THE HOLLYSHORTS HOT LIST: HollyShorts Film Festival Launches Inaugural Hot List of Top 30 Short Films

Gregory Weinkauf
4 min readFeb 5, 2021

Film festivals abound, and bringing artists together is always a good thing, but nothing compares to the HollyShorts Film Festival: based right in the middle of Hollywood, it’s Oscars-adjacent and Oscar-qualifying, its alums often proceeding to increasing renown. Plus it’s inspiring and fun: I’ve been fortunate to attend many HollyShorts screenings, panels, and parties, and a more diverse, driven, and delightful lot of cineastes you’d search long and hard to find.

Indeed, why scour the planet? The whole world comes to HollyShorts! Easily one of the world’s most influential shorts festivals, HollyShorts’ 2020 edition showcased 428 short films, featuring 128 international short films representing 36 countries — these selected from over 6,000 submissions from 110 countries. The festival anticipates over 7,000 entries in 2021.

HollyShorts HOT LIST: Emil Gallardo’s 1,2,3 All Eyes On Me

With such a comprehensive worldview, the films in HollyShorts’ cream of the crop prove particularly noteworthy, which is why, in this their 17th year, they’re presenting their first annual HollyShorts HOT LIST: their ranking of the very best short films from emerging and diverse storytellers. Represented in the list below, these are landmark films, standouts among standouts, breaking the mold, winning a variety of accolades — and being sought for adaptations into longer-form content.

HollyShorts HOT LIST: Travon Free’s Two Distant Strangers

Commencing a new annual tradition, behold!

The 2021 HollyShorts HOT LIST:

  • 1,2,3 All Eyes On Me by Emil Gallardo
  • All Inclusive by Teemu Nikki
  • Alive by Jimmy Olsson
  • An Uninvited Guest by Richard B. Pierre
  • Anna by Dekel Berenson
  • Birthday Girl by Portia A. Buckle
  • The Birth of Valerie Venus by Sara Clift
  • Bittu by Karishma Dube
  • The Coin by Siqi Song
  • David by Zach Woods
  • Da Yie by Anthony Nti
  • End-O by Alice Seabright
  • Fourth Wall by Kelsey Bollig
  • Henet Ward by Morad Mostafa
  • Hunger Ward by Skye Fitzgerald
  • If Anything Happens I Love You by Will McCormack, Michael Govier
  • Killing Small Animals by Marcus Svaberg
  • Mister Cachemire by Iouri Philippe Paillé
  • Narrow by Anna Chazelle
  • Nahjum by Sebastian Torres Greene, Manuel Del Valle
  • November 1st by Charlie Manton
  • O28 by Otalia Causse, Geoffroy Collin, Lousie Grardel, Antoine Marchand, Robin Merle, and Fabian Meyran
  • Simulacra by Curry Sicong Tian
  • Sticker by Georgi M. Unkovski
  • Two Distant Strangers by Travon Free
  • The Letter Room by Elvira Lind
  • The Van by Erenik Beqiri
  • USA vs Scott by Ora DeKornfeld, Isabel Castro
  • Welcome Back by Tiffany K. Guillen
  • White Eye by Tomer Shushan

The HollyShorts Film Festival has qualified Academy Award winners including Guy Nattiv (SKIN), Rayka Zehtabchi (Period End of Sentence), Marshall Curry (The Neighbor’s Window), and Carol Dysinger (Skateboarding in a Warzone); and nominees such as Siqi Song (Sister), Yves Piat (Netfa Football Club), Kevin Wilson Jr. (My Nephew Emmett), Skye Fitzgerald (Lifeboat), Jamie Donoughue (Shok) and Bryan Buckley (Saria). A haven for new artists, HollyShorts is a huge celebration unto itself, as well as serving as a precursor for awards season in the categories of Live Action Short, Documentary (Short Subject), and Animation Short.

HollyShorts HOT LIST: O28 by Causse, Collin, Grardel, Marchand, Merle & Meyran
HollyShorts HOT LIST: Zach Woods’ David

In 2020, despite the pandemic, HollyShorts (in temporary virtual form) featured a who’s who of major talent and filmmakers including Oscar Isaac and Elvira Lind, Tyrese Gibson, CeeLo Green, Dylan McDermott, Kat Coiro, Stephen Daldry, Indie Spirit Award-winner Fredrica Bailey, Zach Woods, Kevin Alejandro, Phoebe Tonkin, Esmé Creed-Miles, Troian Bellisario, and Ed Westwick. Each year, for filmmakers, it’s the place to be.

And yet, as evidenced by this inaugural HOT LIST, HollyShorts is a year-round experience, engaging its community and spotlighting short films and their filmmakers through monthly screenings, panels, and networking events. The festival’s famed monthly screening series is currently streaming on Bitpix, its proprietary online platform, with 88th Street Productions serving as its production arm. HollyShorts routinely appears among MovieMaker Magazine’s Top 50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee, as well as Film Freeway’s Top 100 Film Festivals. The annual Oscar-qualifying HollyShorts Film Festival is already preparing for its 17th edition in 2021, and is currently accepting early-bird submissions.



Gregory Weinkauf

Writer-director-producer Gregory earned a Cinema degree from USC SCA, worked many industry jobs, and won L.A. Press Club’s top Entertainment Journalism award.