The paradox of Netflix: scrolling through the selection of movies and series can feel both endless and very limited.
Should you watch another episode of “Tiny House Hunters” to mock its idealistic shoppers, or should you plug your nose and wade through less, er, legal streaming sites, hoping the latest episode of “Outlander” has subtitles in a language you can read?
Of course, these aren’t your only options. There’s a whole world of filmmaking out there that may be a little harder to access, but it’s a world that is experimental, entertaining and wonderfully diverse. We previously reported on the petri dish of short-film production, where projects are free to grow organically and directors don’t need to ask permission before casting actors of color, older actors, and others relegated to the fringes of Hollywood. For those who protest lily-white Oscars or the deplorable absence of women directors, writers and producers, watching short films provides an alternative.
How, then, can you access them? SundanceNow and shortoftheweek.com both offer streamable short films, and, if you live in a major city, there’s likely an annual shorts festivals happening at a theater near you.
For New Yorkers, the 4th Annual Nitehawk Shorts Festival is coming up soon, from Nov. 9-13 in Brooklyn, and its slate is impressive. Selections include music videos and music-centered shorts, bewitching thrillers and quieter stories from across the globe. We’ve selected a few highlights here, including a story of delinquent teenhood in South Africa and a darkly twee short starring Oscar Isaac.
The rundown: A woman is attacked while walking alone in Brooklyn, but the experience is transformative.
For fans of: “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”
Directed by Catherine Fordham. Find tickets to the Nitehawk screening here.
The rundown: With the same campy yet sincerely felt approach to dystopia as “Black Mirror,” a man’s life is forever changed after he’s struck in the face by lightning.
For fans of: Oscar Isaac ― the actor stars in this dramatic short.
Directed by Brian Petsos. Find tickets to the Nitehawk screening here.
The rundown: A young man struggles to make it to school on time due to his compulsions in a heartbreaking portrait of OCD.
For fans of: “Autism in Love,” and other films navigating the struggle to connect in the face of mental illness.
Directed by Gabriel Wilson. Find tickets to the Nitehawk screening here.
The rundown: A man spends time with a cosplay prostitute after he’s stood up by an online date.
For fans of: “Her” and other indie films about attempts to connect in a digital world.
Directed by Saj Pothiawala. Find tickets to the Nitehawk screening here.
The rundown: A pair of South African teenage girls break into homes to cause harmless trouble in a story about dabbling in danger to assert individuality.
For fans of: “Mustang”
Directed by Marysia Makowska. Find tickets to the Nitehawk screening here.
”An Eldritch Place”
The rundown: A man discovers a dangerous secret while working as a security guard.
For fans of: H.P. Lovecraft ― the director describes the film as “Lovecraftian.”
Directed by Julien Jauniaux. Find tickets to the Nitehawk screening here.
”Those C*cksucking Tears”
The rundown: Country music is often accused of being full of the same old cliches: women, dogs, trucks, broken hearts. But in 1973, the world’s first openly gay country album was released, breaking down barriers of the genre.
For fans of: “Do I Sound Gay?”
Directed by Dan Taberski. Find tickets to the Nitehawk screening here.
”Frankie Cosmos / Art School”
The rundown: Somehow, teenage love is both listless and crazy-making. This music video about a girl who obsesses over Justin Bieber’s music and persona while lazing around in her bedroom embodies both feelings.
For fans of: Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Boy Problems” music video, directed by Petra Collins.
Directed by Sophia Bennett Holmes. Find tickets to the Nitehawk screening here.
”Where We Are Now (Who Are We Anyway?)”
The rundown: Vito Acconci, a revered ‘60s artist whose work predicted selfie-centered art, puts together a retrospective at MoMA PS1 in Queens.
For fans of: “Eames: The Architect And The Painter”
Directed by Zachary Heinzerling. Find tickets to the Nitehawk screening here.
The rundown: A woman isolates herself in order to reconnect with her art.
For fans of: Sofia Coppolla’s movies, and other atmospheric, imagery-rich films.
Directed by Albert Choi. Find tickets to the Nitehawk screening here.
The Nitehawk Shorts Festival will take place Nov. 9-13 at the cinema’s location in Brooklyn, New York. Huffington Post Arts & Culture is the Media Sponsor for the festival and will provide the inaugural Huffington Post Impact Award.