If any one descriptor can be used to sum up 2017, "bizarre" would definitely be a top contender. From politics to show business, each day seemed to produce headlines straight out of The Twilight Zone.
In the midst of all the upheaval in 2017, many of us turned to speculative narratives for perspective, comfort, and escape.
It's a good thing it was an excellent year for independent science fiction and fantasy (SF&F) short films.
The year's genre shorts were produced by exciting filmmakers from across the globe. Like 2017, they were provocative, unpredictable, moving, and remarkable.
These are our picks - listed in no particular order - of 15 of the best SF&F short films of the year. (Our picks for best web series and online projects is coming soon!)
Deep in the heart of an ancient forest, a young boy must confront a terrifying creature straight out of myth. This epic fantasy features impressive practical and creature effects inspired by the iconic work of Muppets creator Jim Henson.
Based on a story by Robopocalyse author Daniel H. Wilson, The Nostalgist stars Lambert Wilson (The Matrix Reloaded) as a man who inhabits a lavish virtual reality with his young son. When a critical systems failure threatens to unravel his world, the man goes on a desperate quest to repair the damage before a dark secret is revealed to his son.
In this gritty sci-fi noir, a Los Angeles police detective uses fringe science to help a city councilman uncover a government conspiracy with far-reaching and disturbing implications.
Raye, a transgender woman, dreams of quitting her janitorial job to become a singer. After a mysterious supernatural entity grants her fondest wish, Raye discovers the grass is not greener on the other side.
On a vast, isolated farm at the turn of the 20th century, a young girl named Sofie lives with her mother and often absentee father. To ease her loneliness, Sofie's mother reads to her letters written by her father. One day, the curious girl stumbles upon a secret in her house revealing her very reality is not what it seems.
Visit a near future where we have ceded most of our civil liberties for the guarantee of increased security. In collusion with the government, a high tech company creates a technology that gives law enforcement officials the ability to instantly paralyze suspects - by means of a smartphone app.
In one of his final onscreen performances, the late Anton Yelchin (Star Trek) stars as Basil, the leader of sentient androids rebelling against oppressive human governments. Rufus Sewell (The Man In The High Castle) stars as Colonel Briggs, a military leader who sees the androids as a threat, and is determined to eliminate them.
In this dark and compelling Star Wars fan film, we meet Kia, who is the unwilling apprentice to a powerful Sith lord. In order to survive, she must confront her evil master in battle - sealing her journey into becoming one of the Sith.
While visiting an empty lighthouse along the Spanish coast, a woman is abducted by mysterious assailants. Taken to an underground bunker, she soon discovers she is stuck in a time loop, reliving the abduction. She must use all of her resourcefulness to find a means of escape.
A cosmetics company has perfected a procedure allowing people to use nanites to alter their physical appearance at will. When the procedure is used in an act of corporate espionage, the far-ranging ramifications of the technology move front-and-center.
On Mars, a small expedition has begun exploring the red planet. When an equipment malfunction severs their line of communication with earth, one astronaut must overcome his personal demons to embark on a dangerous spacewalk to effect repairs to save the mission.
Off the shores of Hong Kong, a squid fisherman fights to preserve his vanishing way of life. His destiny forever changes when he has an unearthly encounter on the sea during a dark and stormy night.
In this genre mash-up of steampunk, sci-fi, and westerns, an entire servant class of artificial humans become self-aware all at once. Fearful of their demands for civil and equal rights, the corporations responsible for the androids employ bounty hunters to capture them.
A strange audio signal broadcast around the world instantly kills all who hear it - leaving the deaf unaffected. While grappling with the horror of their new circumstance, the survivors soon realize their ordeal is just beginning. A tribute to the cult classic films of George Romero, this horror short breaks new ground by centering deaf protagonists.
In an alternate reality, humanity has already fought a war with sentient machines. During a time of tenuous peace, it is revealed some robots are sleeper agents who can explode with devastating force. One android woman and her beloved husband fight to survive as the world teeters on the brink of a second human-machine war. Filmed on location in China and Jordan, this ambitious short film stars Rakeen Saad, and features veteran character actor Oded Fehr (The Mummy).
If you enjoyed our selections for best 2017 SF&F short films, check out our picks from 2016!
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