This year’s Show Me Shorts film festival is headed online


We take a closer look at the exciting short film programmes playing at this year’s Show Me Shorts film festival, all of which are now available online.

UPDATED 21 OCT

Short films are life, and life is like a box of chocolates. As such, you never know what you’re going to get with Show Me Shorts, but we sure do want to scoff the lot down.

Everyone can get their short film fix when Aotearoa’s biggest short film festival returns to screens big and small nationwide this October. That includes you fine folk currently in lockdown. (See here for the full list of locations.)

Six cinema sessions and three online sessions—each curated to a specific theme—make up this year’s Show Me Shorts programme. You want art? You’ll find it. Something whānau-friendly? It’s here. Just want a bloody good time? There’s something for you here.

Though other parts of Aotearoa have been getting their short film goodness on the big screen, the recent COVID-19-related announcements have led to the indefinite postponement of in-cinema events in northern parts of the country. As such, Show Me Shorts has made all nine sections of their programme available to rent through their On Demand platform.

From 12.00pm Friday 22 October to midnight on Sunday 31 October, audiences can access any one of the nine sessions for $10 or go “all-in” with the entire 75-film bundle for $49. Once a ticket’s bought, you’re given two weeks to watch the films. There’s also a tenth session made up of this year’s Show Me Shorts award nominees, with the livestreamed awards event taking place at 7.oopm Thursday 28 October.

As an added bonus, Australian three-minute children’s comedy Straight Outta Covid will be available free-to-view on Play Stuff from 12.00pm Friday 22 October.

Take a closer look at the screenings below along with highlighted shorts that grabbed our attention.


The Sampler

Playing in select cinemas (find times and tickets) and online (find viewing options) | full line-up of shorts

New to the wonderful world of short films? Start here. As per the official festival description, “this collection provides a great way to sample what Show Me Shorts is all about,” and it’s filled with mighty shorts from Aotearoa and around the world.

Short film highlight: Space Invader

One of Show Me Shorts’ big award nominees (including Best Film and Director for Isaac Bell). Has the feeling of Boy with its nostalgic vibes and super cute kid as the lead, but unlike Taika Waititi’s film, this one features a stellar single dad role model. The father-son bond is threatened, however, when dad gets a girlfriend.


Australian Focus

Playing in select cinemas (find times and tickets) and online (find viewing options) | full line-up of shorts

Every year, Show Me Shorts dedicated one programme to a select country. This year, it’s our neighbours across the ditch. “Explore Aboriginal insights and meditations, rural folk battling the force of climate change, along with a fugitive refugee and a funny little take on Covid playdates.”

Short film highlight: Lifeblood

This 20-minute animated short tells the story of Bourke, a historical but “forgotten” place in Australia currently feeling the effects of climate change.


Identity Crisis

Playing in select cinemas (find times and tickets) and online (find viewing options) | full line-up of shorts

We all know how it feels to battle with our sense of self. This showcase exemplifies that common feeling. “The films here challenge our ideas of normalcy and depict our longing for societal acceptance, often in contrast to accepted traditions and culture.”

Short film highlight: Forbidden to See Us Scream in Tehran

If the title wasn’t enough of a selling point, this drama centres on a frontwoman for an Iranian death metal band who puts herself at risk to attend an underground concert.


Crossed Wires

Playing in select cinemas (find times and tickets) and online (find viewing options) | full line-up of shorts

Tested friendships and misunderstandings are at the heart of this collection. “Beware of your preconceptions,” Show Me Shorts warns, “all is definitely not what it seems.”

Short film highlight: A Hole

Judging solely by the trailer below, this one seems to be dedicated to all the artists who have ever worked for a client requesting an unruly number of changes to a project. Thus, an instant must-watch.


Love and Chaos

Playing in select cinemas (find times and tickets) and online (find viewing options) | full line-up of shorts

“The short films collected here reflect our deep desire for human connection.” Sometimes, all we get is anarchy. Other times, we get something truly valuable. These films cover both bases.

Short film highlight: Love is a Hand Grenade

What does grenade-shaped love look like? It looks like hooking up with your best friend after a drunken night out then dealing with the consequences. My heart goes out to those who can relate too closely to this.


Whānau Friendly

Playing in select cinemas (find times and tickets) and online (find viewing options) | full line-up of shorts

Short films aren’t just for adults. In fact, there are countless family friently short films made by the biggest Hollywood studios—none bigger than Walt Disney Studios. This collection brings that magic to all ages. “There is something for everyone, with films sure to bring a sparkle to your child’s eyes.”

Short film highlight: Dans la Nature (In Nature)

How can anyone with a healthy heartbeat NOT be amused by the trailer below?


Online Sampler

Playing online from 9:00am Sat 9 Oct (find viewing options) | full line-up of shorts

Much like The Sampler but with a different selection of 12 films available to watch from the comfort of your home. “Colonial gold-rush, extreme ironing, rebellious Iranians, political activists, teddy bears in a support group all jam-packed with famous faces.”

Short film highlight: Bear With Me

Mixing live-action with puppetry, this local short centres on a support group of toys sharing their traumatic experiences with children.


Online Family Pack

Playing online from 9:00am Sat 9 Oct (find viewing options) | full line-up of shorts

The second selection of all-ages short films, from classroom stories to canine friendships. “Note – some films are aimed at older kids while others are more for youngsters. We recommend checking the age-suggestions at the On Demand platform.”

Short film highlight: Stereotype

Two sides of a post-war conflict threaten to reignite their battle around a tree in this gorgeous Korean animated film.


Weird and Wonderful Online

Playing online from 12:01am Sat 9 Oct (find viewing options) | full line-up of shorts

Love a super weird film? You know who you are and this selection was curated with you in mind. “Discover sensuality amongst the trash heap, psychedelic bar conversations, monster-hunting YouTubers, gory tenderness and a vision of just how stupid the last survivors on planet Earth may indeed be.”

Short film highlight: Survivers

Yes, that’s how the title’s spelt, hinting at the film’s juicy premise: what if the human race is too stupid to adapt and survive?