They did it, so can you. Some of the best short films that served as breakthroughs for the worlds leading directors. We all wish we had ‘big toys’ to play with like an ARRI or R3D camera. But lets be honest. These days an Iphone can keep up with the technology on some of these aging short films. Get inspired from some of these below, remember its all about story, story, story! Never forget that. Hone your technique and go make a film. You never know it could be that breakthrough you have been looking for!
David Lowery, “Pioneer”
Before David Lowery became a breakout filmmaker with his 2013 drama “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” (his second feature film after 2009 debut “St. Nick”), he released this 2011 short about a father telling his son a violent story about his absent mother.
Taika Waititi, “Two Cars, One Night”
Taika Waititi was Oscar nominated for Best Live Action Short Film with his 2004 short “Two Cars, One Night.” The film centers around two young boys and the woman they meet in the parking lot of a New Zealand pub.
Nacho Vigalondo, “7:35 in the Morning”
Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo was Oscar nominated for Best Live Action Short Film with “7:35 in the Morning,” shot in black and white. The film stars Marta Belenguer as a woman who encounters a mysterious man one morning during her trip to her local coffee shop.
Christopher Nolan, “Doodlebug”
Christopher Nolan is beloved around the world for his mind-bending narratives, and he got his start with the 1997 short film “Doodlebug.” The three-minute short stars Jeremy Theobald as a man who has an identity crisis while trying to kill a small bug that’s crawling around his apartment.
Martin Scorsese, “The Big Shave”
Martin Scorsese’s short film “The Big Shave” stars Peter Bernuth as a man shaving in his bathroom who cuts his skin and continues to cut deeper. Scorsese made the film as a metaphor for the United States’ self destruction in the Vietnam War. The filmmaker made the short while attending film school at New York University.
Lynne Ramsay, “Small Deaths”
Master filmmaker Lynne Ramsay takes a look at three pivotal encounters in a young girl’s life in her 1996 short film “Small Deaths.” The film won the Short Film Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Ramsay would make her feature directorial debut three years later with “Ratcatcher.”
Tim Burton, “Vincent”
Tim Burton worked with Disney on his 1982 stop-motion horror short film “Vincent,” about a young boy obsessed with Edgar Alan Poe who performs experiments on his dog in order to create a zombie. The short was inspired by Burton’s love of German Expressionist films of the 1920s.
David Lynch, “The Alphabet”
David Lynch’s various short films represent some of the most experimental and challenging work of his career. The director’s 1968 short “The Alphabet” combines live action filmmaking and animation to tell the story of a man who experiences a nightmare. Be sure to seek out “The Grandmother” afterward.
Spike Jonze, “Welcome Home”
Spike Jonze teamed up with Apple to direct the short film “Welcome Home,” starring the musician FKA Twigs as a woman who falls into a dream world and meets a new version of herself. The short was created to market Apple’s HomePod device, but Jonze’s creativity made the project more than just an advertisement.
Neil Blomkamp, “Alive in Joburg”
Neill Blomkamp found great success with his feature film “District 9,” which grossed $210 million on a $30 million production budget and earned an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. The movie was based on the director’s 2005 short “Alive in Joburg.”