It's been a few weeks since I won my first film festival award. Since then, I've been watching other people's short films on YouTube, and I have to say, I am blown away by the amount of talent some independent filmmakers have. A couple weeks ago, I came across several short films that I would like to share with all of you, and hopefully you'll appreciate them as much as I do.

As a film major at Capital University, I find it especially important for independent filmmakers, who sometimes put more time, effort, and heart into their films than most major Hollywood studios, to be recognized for their masterpieces. Today, the art of raw, authentic, filmmaking is hard to come by, and when we see it, we tend to overlook it. Maybe give it a like, share it, or simply move on to the next best thing. In other words, appreciation for short films today is lacking, and that is why I want to give you a list of my top five favorite short films you can watch on YouTube.

#5. I Heard It Too

This short is directed by Matt Sears, and if you can't tell by the thumbnail, it's a horror film. It opens to a little girl laying in her bed. Her mom is sitting beside her, singing an old lullaby as several pictures of the family are shown. It becomes evident that something has happened to the father. Whether or not he has anything to do with the haunt later in the film remains unclear throughout, but the progression of events is masterfully spaced out with what little time there is. There were no notable jump scares included, so I can say with confidence that it has some good, authentic horror elements and is definitely a good addition to independent filmmaking.

#4. Smoke

Written and directed by Tom Smith, this short follows the story of Mollie and her abusive partner, Ashley. This one is special because it sheds a different light on lesbian relationships. While popular media likes to only portray the sexual side, this film shows the abusive side that some couples experience, just like any other relationship. The emotion is raw, and I have to give props to Kate Louise Turner, who plays Mollie, for an excellent, tension-packed performance.

#3. BOY

I was actually very impressed with Boy. It's a foreign film about a female-to-male (FTM) transgender teen who struggles to be accepted by his mom. It provides one of many perspectives in the transgender community, and I didn't pick this one so much for its uniqueness as much as its accuracy. What's more impressive is that Danish director Lucas Helth Postma was only sixteen at the time when he filmed Boy, and yet it has an air of professionalism to it that one might find in an older, more experienced filmmaker. Overall, it was one of the most enjoyable of the five to watch.

#2. ReMoved

ReMoved holds a special place in my heart, and it's the kind of short that will make you think for days. I feel like I will always carry it with me wherever I go in life. It's about a young, ten-year-old girl named Zoe, who is taken from her family and put in foster care, along with her younger brother Benaiah. Their story proves to be an emotional rollercoaster, but it is, without a doubt, one that is worth riding.

#1. ReMoved: Part Two - Remember My Story

Continuing the story of the first ReMoved film, not much seems to have changed for Zoe and Benaiah. They're still fighting through the foster care system that they were forced into, but by the end, the film gives us an appropriate end to the sequel. Before I watched this one, I was quick to think that a second part would not do justice to the first. Thankfully, I made myself watch it and I am so glad that I did. I would definitely recommend this to everyone. Every detail director Nathanael Matanick included, every shot he took, was meaningful, and always contributed to the progression of the story line as well as the development of Zoe and her journey through a rough childhood.

As a general audience, we live in a world where cinema is ripped up, torn apart, and pieced together in a way that would rather make more money than allow their viewers to leave the theater with deep, whole-hearted satisfaction. With short independent films, no matter how poorly acted or badly-written some are, exude a great deal of heart and genuine enthusiasm.