I’m changing it up this year with how I present my awards and as such, I’m presenting the Solzy Awards for Short Films prior to the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
It’s been a great year for film. When it comes to short films, I’ve seen some films that have blown me away. I’ve seen some films that I don’t think that anyone could have possibly imagined. Without any further adieu, here are the winners of this year’s Solzy Awards for Short Film.
Best Live-Action Drama Short: Souls of Totality
I spoke with director Richard Raymond when I attended Tribeca in April. If there’s a film that outright blew me away this year, it’s easily Souls of Totality. Starring Tatiana Maslany and Tom Cullen, the film centers around a cult and their sacrifices that take place during the Great American Solar Eclipse. The cinematography on this film is nothing short of impressive to say the least. As I wrote in my review, what’s truly impressive about the film is that it was shot on the day of the solar eclipse and they didn’t miss their shot. Watch the film here.
Best Live-Action Comedy Short: Shiva Baby
I first watched Shiva Baby during SXSW and spoke to writer-director Emma Seligman about the short film. The basic premise is that a young woman sees her sugar daddy during a Shiva. For a film that takes place during Shiva, it gets quite hysterical because of the awkward moments. I don’t think anybody watches shorts thinking that it could be a feature film but there’s so much potential here. I look forward to seeing what projects that Seligman tackles next.
Best Live-Action Sci-Fi Short: The 716th
Another film from Tribeca here. If I can describe The 716th as a mix of things, it would be think M*A*S*H meets Star Trek. For what director Andrew Bowen was able to do with a shoestring budget, this film is rather impressive. It’s a lot of fun, too. There’s no denial that The 716th is ambitious in what it wants and this short film offers a lot of sci-fi fun. The film can currently be watched on Amazon Prime.
I didn’t watch many animated films this year but Animal Behaviour piqued my interest during TIFF. Writers-directors-animators Alison Snowden and David Fine won an Oscar for Bob’s Birthday back in 1995. This was also the last time the two filmmakers made any kind of theatrical short. They’re back over 20 years later with a film revolving around a group therapy session. What makes this therapy session so fun and unique is focus is on animals. If the whole idea of animals needing therapy wasn’t comical enough, both Snowden and Fine are able to find the humor in the premise. It is one of the finest animated short films that anyone will see in all of 2018. I spoke with the Oscar-winning duo during TIFF. For more information, click here.
Best Documentary Short Subject: Death Metal Grandma
Leah Galant’s documentary short, Death Metal Grandma, follows Holocaust survivor Inge Ginsberg as she makes one final attempt for fame as a Death Metal Singer. Here’s a fun fact: Ginsburg served as a spy for the OSS in the 1940s! Ginsburg auditioned for America’s Got Talent. No matter what happens with the audition, if there’s a message from the film, it’s that one should never give up on their dreams. I spoke to Leah Galant about the documentary prior to the SXSW screening. Watch the film here.
I want to explain why you don’t see The Real Thing among the winners. Because the film premiered in the summer of 2017, it is ineligible for the Solzy Awards. The online release didn’t come until November 2018 so I had yet to previously screen the film. If I had been able to screen it in 2017, it would have been an outright winner. But as with any awards, there are rules. For shorts to qualify for the Oscars, they can’t premiere anytime earlier than October 1 of the previous year. I did see some films in 2018 that premiered during last year’s Toronto International Film Festival. This also speaks to how long some of these films run on the festival circuit.