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Watch list: shorts shot on smartphones

Short films shot on a smartphone are no longer just a fun experiment. Attracting influential directors, top actors and leading brands to fund their creation, smartphone films are a key part of the rival of the short film industry. We spotlight three shorts to add to your watch lists.

Stardust Children
Eiji Uchida

Created by acclaimed Japanese film director and screenwriter Eiji Uchida, Stardust Children follows Maruta, who is driven out of his land after he’s thought to be cursed. Wandering through the forest, he comes across stardust children setting the scene for the rest of the story to unfold. The intentionally muted color palette, as Uchida says, ‘In this film, I created an atmosphere by making certain colors [red and blue] stand out’, film aesthetic and nod to the fantasy genre, all make for compelling viewing.  

Jackals & Fireflies
Charlie Kaufman

Jackals & Fireflies by Oscar-winning auteur Charlie Kaufman is a meditation on being in the moment and finding beauty in the middle of chaos. Around 20 minutes in length, the poetic short is a collaboration with Canadian poet Eva H.D. The footage is a delightful mix of thought-through scenes and unplanned moments. 

Homework for Winter Vacation
Pan Tianhong

We’d also recommend checking out the winning and shortlisted films from the 2023 Future Format category, including Pan Tianhong’s Homework for Winter Vacation - a charming short film that follows Pangpang, a child who is tasked with making sweet dumplings in preparation for Chinese New Year. 

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2024 Shortlist