• Zazzau, Akinola Davies

Short Film Gold: Urth Favourites Worth Watching

Four short film adventures we have discovered recently that captured our attention.



If you’re anything like me, you have a love-hate relationship with the internet. It is a neverending source of information, knowledge and inspiration for anything one could possibly imagine. It can also at times be a neverending distraction and an exercise in wading through a quagmire for the gold.

These little shorts below are some of that gold that our eyes have come across this week.


Lucid Dreaming — Laurie Towner

Most surfers I know spend all of their time outside of surfing, talking about surfing, thinking about surfing or watching other people surfing. I grew up in a family of surfers, although being a terrible surfer myself I was always just as hooked on the best of the video footage.  This short film following the humble big-wave sliding Australian, Lurie Towner is an example of why. Basically, Laurie mate asks him to come to Fiji, he half-commits, hears about an approaching swell, chats with his neighbour who eggs him on and eventually they all end up on a boat out the back of Cloudbreak. Even Laurie’s old man stops by for some sun and a chat. It also happens to be some of the best swell Cloudbreak has produced, ever.

Laurie eats it all up and grins from ear to ear all the while. Shot and directed by Australian cinematographer Gary Parker, Lucid Dreaming will take you on a seven-minute holiday into slo-mo big wave heaven.



Zazzau — Akinola Davies


Photographer and filmmaker Akinola Davies travels through Northern Nigeria during Durba, a festival that marks the end of Ramadan. The festival features a parade of the Emir and his entourage on horseback. Akinola has shot for high fashion house Kenzo in Nigeria previously and his talent for direction and styling and a wondrous meld in this short. Akinola and co-writer Abdul-Aziz B. Aliyu say of the festival: “It is integral to the fabric of northern Nigerian society, offering a chance for creative artisans to continue their skilled trade and encouraging the next generation to follow and build on these skills, preventing them from disappearing into the annals of history.”

The colours and sounds of Nigeria pop and swirl in this short that takes you from the streets of the parade and peeks around the neighbouring buildings. With a gentle gaze and impeccable taste with colour blocking from Akinola, the film is both unobtrusive social documentary and eye candy in the form of incredibly colourful mosaic buildings surrounded rows and rows of blue and white plastic chairs.



Wild Inside — Andrew Michael Ellis

A documentary short film that looks at the intersection and unlikely relationship between two different intersecting populations in America, the Arizona state incarcerated prisoners and the wild mustangs of the planes that these prisoners are put to work capturing and breaking. The state managed program is called Wild Horse Inmate Program (WHIP) and has shown success in deterring released inmates from re-offending, the statistics at the end of the film offer some positive light for an otherwise undoubtedly grim subject. The astonishing rate, the highest in the world, of Americans being locked up is declining and it is argued that is due to creating jobs for released inmates, which the WHIP program has shown to be successful in preparing inmates for. It has also had success in adopting out the horses ‘gentled’ through the program as opposed to being sold for meat or held in captivity.

Andrew Michael Ellis explores this intersection of humanity and horses through beautiful cinematography and weaves the two narratives seamlessly into a poignant and powerful short film. Ellis describes the statistics around mass incarceration in America as “dizzying but impersonal” and his film cuts through those dizzying statistics and shares an intimate perspective from inmates going through the WHIP program preparing for release.



Look Up — MEL Films

In 2005 Richard Louv coined the phrase nature deficit disorder to describe the behavioural problems associated with humans, particularly children, spending less time outdoors. Look Up is a short film about getting outside and climbing a big (180 feet!) old tree California redwood to combat nature deficit disorder. The camera crew is led up Tim Kovar from Tree Climbing Planet who has dedicated his life to safely and respectfully getting high on wood. The whole film reminded of being a kid, coming home from school and climbing the highest tree in the neighbourhood, only to freeze at the top swaying in the wind and wait for my dad to come home and get me down. Although that might sound traumatising, it was pure pleasure and a moment of meditation as a child I was unaware I was participating in. Whether or not you think nature deficit disorder is a problematic phrase for a complicated issue, it’s hard to argue that climbing a tree in the middle of nowhere wouldn’t be therapeutic in some way, unless you’re afraid of heights, but hey, fearless, live more.



Check out our 25 inspiring photography documentaries for more online inspiration but for now, time to take the same advice and get up, go out and look up. Enjoy!