The 25th Annual Palm Springs International Short Film Festival showcased over 300 films from around the world during its run from June 18 to June 24. “Best of the Fest” awards were given on the last day of the festival, including “The Christmas Gift” directed by Bogdan Muresanu taking the highest honor for Best of the Festival, “Guaxuma” directed by Nara Normande for Best International Short, and “Dani” directed by Lizzy Hogenson for Best Animated Short. From comedy to drama, and even horror, here are some short films that deserve recognition for their standout stories.
Having its world premiere at the Palm Springs International ShortFest, Balloon was the centerpiece in The Kids Are Alright program, featuring films centered on children in difficult circumstances. Balloon follows a teenager named Sam as he faces the struggles of bullying and trying to fit in at school. He comes to find that he possesses superpowers that could change the way people see him forever. The film does an excellent job of creating a coming-of-age superhero origin story that goes beyond comic books and delves deeper into contemporary issues of bullying and self-image.
Hailing from Spain, #Superinlove is a comedic exploration on the role social media plays in modern-day relationships. The film centers on a couple celebrating their “monthiversary” when the girlfriend inquires why her new beau does not post pictures of her online. The comedic timing and chemistry of the duo makes their argument engaging and hilarious to follow. The questions they pose about what online etiquette to abide by when posting about your significant other will leave a lasting impression on the society we live in today.
How to Be Alone
Atmospheric, witty, and foreboding are some adjectives to properly describe Kate Trefry’s How to Be Alone. Starring Stranger Things’ Joe Keery and Maika Monroe of It Follows fame, the film focuses on the inner thoughts and worries of a woman left alone in her apartment after her partner leaves for work. Monroe’s performance is dry and oozes the perfect balance of cynicism and humor. Tinged with neon glows and nightmarish shadows, How to Be Alone is an eerie glimpse into consuming isolation.
Looks can be deceiving in this French animated short about a couple that goes on a hiking trip and accidentally kills a woodland creature. Little do they know that the rest of its tribe is determined to avenge the death of their fallen brethren. Juxtaposed by bubbly animation and detailed gore, Wild Love is a unique blend of horror and comedy that will leave lasting images in your mind long after the screen goes black.
The comedic short Peggy fits right into the Welcome to the Neighborhood program, highlighting how one housewife is the envy of the entire block with a seemingly perfect family and lifestyle. This film takes several bizarre twists and turns, never missing a beat with its absurd comedy and suburban satire. It goes to show that not everything is as it appears on the outside.
Girl in the Hallway
Based on the real-life murder of Xiana Fairchild in 1999, Valerie Barnhart’s Girl in the Hallway is one man’s testimony surrounding the disappearance of a little girl who got abducted at his former apartment complex. Narrated in a passionate spoken word style and illustrated with haunting oil paintings and sketches, Girl in the Hallway plants a seed of dread in the minds of viewers, bringing an intensity that could only manifest through the reality of the situation.