Best of the Shorts: Tribeca 2010

A still from "Delilah, Before."

At the movies, I want to laugh out loud, clutch my armrest in terror, weep uncontrollably, and be amazed. I’ll admit my standards are high and past Tribeca Film Festivals have been serious enablers of my lofty expectations. So I suppose it was inevitable that one year I would be a tad disappointed by their selection of short films.

This was that year.

In general, I found the line-up much stronger last year, especially in the case of experimental films. Last year, I discovered two wonderful experimental films The Bather and home – excellent because of how they blended stunningly visual experience with depth of meaning. Although I could appreciate the surface beauty of this year’s films Berlin or The Visible and Invisible of a Body Under Tension – they just didn’t move me.

On the other hand, I was unexpectedly pleased with a few of the short documentaries this year – in particular Missed Connections and White Lines & The Fever: The Death of DJ Junebug. And there were a few other gems among the pile of over 40 short films. Here they are:


The story: Chuck is isolated in a roadside convenience shop in the middle of the desert. Through the strange and unlikely companionship of an exotic chicken and, subsequently, a young woman, he rediscovers himself and changes his life’s course.

The draw: With a drawn-out pace to match the plot, director Max Hoffman tells a strange and compelling story.

View trailer on their website.

Cried Suicide

The story: When Jay fakes a suicide attempt to attract the attention of her ex-girlfriend, she’s forced to entertain visits by her well-meaning friends offering their condolences in the form of tears, food, and even porn.

The draw: Although this isn’t the strongest short comedy I’ve ever seen, it certainly made me laugh out loud a few times. And in my opinion, that always makes a film worth seeing.

View the trailer.

The Crush

The story: Eight-year-old schoolboy Ardal Travis falls for his teacher and offers her a toy ring, only to be one-upped by her boyfriend who buys her a real engagement ring. Devastated and spurned, Ardal hatches a plan to get her back.

The draw: Impeccably acted, this simple short presents a unique story with an unexpected ending. The film is director Michael Creagh’s film debut.

View a clip from the film.

Delilah, Before

The story: Delilah, a young Singaporean woman recovering from a rebellious past and teenage pregnancy, struggles to confront her embittered mother over resuming custody of her two-year-old daughter.

The draw: This film tells a powerful story with few words. With no exposition or flashbacks, the film imbues meaning through its images and concise scenes. Director Melanie Schiele will be among the first graduating class of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Asia in Singapore where she will receive her MFA in film production. Delilah, Before is her directorial debut.

View the trailer.

Missed Connections

The story: “Missed Connections” is a forum on Craigslist where those who regret their timidity make appeals to the Ones Who Got Away. This documentary short peers inside these popular online messages-in-a-bottle, asking whether lost love can be found again.

The draw: It’s not easy to make a documentary film look beautiful (trust me, I know). But Missed Connections portrays longing, romance, and desire through some stunning shots of a few loves lost.

View the trailer on their website.

The New Tenants

The story: A prying neighbor, a glassy-eyed drug dealer, and a husband brandishing both a weapon and a vendetta make up the welcome wagon for two men on what might just be the worst moving day ever.

The draw: The New Tenants won the 2010 Oscar for short live action films. If that isn’t reason enough to see it, it also happens to be a truly creepy and funny short.

View the trailer.

White Lines & The Fever: The Death of DJ Junebug

The story: Recalling the Bronx in the early 1980s, this documentary explores the old-school days of hip-hop and the dangerous underworld at the legendary club Disco Fever through Junebug’s double life as a DJ and drug dealer.

View the trailer.

About :

Michele Meek, PhD is a writer, filmmaker, educator, founder of, and a former publisher of The Independent. She published the books Independent Female Filmmakers: A Chronicle through Interviews, Profiles and Manifestos and The Mastermind Failure Club. For more information or to contact her, visit