beautifully shot, the performances are tersely delivered, and it’s all difficult to watch.
We can imagine this unhappy couple before this scene. We can viscerally imagine them afterward. Therein lies the horror. Take a breath.
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THE GHOST OF YESTERDAY (Germany) dir. Jochen Stryjski
The credits at the end of the film mention the “actor and lyrics” of Leander Sukov. Lyrics? Ahhh, this is the work of Sukov, novelist and poet, transformed into a one-minute screenplay. We love the inspiration! Also, that’s Sukov himself in the film.
GHOSTS OF YESTERDAY (Germany) follows and pays homage to writers. As we follow Sukov through the house, he reflects on the relationship between ghosts and great literature. Ghosts are from the past and act on the present. Ghosts also happen to read literature for the same reason we do.
In addition to the bridge between the past and present, we are also struck by the composition of the film. The presentation reminds us of Dutch artist M.C. Escher and his infinite, impossible scenes.
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TO RING OR NOT TO RING (Romania) dir. Razvan Du
Honesty is a rare and wonderful thing in a film. And, as Filminute reviewer Carlo Perassi points out, TO RING OR NOT TO RING (Romania) is flush full of it. We feel no artifice, just pure emotion in this low-key, yet skillfully directed exploration of a universally understood coming-of-age moment.
The director shows a deep understanding and appreciation of the one-minute format, with multiple layers of tension, a memorable climax, and a charmingly awkward denouement — all delivered at an unhurried pace.
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VOLTIGE (France) dir. Brunel Léo
Talented, yet helpless, these mechanics deserve their own movie or television show because all the ingredients as to why this could work are here. Do you agree?
Here’s why we think so. Without saying anything at all, 2 great performers with 2 different personality types remind us what Laurel and Hardy would be like if they were mechanics. And animated. And acrobatic.