Editor's View: Short Stories

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I’m guessing that as you’re heading into 2014, your resolutions are literally about resolutions—you’re considering formats, codecs, metadata, specs, workflows and workloads. It’s easy to bypass the creative aspects of your work and focus on the technical necessities. I want to suggest that you make yourself a promise to produce a short film this year. We all have the tools, or access to the tools, to develop and deliver a video project that’s creative and non-commercial—essentially just for you.

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A still from “Aningaaq”

I have been obsessing over short films lately, and not just because of the 17 videos that accompany Beyoncé’s new “visual album.” (Although that didn’t hurt.) So much can be communicated in a short amount of time, and it’s a wonderful project for any video professional.

You’ve probably seen Gravity by now, which we can all agree is an incredible filmmaking achievement. In it, astronaut Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) uses the radio in a Russian space capsule to call for help and ends up reaching someone on Earth who’s with a baby and dog. It’s a wonderful scene, and made even more wonderful by “Aningaaq,” a short film written and directed by Jonás Cuarón (who co-wrote Gravity) that serves as a companion piece to the film. “Aningaaq” follows the conversation from the other side—the camera is trained on the fisherman in Greenland who answers Stone’s radio dispatch. The film is simple and moving and proves that you don’t need an arsenal of visual imaging tools to create something beautiful.

If you’d like a little inspiration for the new year, subscribe to the newsletters for Short of the Week (www.shortoftheweek.com) and Nowness (www.nowness.com) and a selection of animated, live action, narrative and nonfiction shorts will be delivered to your inbox. Nothing is better than spending three minutes with someone else’s imagination.