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It's hard out there for short films. Once an upstart filmmaker's first or latest pint-sized flick ends its film festival run, there's nowhere left for it to screen, ultimately resulting in either a permanent slot in cinema's not-so-coveted and endlessly on-loop "Purgatory Program" or, best-case scenario, it finds a minimally advertised home somewhere online. That's why it's so important to never overlook a festival’s short film programs, especially when it comes to Tribeca, where the 2016 inclusions ranged from cutting-edge science fiction to music docs about Juliette Lewis, David Bowie, and others.
Hats off to the folks at Vimeo, then, for helping to change the short-form game. Over the weekend, the online streaming service premiered MEMORY Presents: Program No. 1, a collection of seven tonally varied yet equally intriguing shorts, some of which won awards at recent fests like TIFF, Cannes, and SXSW. It's an awesome power move by Vimeo, providing a new outlet for some of the best short films out there to see a release beyond festival seasons.
Among MEMORY's notable filmmaking team Hang Loose co-director Patrick Brice, who turned heads in 2015 by directing a pair of year's-best indie highlights: Creep, a creepy found-footage horror film starring Mark Duplass, and the wonderfully awkward sex comedy The Overnight, starring Jason Schwartzman, Adam Scott, and Orange is the New Black's Taylor Schilling. On the acting front, director Pippa Bianco’s award-winning short Share stars American Horror Story regular Taissa Farmiga as a high school girl coping with an unexpected and altogether terrible social media nightmare.
MEMORY's biggest draw, however, is its closer, Brothers, directed by 2016 directorial breakout Robert Eggers, whose scary-as-hell "New England folktale" The Witch is this year's biggest indie release so far. Even if his name didn’t appear at the start of Brothers, it's obvious that the 11-minute short is his. Although it's not quite horror, Brothers has much in common with The Witch, from its claustrophobic woodland setting to its themes of strained familial relationships and boiled-over rage. Fans of The Witch shouldn’t miss it.
Head over to Vimeo to watch MEMORY Presents: Program No 1, which costs $9.99 for a two-day rental. Hopefully it's just the first of many more online-found short film series to come.
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