The Best Short Films of 2012

Ed Cripps
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The Strange Thing About the Johnsons2012 has been a great year for cinema as a whole, with record after record being set at the box office and some ace, less commercial,  releases. It has also been an excellent year for short films. YouTube held its first short film competition backed by Ridley Scott. Independent shorts have become ever more ambitious and democratically powered with the likes of crowd funding sites Kickstarter and Indiegogo leading the way.

I managed to see some great shorts at Leeds International Film Festival (please go next year!) and the Camerimage Plus festival in Poland, but some of the best can be found online once they’ve made the rounds and built up a buzz on the festival circuit. So without further ado I present my top 5 short films of 2012.


5 – The Strange Thing About The Johnsons


The Strange Thing About The Johnsons from Ari Aster.

A masterful ‘long’ short that puts a fresh take on tough subject matter and makes your skin crawl. It goes from creepy and very unnerving to pure, schlocky melodrama in half an hour. Take note on the great use of colour.


4 – The Third One This Week


The Third One This Week from Buffalo Picture House.

A very tightly executed ‘short’ short that very simply depicts a devastating moment. This is what short films are all about.

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3 – Long Branch


Long Branch from Dane Clark.

A funny spin on one night stands set in Toronto where a pair of strangers head back home to sleep with each other on a heck of a lot of public transport. Cute and brilliantly acted, this put a smile on my cold face this winter.


2 – Adelaide


Adelaide from Liliana Greenfield-Sanders.

A great example of a short creating its own, dare I say it, ‘quirky’ story world. Adelaide has Münchausen Syndrome and is looking for love.


1 – North Atlantic


North Atlantic from Bernardo Nascimento.

Shamefully, this Portuguese short didn’t win the YouTube short film festival. Instead it placed in the very respectable top 10. Now I’m not one for cheese, but this one certainly got me, nudging itself into pole position on my list.


There are a host of other great short films vying for your attention out there on the interwebs. Sites like Short of the Week and Vimeo are great places to start if you’re interested. Short film is a wonderful medium for film-makers to cut their teeth on, and there are a huge amount of films that soar above the average YouTube fair, so go check ‘em out!


p.s. A highly honourable mention comes in the shape of L’Accordeur (The Piano Tuner), which is an excellent example of a common structure of short film story nigh on perfectly deployed, but I shan’t put any spoilers here!

About Ed Cripps

A writer and filmmaker currently based in Leeds. Follow him on twitter at @edcripps