States of Independence
Dazed's ultimate guide to US creativity

SXSW class of 2014: shorts

Shorts programmer Claudette Godfrey introduces SXSW's graduating class of 2014, who will lead the new charge in the realm of short films

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Still from "SEND" Courtesy of SXSW & Peter Vack

As part of our new summer US project States of Independence we've invited our favourite 30 American curators, magazines, creatives and institutions to takeover Dazed for a day. 

For 20 years, SXSW has risen to become America's cultural hotbed of emerging cinematic talent. With the finest selection of shortsfeatures and genre films and a fierce nurturing of new young talent, SXSW offers us an exclusive glimpse into how they've conquered the independent film scene. Be sure to check out the SXSW 2014 Short Film Jury Award winners as well! 

"In 2014, we received over 4200 short film submissions for 110 slots," says SXSW's short programmer Claudette Godfrey. "At SXSW we program live action, documentary and animated shorts as well as music videos." Quite the juggle, then, picking out the nice from the naughty from a Santa's list of submissions. What remains, however, is a marquee-worthy directory of maverick shorts filmmakers. We gave Godfrey the seemingly impossible task of picking out her favourite ten shorts directors – SXSW's graduating class of 2014 – whose names have made the Dean's list.

SEND (2014) – PETER VACK

"I love this film! It was the first one programmed for 2014 and it’s elegant in the way it handles the coming-of-age genre so efficiently. It’s beautifully conceived, shot and acted. SEND offers a fresh take on relationships, social media and privacy. The representation of the internet is absolutely inspired."

DON'T HUG ME I'M SCARED 2: TIME (2014) – BECKY SLOAN & JOE PELLING

"The Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared series is one of my favourite things to ever grace the internet. Weird, wonderful and insane, Becky and Joe destroy traditional ideas of know-it-all puppets à la Sesame Street and instead take them on an existential journey to learn about topics like creativity and time. With the lofty goal of making sure that 'eventually the puppets will understand everything', Becky and Joe’s recent Kickstarter campaign to produce four new episodes was overwhelmingly successful, raising £104,905 of their £96,000 goal."

PROSPECT  (2014) - ZEEK EARL & CHRIS CALDWELL

"Prospect is what the directors call a 'handmade sci-fi short'. In it they utilise the gorgeous, somewhat foreign location of Washington’s Hoh Rainforest, as well as practical effects to create an atmosphere for their 'alien planet' unparalleled by any other short we saw this year."

KRISHA (2014) – TREY EDWARD SHULTS

"Exceptionally shot, Krisha is a traditional family drama told from a new perspective. The wonderfully heartbreaking lead performance and slow burn plot make this film extremely compelling. Following its premiere at SXSW, Texas-based director Trey Edward Shults is currently raising funding for the feature-length version of the film via Kickstarter."

THE KÁRMÁN LINE (2014) – OSCAR SHARP

"The Kármán Line is one of the most emotionally compelling short films in our programme this year. Told with an authentic directorial voice featuring expert actors, and addressing death and loss through an innovative story device (a mother who gradually rises into the air), this film is distinct and effective."

A still from The Karman Line
A still from The Karman Line

KEHINDE WILEY: AN ECONOMY OF GRACE (2014) – JEFF DUPRE

"An in-depth examination of the phenomenal New York-based portrait artist Kehinde Wiley, we follow his process from conception to canvas in his first ever series depicting black female subjects. You couldn’t ask for a more passionate and talented subject and the filmmakers have captured that while exposing the politics and purpose behind his work. It’s set to air on PBS stations on September 5th at 9pm."

CADET (2014) – KEVIN MEUL

"CADET is a story so original that even I (watching 1500 shorts a year) have never seen anything like it before. The narrative is propelled by an intense performance by the teenage boy who is being pushed too far by his competitive father. Perfectly paced with just the right amount of humour, this sports story stands apart."

MARILYN MYLLER (2014) – MIKEY PLEASE

"I wait with bated breath for each new piece of this director’s work to be released. He had me from 2011 BAFTA award-winning The Eagleman Stag and I’m forever his after his follow up with Marilyn Myller. His unique and gorgeous all-white stop motion style with humourous existential plotlines? More Mikey Please, more!"

RAT PACK RAT (2014) – TODD ROHAL

"Rat Pack Rat is a masterpiece of sorts. Tender moments intermingled with straight awkwardness and serious disgust means this film has it all. Austin-based director Todd Rohal really raised the weird bar with this one. You won’t be able to un-see it."

NEKROGOBLIKON: “NO ONE SURVIVES” (2014) – BRANDON DERMER

"Music videos are films too. Goblins are people too. Goblins want promotions. Goblins want girls. But goblins are goblins. The concept and fantastic execution catapulted this video to the top of our list this year. Who doesn’t love a Goblin dance breakdown?"

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