Four Must-See Short Movies from the PBS Online Film Festival
If you haven’t clicked on PBS’ Online Film Festival, you need to. In fact, visit it right now (but come right back). It’s a collection of amazing short films that you or I would normally not be able to see, certainly not at any movie theater.
These short movies have all the story-telling power of a box office hit – in many cases, the stories are richer, more layered than many big budget blockbusters. That’s a feat of creativity, especially considering these movies work with a fraction of the budget and length. What’s more, these short films tell intimate stories, small stories, but with big messages. It’s amazing what can be learned by stepping into one child’s vegetable garden as in Isabelle’s Garden, or peeking into the old butcher shop of Un Buen Carnicero.
If you don’t have 20 minutes to watch something unexpectedly beautiful, poignant or otherwise wonderful, you are way too busy. Take a break and enjoy these great online films.
Filmmaker Ivete Lucas packs a lot into her 18-minute movie. Anayansi, a pregnant teen and her mom go on a pilgrimage to visit the church of Saint Francis. They want to pray for the wellbeing of the baby after Anayansi is shaken by a shootout in their home city of Monterrey. The dialogue is conservative – but every exchange is packed with meaning and shows that there is much more to the story than what we see.
Young Isabelle dreams of a place without poverty, but waking life offers the Choctaw girl little in the way of luxury. So Isabelle tends her garden lovingly and reaps basketsful of veggies that she tenderly gives to her community in hopes of sharing what little riches she has. Over its brief 8 minutes, the beautiful camerawork makes for a visually stunning short film. And the poetic narration will leave you wanting more.
At 6 minutes, Migrant Heroes is barely longer than a commercial, but so, so inspiring. Filmmaker Yolanda Cruz sits down with Hugo Morales, the founder of Radio Bilingüe, a radio station that operates in three languages and specifically targets indigenous immigrants and farm workers. Morales had all the cards stacked against him, but the almost defiantly cheerful Morales happily his recounts his life and times as the only Mexican in his class at Harvard College (though he thinks there may have been one other – the son of a bank president) in the 1970s. He took his talent for radio communication, undeniable brilliance and his background as a poor farm worker, he created a station for people who grew up like him.
As mundane as the workings of a carniceria, a butcher shop, may sound, there’s a lot going on behind the counter. This 14-minute movie follows a day in the life of a small-town immigrant butcher. For nearly 18 years, Tolo has worked very hard serving the clients of a small butcher shop in the American South. Owned by Cliff, a kind and happy hometown man, the butcher shop is a symbol of “a changing South” and steadfast resilience.