Live Action Shorts 2018

Eleven OClock

The live action shorts this year were all very good.

Four of this year’s nominees are based on real-life events1 and they all raise important issues. The nominations alone will bring awareness, hopefully, to the issues raised in the films.

DeKalb Elementary

A film that focuses mostly on two on-screen characters for the entire film. Even though I knew the story very well going in, I found myself mesmerized by the drama, tension, and emotions - bravery, fear, remorse, compassion, love. The performances were excellent. A very powerful film.

The Silent Child

This film brings attention to several things I care deeply about - parenting, education, and hearing disabilities. I was looking forward to seeing the young actor who played the role of the little girl. She did an amazing job. The other performances were good, and the film had an impact on the audience, I’m sure, but I felt like there were a lot of flaws. It’s a story that would have been hard to tell in a shorter or longer format, but it still felt like the timing wasn’t quite right - maybe just the nature of the story itself. I loved the use of subtitles throughout the film.

My Nephew Emmett

Stories like this always make me so uncomfortable. I think that’s why they need to be told. What struck me so much with this one was a line from the film when the uncle says about his nephew, “He didn’t know no better. He ain’t from around here.” Combine that with the hours leading up to it in the story when the uncle lay in wait for the visitors with his gun and you realize how many people had to live under “rules” I simply don’t understand. It really makes you wonder how many people still live following “rules” I know nothing about.

The Eleven O’Clock

This is the only one of the films not based on real-life events. The only thing I knew about this one going into it was that it was a comedy, and I was happy it screened when it did. I was a little on edge from the first three and this was the break I needed. Smart, funny, and a joy to watch. I would love for one of the others to win for the attention it would bring to the issues raised, but this was my favorite by far.

Watu Wate

A very powerful story that would have been hard to believe if there were not evidence it actually happened. The film had some flaws (mostly exposition where it wasn’t necessary), so it’s not my pick to win, but I found myself thinking most about this one after the fact (not really surprise given how much I think about faith and religion).

1 I don’t normally worry about spoilers as much for the shorts anyway.

2 image by Luc.patry (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons