The 15 Best Short Films of 2017

By Andrew Buckner

Included below are A Word of Dreams’ fifteen favorite short films of 2017. The title of the work is proceeded by the name of the director or directors of the project. Enjoy!

15. “Ghost Bikes” – (Ethan Brooks)
14. “Alone” – (Tofiq Rzayev)
13. “Female” – (Aissa Carnet)
12. “Cosmic Bowling” – (Emily Berge, Spencer Thielmann)
11. “Tales to Line the Coffin” – (Evan Schneider)
10. “I Feel”- (Steve Blackwood)                                                                                                                                                                                                 9. “In a Heartbeat” – (Esteban Bravo, Beth David)
8. “To Be Alone” – (Matthew Mahler)
7. “The Stranger” – (Jeremy Arruda)
6. “Disregard the Vampire: A Mike Messier Documentary” – (Mike Messier)
5. “Undatement Center” – (Chris Esper)
4. “The Girls Were Doing Nothing” – (Dekel Berenson)
3. “Triangle” – (Christopher Fox)
2. “Leftovers” – (Tofiq Rzayev)
1. “Fireflies” – (Raouf Zaki)

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“Triangle” – (Short Film Review)

By Andrew Buckner

Rating: ***** out of *****.

“Triangle” (2017), the debut short from sound mixer and composer turned writer-director Christopher Fox, is a triumph of the emotive power of minimalism on-screen. For five and a half out of the nine minutes which constitute the runtime of Fox’s effort, we sense both the confusion and inner-mechanisms of our hero, Dave (in a masterfully nuanced and purely convincing performance from Branden Macor). This is as he wakes up on a sidewalk and proceeds to survey his surroundings. There is not a stitch of dialogue during this section. Still, Macor’s facial expressions, clothing and often awe-struck gestures speak in-depth about the attempts of Fox’s protagonist to understand where he is in both time and place. Such is more than even an entire feature length picture of discourse into the subject would ever be able to do.

Fox also instills a quiet beauty to this section. It augments the transcendent impact of the work. Such is heard in the gentle, heart-stirring music from Nick Bohun. This sonic material highlights these afore-mentioned sequences. Such an alluring quality is also viewed in Fox’s immersive and illustrious cinematography. Such makes the many moments where Dave contemplatively looks out towards or treads alongside the nearby lake in this initial stretch increasingly astonishing and cerebral. Fox’s sharp editing and brilliant sound department contribution with Bohun makes these arrangements ever more affecting and encapsulating.

The destination Dave is seeking out makes this sentimental journey complete. It also continues the intimacy found in what came beforehand. Given that one of the wisest decisions Fox evokes, and one of the most breathtaking elements of the endeavor, is figuring out what is going on, I will not divulge this here. But, it is easy to state that the plot, which is given visual cues via brief flashbacks during Dave’s wanderings, is brilliant. It’s fusion of science-fiction and character-driven drama would make it wholly at home in a stand-out episode of Rod Serling’s groundbreaking American television series, The Twilight Zone (1959 to 1964). But, there is undoubtedly the core of a truly moving, independent fabrication glimpsed in every frame. The past, or possibly continuing, relationship between Dave and Diana (in a stalwart and charismatic enactment from Margo Goodman), which is unveiled late into the affair, moves the narrative spellbindingly into the formation of the title shape. The climax is just as clever and harrowing. What is most is noteworthy is its sincerity and subtlety. This is as the bit is propelled by two simple words.

The result is a complex, mind-bending and meditative display of Fox’s cinematic craftsmanship. All the previously addressed roles took over on this project are gorgeously administered. They demonstrate a new moviemaker who is certainly in top form. The rest of the cast and crew deliver just as well. Likewise, the resonance of all we encounter in the exertion lingers with fellow bystanders. It compels you to relate and become one with what Dave is undergoing. This fusion of enigmatic, anything but straightforward storytelling and sheer talent is just a fraction of what makes “Triangle” so exhilarating. For example, Fox’s latest demands multiple observances. This is to begin comprehending all its underlying themes and intricacies. Correspondingly, the dedication in the well-honed end credits also brings home the atmosphere of the depiction with profound strength. The result is undoubtedly one of the best presentations of its ilk I’ve witnessed all year. I highly recommend seeking this composition, which has been submitted to over fifty film festivals, when the opportunity arises.

(Unrated).