Often treated as a cinematic stepchild, shorts must fight an uphill battle to be seen and respected. As part of a campaign to give shorts their due, T/F found 11 short films that pack more ideas, imagination, and brio than movies many times their size — and that demand to be seen.

  • 7 Minutes (dir. Shannon O'Rourke; 10 min.) — An insider's look at the oldest profession. Women who love it, put up with it and make their living from it. Plays with Secret Screening (Blue).
  • America (dir. Chris Boeckmann; 8 min.) — An unreliable history of our country, 30 seconds at a time. Made on a digital still camera by local 16-year-old Chris Boeckmann. Plays with American Shopper.
  • Attention Getting Style (dir. Jay Buim; 4 min.) — New condominium complexes and other businesses in Southern California try to get a leg up on the competition, and the vast subculture of sign twirlers are thus in demand. Plays with Kamp Katrina.
  • The Blood of Yingzhou District (dir. Ruby Yang, 38 min.) — In rural China, people give unsafe blood donations, causing HIV infection and orphaned children. Plays as part of Oscar-nominated doc shorts.
  • Blue Karma Tiger (Mia Hulterstam/Cecilia Actis; 12 min.) — Free to let their guard down in an animated documentary about them, Swedish grafitti girls show how they leave their mark on walls, tunnels and trains. Plays with Super Amigos.
  • Buscando Victoria (dir. Margaret Mair; 13 min.) — Searching Cuba for a Puerto Rican revolutionary who vanished without a trace. Plays with Off the Grid: Life on the Mesa.
  • Cross Your Eyes, Keep Them Wide (dir. Benjamin Wu; 18 min.) — At Creativity Explored, a drop-in art center for adults with developmental disabilities, art is a fact of life. In this well-crafted observation, the camera is a comfortable friend and the art and artists are just as serious and talented as any anywhere. Plays with Miss Navajo.
  • El Cerco (dir. Ricardo Íscar/Nacho Martin; 12 min) —As the fishing boats close in on the tuna, the tension escalates until the men capture their prizes. Plays as part of the Working Title shorts program.
  • Family Vilakati (dir. Xanthe Hamilton; 10 min.) — The focus is on one young man's desire to support his family of sisters so that they may have a better life. Plays as part of the Working Title shorts program.
  • Fighting Cholitas (dir. Mariam Jobrani, 20 min.) — Dressed in their traditional long, layered skirts, a group of Bolivian women become Lucha Libre wrestlers every Sunday. Plays as part of the Night Mail shorts program.
  • The First Day of Spring (dir. Runa Islam, 2005, 7 min.) — A gorgeous magic-hour look at rickshaw drivers waiting in a park in Dhaka, India, and who are removed from the cacophony of the city. Plays as part of the Night Mail shorts program.
  • Fruitloop and Arwegian Rick (dir. Jeff Shroyer, 3 min.) — Animated freight-train hopping. Plays as part of the Night Mail shorts program.
  • Joe No Love (dir. Chris Wilcha; 10 min.) — Joe is 14. Outspoken and hyper-smart, he sees what's happening to the other kids at his middle school and wants no part of it. Joe doesn't believe in love, and this is his platform. Excerpted from the forthcoming This American Life TV show. Plays with Zoo.
  • May I Please Speak to Vartan (dir. Alex Jablonsky, 9 min.) — A story about debt, fear and a phone that won't stop ringing. Plays as part of the Night Mail shorts program.
  • Mon Beau Sourire (My Beautiful Smile) (Angèle Diabang Brener; 5 min.) — Brener shows a glimpse of the Senegalese tradition of dying women's gums black. Plays as part of the I Am a Map shorts program.
  • Motodrom (dir. Joerg Wagner; 9 min.) — A hypnotic and highly stylized portrait of midway motorbike riders. Plays with Manda Bala.
  • Night Mail (dir. Harry Watt and Basil Wright; 23 min., 1936) — With a live original soundtrack by Ken Thomson, New York avant-jazz vikings Gutbucket breathe new life into this classic documentary about the British mail train. Plays as part of the Night Mail shorts program.
  • Portrait #2: Trojan (dir. Vanessa Renwick; 5 min.) — A five-minute tone poem about Trojan Nuclear Power Plant, punctuated by a doozy of a climax. Soundtrack by Sam Coomes of Quasi and cinematography by Eric Edwards, a long-time collaborator of Gus Van Sant. Plays with The Monastery.
  • Recycled Life (dir. Leslie Iwerks; 38 min.) — Central America's largest and most toxic garbage dump in Guatemala City hosts thousands of adults and children who have been living, eating and working there over the last 60 years. Plays as part of Oscar-nominated doc shorts.
  • Rehearsing a Dream (dir. Karen Goodman & Kirk Simon; 39 min.) — Talented 17-year-old artists spend a week in a mentorship project with inspiring and well-known artists. Plays as part of Oscar-nominated doc shorts.
  • Sari's Mother (dir. James Longley; 21 min.) — In 2003, James Longley went to Iraq to document a country under occupation, and emerged with the stunning Iraq in Fragments. Sari's Mother is a missing chapter that tells the story of a poor family living south of Baghdad, and how one courageous mother struggles to get help for a sick child in the shattered healthcare system. Plays with Enemies of Happiness.
  • A Shift in Perception (dir. Dan Monceaux; 16 min.) — Three visually impaired women share their experiences in this evocative short film. Plays as part of the I Am a Map shorts program.
  • Shit and Chicks (dir. Kees van der Geest; 10 min.) —Documents, with gentle restraint, a traditional method of feeding chickens in Ghana. Plays as part of the Working Title shorts program.
  • A Short History of Sweet Potato Pie (dir. Nina Gilden Seavey, 17 min.) — Pearl Mallory cooks lovingly made sweet potato pies at a retirement home, and residents wax rhapsodic. Plays with Souvenirs.
  • A Son's Sacrifice (dir. Yoni Brook; 26 min.) — Imran Uddin gave up his "modern" life in advertising to learn the business of his father's halal butcher shop. Plays as part of the Working Title shorts program.
  • Stopping My Stutter (dir. Dylan Wyn Richards; 31 min.) — Richards follows the painful yet joyous journey of Martin Thomas, a man attempting to stop his stammer. Plays as part of the I Am a Map shorts program.
  • Two Hands (dir. Susan Rose Behr, 18 min.) — The story of pianist Leon Fleisher, who lost his ability to play with his right hand at the height of his career. Plays as part of Oscar-nominated doc shorts.
  • Until When You Die (dir. Mark Aitken; 29 min.) — Aitken uses a creative and evocative narrative style to tell the story of one woman's journey from Vietnam to London in. Plays as part of the I Am a Map shorts program.
  • Vángelo Manzón (dir. Andréas Lennartsson, 8 min.) — A portrait of an Argentinian man who has made bricks all of his life. Plays as part of the Working Title shorts program.