We live in an age where it has never been easier to create and share content online. Short film is one of the industries that has been positively impacted by this digital revolution–it is now more accessible than ever before for filmmakers to turn their ideas into a reality. Here are just a handful of the wonderful short films that are out there–all free to watch on YouTube.
1. "Septem" by Hazel Hayes
A short film by Hazel Hayes about seven strangers in a room who are told that one of them must take a pill within the allotted time or they will all die. Unexpected, clever, and thought provoking. Watch it here.
2. "Friend Like Me" by Sammy Paul
If you're a fan of Aladdin, you'll most certainly enjoy this short about a boy and his genie. As quirky as it is dramatic, it truly has something for everyone. Find it here.
3. "The Imp of the Perverse" by Benjamin Cook
The first short film produced by Ben Cook (of Becoming YouTube fame), this short film elaborates on a feeling (phenomenon?) that we've all experienced -- "l'appel du vide" (the call of the void). Watch it here.
4. "Offline" by Charlie McDonnell
A comedy of errors of sorts, this film pokes fun at our modern dependence on the internet. If you want to watch something that'll make you laugh, this is it. Find it here.
The first of filmmaker Bertie Gilbert's short films will always have a special place in my heart for being the first short film to make me fall in love with film. It quickly draws the audience in, starting in medias res, and will captivate you until the very end. Watch it here.
6. "Final Space" by Olan Rogers
One of just two animated short films to make this list, this short by brilliant storyteller Olan Rogers has everyone waiting with bated breath for a continuation of the series (which is in the works!). Funny and heartbreaking at the same time. Enjoy it here.
7. "Oscar's Hotel" by PJ Liguori
As long as we're on the subject of brilliant storytellers, we have to mention the pilot episode of Oscar's Hotel (a series later continued on Vimeo that is well worth paying for). PJ has a way of making this cast of magical creatures seem somehow relatable. Weird in the best way. Watch it here.
8. "Ghost Fighting Corporation" by Jack Howard and Dean Dobbs
Jack and Dean have been known for their comedic sketches on YouTube for years, and at long last they have finally produced a short film! This funny short tells the story of two men who find their house haunted and the measures they take to defeat the poltergeist. Find it here.
9. "Super Brainy Zombies" by Hazel Hayes
If you take a moment to imagine what a real modern zombie apocalypse would look like, this is probably it. Funny and yet...something more. I will say, I'm not typically one for the zombie genre, but Hazel did a brilliant job. Check it out here.
10. "Blue Sushi" by Bertie Gilbert
This short does an excellent job of portraying a trans man's struggle to come to terms with his identity while under heavy public scrutiny. Relevant, tasteful, and interesting. Watch it here.
11. "Zero" by Zealous Creative
Y'all, I never thought an animated film where the main character is made of string would make me cry, but it does every time. From heart-wrenching to uplifting, Zero will truly make you think. It has won several awards and been translated into over 40 different languages for a reason. Find it here.
12. "Miss Earth" by Anna Akana
If you like shows like Doctor Who, this short is right up your alley! It's hard to be truly creative nowadays because it seems like everything has already been done, but Anna's film is truly refreshing. Watch it here.
13. "I Don't Want to Go Back Alone" by Daniel Ribeiro
I had to include at least one foreign language film to do this article any justice, and I doubt I could have picked one better than this. (Don't worry, it's close captioned in English!) A story so beautiful that it was later turned into a short film (The Way He Looks, 2014). Find it here.
These are just a handful of the many short films that are out there, on YouTube or otherwise. I am forever grateful to the filmmakers who have produced these works of art, for both entertaining and inspiring me, and I highly suggest you check out their hard work!