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Top 3 of 2022


notes by Laurence Boyce

Top 3 of 2022

Inspired by countless ‘year end’ lists that tended to ignore the short film format, the following list is an attempt to redress the balance whilst also giving those in the short film industry a chance to ruminate on the films that resonated with them on a personal basis. The idea originated some years ago and is now arriving at Talking Shorts, introducing a new yearly tradition for the magazine. For the first time, the list will be divided into separate sections, namely Programmers, Critics and Filmmakers. It's a particular welcome to include a large number of filmmakers, something that has been lacking in the lists of the past. Talking Shorts would like to express its gratitude for all who responded.

This list originated by Laurence Boyce as a Top 5 some years ago, consecutively published by Cineuropa and Kinoscope. Arriving at Talking Shorts, the list is now a Top 3, designed to give often busy respondents more of an opportunity to share their thoughts on the films as well as giving it all a tighter focus.

The list has never been interested in being a definitive ‘best of’ the year – short films have always resisted the ranking and five star ratings that are often associated with the world of mainstream features. But with shorts still being hugely un(der)represented, the list presents an opportunity to celebrate and shine a light on those films that deserve to be lauded.

Each respondent was given a choice of three films. No ranking was required, so each list is not necessarily in order. Since release dates are especially fluid in the short film world, respondents were asked to choose films that “came to prominence in 2022.” Exactly what that meant remained under each individual’s purview. Each list therefore also remains the choice of the individuals who responded and it (and the motivations therein) do not necessarily reflect that of the organisation(s) they work for.

At last, but never least: filmmakers!


Taymour BoulosJan BujnowskiSpela CadezDiana Cam Van NguyenGerard Ortín CastellviJean-Sébastien ChauvinJess DaddsNicolai G.H. JohansenAnna GyimesiMo HaraweSander JoonEvi KalogriopoulouVytautas KatkusLeonardo MartinelliPedro Neves MarquesTebogo MalebogoPavel MozharThanasis NeofotistosTotal RefusalAtsushi Wada

[Click a name to discover their respective list]

Taymour Boulos, filmmaker ‘It’s Just Another Dragon’
⟟ Lebanon

‘Homesick Lungs’ by Felix Klee (Germany - 2021, 14’): With unsettling 3D visuals, Klee revisits the memory of a lost family property. In the dreamlike ways it showcases the filmmaker’s obsession with a place, this disturbingly enchanting piece is a devastating farewell to the past that can be reminiscent of some passages from In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust.

‘Goodbye Jérôme!' ('Au revoir Jérôme !’ by Adam Sillard, Gabrielle Selnet & Chloé Farr (France - 2022, 8’): I hadn’t been that delighted by an animation film in a while. It felt like a big colorful birthday cake — the kind of cakes you wouldn’t necessarily eat everyday as an adult, but that the child in you still secretly craves for.

‘Brave’ by Wilmarc Val (France - 2021, 25’): Full of mystery and magic, Wilmarc’s filmic approach in portraying his mother’s grief and travel to Haïti is exceptionally powerful and soft at once.

— 'Goodbye Jérôme!' ('Au revoir Jérôme !') by Adam Sillard, Gabrielle Selnet, Chloé Farr

Jan Bujnowski, filmmaker ‘The Devil
⟟ Poland

‘Nest’ by Hlynur Pálmason (Iceland - 2022, 22’): For a completely different style of storytelling, forcing the viewer to focus on details which normally are easy to overlook.

‘Ramboy’ by Matthias Joulaud & Lucien Roux (Switzerland - 2022, 31’): For flesh and blood characters and beautiful cinematography. For giving the audience access to a little-known but fascinating world.

‘Ice Merchants’ by João Gonzalez (Portugal, United Kingdom, France - 2022, 14’): For a beautifully sketched fairytale, with simple but powerful storytelling and emotional ending.

Spela Cadez, filmmaker ‘Steakhouse
⟟ Slovenia

‘The Debutant’ by Elizabeth Hobbs (United Kindom - 2022, 8’): Great film!

‘The Flying Sailor’ by Amanda Forbis, Wendy Tilby (Canada - 2022, 8’): Great animation!

‘Sideral’ by Carlos Segundo (Brasil - 2022, 15’): Great film!

Diana Cam Van Nguyen, filmmaker ‘Love, Dad
⟟ Czech Republic

‘Cherries’ (‘Uogos’) by Vytautas Katkus (Lithuania - 2022, 5’): Very sensitive story of father and son, subtle and unique voice of filmmaking at the same time.

‘Neighbour Abdi’ (‘Buurman Abdi’) by Douwe Dijkstra (The Netherlands - 2022, 30’): Most original documentary film I've ever seen, with an original approach and spontaneous storytelling.

‘Sierra’ by Sander Joon (Estonia - 2022, 16’): Very clever and funny animation with a great artistic style and perfect timing, full of joy.

Read: ‘When Light Touches Skin' by Niv Fux on Jean-Sébastien Chauvin's 'Exalted Mars'

Gerard Ortín Castellvi, filmmaker ‘Agrilogistics
⟟ United Kingdom

‘Exalted Mars’ (‘Mars Exalté’) by Jean-Sébastien Chauvin (France - 2022, 18’)
‘Character’ by Paul Heintz (France - 2022, 39’)
‘Core’ by Maddi Barber, June Crespo (Spain - 2022, 20’)

Jean-Sébastien Chauvin, filmmaker ‘Exalted Mars
⟟ France

‘A Story of Two Trumpets’ (‘Histoire pour deux trompettes’) by Amandine Meyer (France - 2022, 5’): One of the strangest short films I have seen this year. It looks like a dream, childish, funny and a bit scary despite its joyful colors. The narrative itself is only made by shapes and colors that melt into one another. There's a bit of Little Nemo the, the comic book by Winsor McCay, except we never wake up.

‘Agrilogistics’ by Gerard Ortin Castellvi (United Kingdom - 2022, 21’): A beautiful, fascinating and powerful film questioning the relationship between nature and machinery, and the way we consider nature as part of a factory. Is it still natural if it’s treated as a manufactured object? And does nature have a meaning without human beings and animals to inhabit it? That's the kind of question I asked myself while watching it.

‘Hideous’ by Yann Gonzalez (France - 2022, 22’): Probably the most beautiful short film of the year for me. I know Yann Gonzalez very well, as he is one of the producers of my film ‘Exalted Mars’, so maybe it's a bit awkward to pick his film for this list. But when I look back, searching for the short that made me feel the most profound aesthetic and human emotions, it's this one. The match between Oliver Sim's songs, unveiling his story with honesty, and the frame that digs inside the memories and fantasies of a man, both young gay kid and beautiful adult monster, is perfect. It's like being connected with the subconscious of somebody. The appearance of a glittering Jimmy Sommerville, as a quintessence of gayness, gave me shivers.

Read: ‘Staging Tulips' by Līga Požarska on Gerard Ortín Castellví's 'Agrilogistics'

Jess Dadds, filmmaker ‘I Am Good At Karate
⟟ United Kingdom

‘Neon Phantom’ (‘Fantasma Neon’) by Leonardo Martinelli (Brazil - 2021, 20’): I was lucky enough to see this film more than once in the cinema last year. It’s an inspiring call to action for workers worldwide. At the same time the film shows how difficult it can be to answer that call, when stuck in the cycle of zero hours contract work, and the sad reality of when daydreams are the only escape. So much truth is in the film, and told through its own unique visual language and style. Truly fantastic and incredibly important.

‘Memoir of a Veering Storm’ by Sofia Georgovassili (Greece - 2022, 14’): An incredibly moving and original coming of age journey.

‘The Nest of the Sun’ (‘El nido del Sol’) by Colectivo Los Ingrávidos (Mexico - 2022, 16'): A transcendental and cosmic experience. 16mm film at its most magical.

Read: ‘On The Altar of Convenience' by Sanne Jehoul on Leonardo Martinelli's 'Neon Phantom'

Nicolai G.H. Johansen, filmmaker ‘Inherent
⟟ Denmark

‘Liquid Bread’ (‘Chlieb náš každodenný’) by Alica Bednáriková (Slovakia - 2021, 26’): Feels both achingly personal, yet also manages to be absurdly funny. The 16mm images are beautiful, the editing snappy and the camera movements precise — all in service of a story about family, time and trauma.

‘Naya - Der Wald hat tausend Augen’ by Sebastian Mulder (The Netherlands - 2021, 24’): While the concept sounds experimental (and it is), the film is a total riot. I saw it in a packed theater, and the film managed to elicit both laughs, awes and gasps from the entire audience. A film about our relationship to nature and animals, without ever commenting on it head-on, instead using the power of sound and image to place the ideas in our heads. Masterful.

‘Nest’ by Hlynur Palmason (Iceland, Denmark - 2022, 22’): Just a great short. An ingenious, simple concept that works like a magic trick. Watching kids being kids and time passing is totally engaging and thrilling, what more do you really need? Doesn't hurt that the images are, as always with Palmason, stunningly beautiful.

Read: ‘Homo Lupo Lupus Est' by Vladan Petkovic on Sebastian Mulder's 'Naya - Der Wald hat tausend augen'

Anna Gyimesi, filmmaker ‘Affricate
⟟ Hungary

☓‘Airhostess-737’ by Thanasis Neofotistos (Greece - 2022, 17’): Sophisticated concept, charming acting, exciting sound design. Tells a beautiful story of crisis, with humor and elegant use of magical elements.

‘Money and Happiness’ by Nikola Majdak & Ana Nedeljkovic (Slovenia, Slovakia, Serbia - 2022, 10’): Lovely narration with details, figures overloaded with cuteness, but a still, depressive effect on the viewer. Important piece about society.

‘Teatralna Station’ (‘Teatralna peatus’) by Alina Panasenko (Ukraine - 2022, 16’): Balances on the border between documentary and fiction, so that the genre is not really clear by the end of the film. That’s its uniqueness. Voyeuristic facial expressions, characters that the viewer can easily empathize with is what make the film extra beautiful.

Mo Harawe, filmmaker ‘Will My Parents Come To See Mee
⟟ Austria

‘Haulout’ by Evgenia Arbugaeva & Maxim Arbugaev (United Kingdom, Russia - 2022, 25’): Beautiful, relevant, cinematic.

‘Trumpets in the Sky’ by Rakan Mayasi (Belgium, France, Lebanon, Palestine - 2021, 15’): Minimalistic yet richly detailed and on point.

‘It Doesn’t Have To Be Today’ (‘Muss ja nicht sein, dass es heute ist’) by Sophia Groening (Germany - 2021, 8’): Funny, authentic and you feel like flying.

— 'Pests' ('Nuisibles') by Juliette Laboria

Sander Joon, filmmaker ‘Sierra
⟟ Estonia

‘backflip’ by Nikita Diakur (Germany, France - 2022, 13’): Most humorous depiction of both the amusement and the fear for the ongoing wave of AI.

‘Pests’ (‘Nuisibles’) by Juliette Laboria (France - 2022, 7’): Most visceral experience from a film I've had for a long time.

'Cuco' ('Cautio'n) by Grin Machine (USA - 2022, 3’): Most inspiring use of digital animation tools. Makes your head sizzle with inspiration.

Evi Kalogiropoulou, filmmaker ‘On Xerxes’ Throne
⟟ Greece

‘Under the Lake’ by Thanasis Trouboukis (Greece, Finland - 2022, 16’)
‘Will You Look At Me’ (Dang wo wang xiang ni de shi hou) by Shuli Huang (China - 2022, 20’)
‘The Melting Creatures’ (‘Les créatures qui fondent au soleil’) by Diego Céspedes (Chile, France - 2022, 17’)

Vytautas Katkus, filmmaker ‘Cherries
⟟ Lithuania

‘Will You Look At Me’ (Dang wo wang xiang ni de shi hou) by Shuli Huang (China - 2022, 20’): The filmmaker tells this sensitive story in a very tender and honest way. With the film he manages to create such a magical atmosphere which, at least for me, seemed both universal and at the same time very personal.

‘Hideous’ by Yann Gonzalez (United Kingdom - 2022, 22’): I don't remember the last time I've seen such a rich mix of contrasting emotions and visuals. The courage of Yann Gonzalez along with his quest for new cinema forms is inspiring.

‘Nocturnus’ by Meltse Van Coillie & Harm Dens (Belgium - 2022, 21’): Time and space disappeared while watching this film. I fell into some sort of meditative state, almost like one of the sleeping characters of the film.

— 'Starfuckers' by Antonio Marziale

Leonardo Martinelli, filmmaker ‘Neon Phantom
⟟ Brazil

‘Starfuckers’ by Antonio Marziale (USA - 2022, 15’): An erotic, comic, intense thriller. A film that manages to achieve a lot using just one location and three characters. Not just a comment on the abuses of power in the filmmaking industry, but a response from the potential talent that slips through the fingers in the brutal universe that is wanting to make a living from art. The final scene has so much power and stayed with me for a long time.

‘Ice Merchants’ by João Gonzalez (Portugal, United Kingdom, France - 2022, 14’): With a simple and universal story about missing someone you love and the space that person leaves, this animation has one of the most beautiful drawings and mise en scene I've seen in a long time. The tight hug while we're in free fall: the ones we loved will be with us forever, one way or another.

‘Neighbour Abdi’ (‘Buurman Abdi’) by Douwe Dijkstra (The Netherlands - 2022, 30’): A documentary that uses chroma key resources with originality and thought for an avant-garde approach, in a beautiful character study. Cinema and its mechanisms as a way of looking at trauma, the past and memory.

Pedro Neves Marques, filmmaker ‘Becoming Male in the Middle Ages
⟟ Portugal

‘Nosferasta: First Bite’ by Adam Khalil, Bayley Sweitzer (USA - 2022, 33’): A sordid and inventive take on the myth of Nosferatu, which, by imagining Columbus as the original vampire, speaks to both colonialism and contemporary border policing, while being a hell of a fun.

‘Modern Korea: The Age of Beasts’ by Jeong Jaeun (South Korea - 2021, 48’): A timely and masterfully edited documentary on the history of feminism in South Korea and the power of media to categorize and dominate gender roles.

‘A Short Story’ by Bi Gan (China - 2022, 15’): When a cat company commissions you a film and you deliver a three-part reverie on loneliness and the bittersweet qualities of life — narrated by a cat!

— 'A Short Story' by Bi Gan

Tebogo Malebogo, filmmaker ‘Heaven Reaches Down To Earth
⟟ United States

‘Civic’ by Dwayne LeBlanc (USA - 2022, 20’): An endearing and subtle portrait of returning home. The filmmaker captures the smallest moments of intimacy and familiarity, as well as the ugly pauses and disconnects that happen when things are not as easy as they used to be.

‘It’s Nice in Here’ by Robert-Jonathan Koeyers (The Netherlands - 2022, 16’): A beautifully animated and haunting recollection of events. I’m particularly drawn to the director’s compassion for the children and their ineffable bond.

‘Long Line of Ladies’ by Shaandiin Tome & Rayka Zehtabchi (United States - 2022, 22’): An arresting portrait that invites us into the preparation for Ahty’s step into womanhood. I’m drawn to its strong celebration of life that centers intergenerational bonds.

Pavel Mozhar, filmmaker ‘Handbook
⟟ Germany

‘Hardly Working’ by Total Refusal (Austria - 2022, 20’): What a seemingly amusing video game can tell us about the structures of our capitalist system.

‘Abyss’ by Jeppe Lange (Denmark - 2022, 13’): We watch an artificial consciousness think. At the same time, it looks at us as a species. Fascinating and frightening.

‘Granny’s Sexual Life’ by Urška Djukić, Émilie Pigeard (France, Slovenia, 2021, 14’): The horrors of patriarchy.

Read: ‘Film or Elevated Video Game Critique?' by Vladan Petkovic on Total Refusal's 'Hardly Working'

Thanasis Neofotistos, filmmaker ‘Airhostess-737’ and Head Programmer of Drama Int'l Short Film Festival - Student Competition
⟟ Greece

‘The Garbage Man’ (‘O Homem do Lixo’) by Laura Goncalves (Portugal - 2022, 12’): A beautiful short animation, full of memories and dreams that makes you nostalgic of all your family dinners.

‘The Dependent Variable’ (‘Le variabili dipendenti’) by Lorenzo Tardella (Italy - 2022, 16’): Two young boys exploring their sexuality from an elegant point-of-view that is mesmerizing.

‘Neighbour Abdi’ (‘Buurman Abdi’) by Douwe Dijkstra (The Netherlands - 2022, 30’): An out-of-the-box entertaining mockumentary with an extremely clever use of the the back-stage storytelling.

Total Refusal, filmmaking collective ‘How To Disappear’, 'Hardly Working'
⟟ Austria

‘Syzygy’ by Jacob Hurwitz-Goodman (USA - 2022, 28’)

‘Neighbour Abdi’ ('Buurman Abdi') by Douwe Dijkstra (The Netherlands - 2022, 30’)

‘Everything But The World’ by DIS Collective (USA - 2021, 38’)

Read: ‘Green Screen Gringo Comes Into His Own' by Vladan Petkovic on Douwe Dijkstra's 'Neighbour Abdi'

Atsushi Wada, filmmaker ‘Bird on the Peninsula
⟟ Japan

‘Bestia’ by Hugo Covarrubias (Chile - 2021, 15’): The film succeeds in keeping the viewer motivated through tension and relaxation in every element of the film, including character development, story development, and screen composition. Furthermore, the fact that the film is inspired by actual events makes it a strong and dense film.

‘Dog – Apartment’ by Priit Tender (Estonia - 2022, 14’): The nonsense ideas and the ability to depict a nonsense world as if it were natural is wonderful. I like the fact that there is no allegory, no preachiness, and no message.

‘Troublemaker Tommy’ by Rao Heidmets & Pauline Heidmets (Estonia - 2021, 15’): I wish I had seen this film when I was a child. And if I were to make a work for children, I would want to make a work like this. This is the kind of work that makes me think so.

READ MORE: Top 3 of 2022 by Programmers & Curators
READ MORE: Top 3 of 2022 by Critics & Journalists

Cover Picture © ‘Neighbour Abdi’ ('Buurman Abdi’) by Douwe Dijkstra