Tears along the long road of short films

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“If Anything Happens I Love You”… an animated, 12-minute tear-jerker.

“It’s interesting to see Netflix slowly starting to increasingly dabble in the short-film genre, one that so far as I can see, hasn’t yet been tapped into much by many platforms,” writes streaming columnist NICK OVERALL

AS a kid, one of my favourite yearly surprises was when my mother would announce that she had the annual Tropfest finalists for me to watch.

Nick Overall.

They’d always come via DVD, in a slim cardboard sleeve attached to the newspaper. The disc – in our age of streaming, almost a strange relic of the past – would contain a dozen or so short films that were competing for the top prize of what’s considered the world’s largest such festival.

These short bursts of creative storytelling had quite an influence on me and my interest in all this movie and television stuff I love to dive into and write about. 

The thought of it came after watching a new short film on Netflix that’s been stirring up quite the attention, “If Anything Happens I Love You”.

It’s an animated, 12-minute tear-jerker that follows two grieving parents as they struggle with losing their daughter after a school shooting. It’s a heart-string plucker and viewers claim it can’t be watched without at least a little bit of mist in the eyes. 

It is interesting to see Netflix slowly starting to increasingly dabble in the short-film genre, one that so far as I can see, hasn’t yet been tapped into much by many platforms.

This might in part be due to the short lifespan of “Quibi”, a mobile-only streaming platform that was set to focus purely on short-form content. “Quick Bites. Big Stories” was its advertising gimmick and it wanted to give audiences small bursts of entertainment of only around 10 minutes, supposedly perfect for a public transport ride or a work-break or the like.

It attracted nearly 2 billion bucks worth of investment, yet after launching in only April it’s to shut down next month after not meeting subscriptions forecasts. 

Seems like the whole “short” advertising model might have actually worked against the platform more than for it. Considering that streaming services are always competing for the biggest and most bombastic libraries possible to give users their money’s worth, the idea of “small” in any capacity seems perhaps a case of shooting oneself in the foot. 

However, the attention that “If Anything Happens I Love You” is getting might show there is a market for short works, especially if they’re mixed into the catalogues of the larger platforms.

When you consider the massive success of short-form content such as TikTok, this becomes all the more apparent. Tropfest has in the last few years switched tracks to working with YouTube where the films can be streamed with just a few mouse clicks.

WITH the death of soccer superstar Diego Maradona last month, it’s interesting to see what’s out there about him in the streaming world. Amazon Prime, as mentioned before in this column, excels with its sporting documentary catalogue, has a brilliant doco film on the player, titled “Diego Maradona”, which offers a true insight into the highs and lows of the star’s career.

Netflix also has one up its sleeve called “Maradona in Mexico”. Rather than an overview of his life at large, this focuses on his coaching of the Mexican club, the Dorados of Culiacán, which also happens to be the heart of a major drug-trafficking cartel. 

Moving between these new short films to learning about the life of one of the world’s most famous sportsmen in just a few button presses makes it quite a shift from getting my free discs with the Saturday morning paper delivery once a year.

 Is this what getting older feels like?

More of Nick Overall on Twitter @nick_overall


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