Short Through The Heart: A February Recap, Pt. 1

This post’s title is brought to you in part by Goofy.

Oscar crunch time is no joke, so for the sake of your sanity and mine, I decided it was probably for the best that I split my February recap into at least two parts.

First up is the shorties, and I’m so glad I got to see them all this year. For the past few years, my local ‘indie’ cinema has gotten all of the Animated and Live Action nominees. And while I’m sure this has always been the case, this year I also found all the Documentary Short Subjects to watch.

Something I love about short films is that they pack such a punch. I often find that even when I’m not jiving with it, either stylistically or tonally or whatever, I still feel an impact. And that was very much the case this year. I had my favourites but wow, what a crazy lineup in these categories.

These are in order from my most to least favourite within each category.

Short Film – Animated

One Small Step

I loved One Small Step so much. It reminded me a lot of 2012’s Paperman, even though they’re quite different. So dreamy. When she lands at the end and it flashes back to her little moon boots on her bed. STOP.


The animation blew me away, especially the dream sequences (male figure on fire, riding the horse through town, floating down the stairs). I’ve also had Money For Nothing stuck in my head for 11 days straight, which I think must count for something.

Late Afternoon

Very powerful tug of war between hope and heartache. The way they used the animation to show Emily’s memories and her working through the past and present was remarkable.


Bao is cute as hell, even if it’s slightly alarming when the mom literally eats her baby bun. I know – it’s symbolic. Obviously this was delightful, what else do we expect from a Disney animated short.

Animal Behaviour

I hate to put a Canadian nominee at the bottom of the group, but that’s just the way it is. It was really, really funny. My theatre was lol-ing their heads off. It just didn’t really do much for me beyond that, unfortunately.

Short Film – Live Action

Madre (Mother)

Very refined and effective build of suspense. The end credits were incredibly cool (music and effects).


A very rich, heartbreaking story, told so modestly and sweetly. My favourite of the Canadian nominees.


Very heavy. I thought all the performances were great. I do think it’s fair to question the perspective – in that it seems to be focused on evoking sympathy for the white supremacists.


I didn’t dislike Fauve, but it didn’t really come to fruition for me. I thought the two boys gave moving performances, but it didn’t resonate as a whole.


I read a little about this before I saw it, so I knew the story, but man. I will say that the kids gave amazing performances. I’m generally a big fan of true crime adaptations, but this felt different to me. Maybe the approach was too direct? I’m not even sure. Let me know what you thought.

Documentary – Short Subject

Period. End of Sentence.

I had not heard of The Pad Project before. What an amazing nonprofit and an insightful documentary. Sadly I think this will be overlooked by male Academy voters.

End Game

Very sad, but oddly uplifting and comforting. Definitely gave me some anxiety (who doesn’t love hospitals and grappling with mortality!) but I thought it was portrayed delicately and showed a helpful and necessary point of view.


A painfully close look at the world’s refugee crisis. I considered putting this lower in the list, because I found it very hard to watch and it gave me even more anxiety than End Game did.. but I don’t think it’s fair to use those parameters when it comes to documentaries. Another heavy hitter.

Black Sheep

I enjoyed the dramatization alongside the Cornelius’s narration of events. I do wish it would have followed his life further. How did his story progress? What is his life like now? I wanted more.

A Night at The Garden

Fascinating footage of a historical event.. but I feel a bit odd about something comprised entirely of archival footage being nominated for an Academy Award. That being said, there’s no denying its relevance today.

These were a lot. Can I interest you in a puppy video? This is one of my favourites:

Stay tuned for the rest of my February recap.


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