The 10 Best Short Films of 2021 (So Far)

By Andrew Buckner

*Please note that the short films included in this list are based on an official 2021 U.S. release date.

10. “The Nurturing”

Director: Alex DiVincenzo.

9. “Meet the Author”

Director: Steve Blackwood.

8. “Heart Wreck”

Director: Gabrielle Rosson.

7. “Stay Inside, Michael”

Director: Jeremy Joseph Arruda.

6. “A Concerto is a Conversation”

Directors: Kris Bowers, Ben Proudfoot.

5. “The Present”

Director: Farah Nabulsi.

4. “Trigger Warning: The Life and Art of Chrystal”

Director: Chrystal Shofroth.

3. “The Dreamer”

Director: Jeremy Joseph Arruda.

2. “Come Rain or Come Shine”

Director: Mark Maille.

1. “The Last Cruise”

Director: Hannah Olson.

The 21 Best Short Films of 2020

By Andrew Buckner

*The inclusion of the short films on this list is based on the criteria of an initial 2020 U.S. release date.

21. “For Milo”
Director: Matthew Gilpin.

20. “Rotten Magnolia”
Director: Tracy Huerta.

19. “Hollow”
Director: Max Buttrill.

18. “Private”
Director: Steve Blackwood.

17. “The Nurturing”
Director: Alex DiVincenzo.

16. “A Rock Feels No Pain”
Directors: Gabrielle Rosson, Kris Salvi.

15. “The Never Was”
Director: Mike Messier.

14. “Exeter at Midnight”
Director: Christopher Di Nunzio.

13. “Waffle”
Director: Carlyn Hudson.

12. “Dear Guest”
Director: Megan Freels Johnston.

11. “Thankless”
Director: Mark Maille.

10. “Wives of the Skies”
Director: Honey Lauren.

9. “Stuck”
Director: Steve Blackwood.

8. “The Dirty Burg”
Director: John Papp.

7. “Being Kris Salvi”
Director: Gabrielle Rosson.

6. “Voices from the Invisible”
Director: Miriam Revesz.

5. “Salvation”
Director: Gabrielle Rosson.

4. “Priest Hunter”
Director: Skip Shea.

3. “Fire (Pozar)”
Director: David Lynch.

2. “Gay as the Sun”
Director: Richard Griffin.

1. “Yesteryear”
Director: Chris Esper.

“Salvation” – (Short Film Review)

By Andrew Buckner

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

Stylishly and strikingly directed by Gabrielle Rosson, “Salvation” (2020) brilliantly captures the look and feel of its summer of 1957 setting. Based an original script entitled “Fink” by actor Kris Salvi, the twelve-minute short film never wavers as a masterclass in elegant Martin Scorsese-like mood. Briskly paced and fluently entertaining, the project benefits from the natural on-screen chemistry, likability, and overall marvelous performances from leads Justin Thibault (as Santo) and Salvi (as Salvatore). Further benefitted by often cryptic dialogue, especially in the masterfully done diner sequences which take up the bulk of the effort, Thibault and Salvi command every bit they are in together.

The plot revolves around the consequences of a grim past affecting the present state of long-time friends Salvatore and Santo. Rosson’s rich screenplay takes what could have been a relatively straightforward narrative and gives it intimacy, depth, and complexity. The endeavor never loses its eye on the central figures. Best of all, it smartly develops Salvatore and Santo in a largely banter-driven manner. It is one which is, like the entirety of the attempt, both slick and engaging.

What also helps the work become so magnificent and robust is the colorful, eye-popping cinematography by Manx Magyar. Additionally, Ian Rashkin’s music is superb. It suits the smooth attitude of the exercise terrifically well. Michael Hansen and Rosson’s editing is pitch perfect. The same can be said of Kimmi Monteiro’s set decoration. The fleeting turns from Paul Kandarian as Ciro and Sarah Morse as Bambi are just as effective. The opening, especially the early black and white portion which perfectly reflects the decade appropriate flair of the narrative, and concluding credits are visually remarkable bookends to the undertaking. What is just as noteworthy is the climax of the venture. It is beautiful and violent in equal measure.

In turn, “Salvation” is classy, sophisticated, and brooding. It is a bullseye of talent in front of and behind the camera. Like Rosson’s previous brief picture, “Being Kris Salvi” (2020), it stands as one of the greatest narratives of its type of the year. Similarly, it continues to establish Rosson as a fantastic moviemaker with a firm grasp of the medium. “Salvation” is highly recommended viewing.