Short films don’t get nearly as much recognition as they deserve. Addressing real-world problems like poverty, death and abuse, short films portray stories that need to be shared with the world. Here are some award-winning short films from recent years that not only went on to win several accolades but also received praise for their heart-touching storylines and performances.
Inspired by true events, 1869explores the era of India under British Raj. The movie focuses on a time when major parts of Rajasthan suffered from a scarcity of food and water. As many as 1.5 million people lost their lives due to the famine. However, the region saw temporary relief with a heavy monsoon around the end of 1869, but that was short-lived as an outbreak of malaria followed soon after. The conditions eventually improved with the harvest of 1870. Written and directed by Gaurav Prabhakar Mali, the film brings out the sheer reality of the calamities faced back then, in a heart-touching way. 1869 made an official entry in 5 international film festivals and happened to win The Next International Short Film Festival Award in 2020.
Written and directed by Kaushal Oza, Afterglowis a 2012 tragic-comedy piece about a Parsi widow who has just lost her husband, Minocher Mirza. On the tenth day after his death, the widow, Meher is trying to come to terms with her personal grief. However, her friends and relatives, who come to make their condolence visits while offering mock sympathy, do not make it any easier. A heartwarming short film about love and loss, Afterglow bagged the National Award for the Best Short Film on Family Values at the 60th edition of the National Film Awards.
Written and directed by Akshay Sarjerao Danavalea, Battiis the story of a 10-year-old boy who makes a living by cleaning cars and selling children’s school books on local trains. The child finds solace in his work, and so he keeps himself busy to avoid talking about his dreams and aspirations or shedding the slightest emotion and reflects his desires and ambitions of a normal childhood on the shiny, silvery reflected self. A remarkable piece about the struggles of living in the city of dreams, Batti has won several accolades including the Award of Excellence NexGn International Short Film Festival 2020 and Special Festival Mention 8th Mumbai Short International Film Festival 2019.
Directed by first-time filmmaker Priyanka Banerjee, Deviis ashort film that touches on the subject of rape and abuse. It stars celebrated actors like Kajol, Shruti Haasan and Neha Dhupia, among others. The story revolves around nine women belonging to different classes of Indian society who are forced to co-exist in a small room after becoming victims of rape and abuse. As the story progresses the group argues about their living situation within the confine of a small room. However, when someone comes knocking down their door, they must show solidarity and empathy towards the newest victim. The film was commended for its heart-touching script and even received the Best Short Film award at the Filmfare Awards 2021.
Created by Anamon Studios, Let’s Eat is an animated film written and directed by Dixon Wong, about a Chinese-American immigrant family. Featuring only two characters, a mother and a daughter, the movie touches upon the difficulties faced by immigrant families, more specifically the American immigrant experience, while reflecting heartwarming scenes between a mother and a daughter who despite life’s many difficulties find a way to stay connected through their love for food; cooking together remains a symbol of the duo’s unconditional love for one another. The story is said to be loosely based on the life of Wong’s mother. The film was nominated for multiple awards and even won a few including Best Animated Short at the Palm Springs International Animation Film Festival and Best Animation at the Asian Film Festival, Los Angeles Hollywood.
Another masterpiece that highlights the struggles of immigrant families, The Long Goodbyefollows an immigrant family living in Britain, whose lives turn upside down after a far-right march goes awry. Riz and his family are in the middle of a typical family day in their house, preparing their home for a wedding. Soon after, an unfortunate series of events follows after a right-wing march spirals out of control and chaos erupts. Created by Aneil Karia and Tom Gardner, the film won multiple awards including the British Independent Film Award for Best British Short Film, an Academy Award for Best Short Film (Live Action) and British Independent Film Award in the same category.
An Oscar-winning short film, The Neighbors’ Window is based on a true story by Diane Weipert, and directed by Marshall Curry. The story is a great example of the phrase, ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’. A middle-aged woman living in an apartment in New York City is expecting her third child. As she struggles to feel better about her life and herself, she is taken aback by a new couple living across the street. A young and lively duo, the couple seem to be living their best life with endless parties, brunches and excitement, while the older woman struggles to take care of her children and their home. But everything isn’t always what it seems to be. By the end of the film, viewers get a chance to really meet the couple across the street and see just how green the grass really is.