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Summer Shorts: 17 Short Films for Summertime

By Robert Repass

Ah, summer is here! Long days, new love, old friends, adventure, baseball, surf, sun, and crystal clear nights—as well as bugs, bee stings, summer school, humidity, sunburn, annoying tourists, noisy kids, and lost luggage. Summer means something different to each of us, and we all have things we love (and hate) about it. For us, summer means movies! What better time to harvest a fresh (and vintage) crop of short films? (These films are all under 20 minutes—and some are not meant for kids, so prescreening is recommended.)

Our film festival’s theme? Summer itself! So grab a cool drink, kick off your flip-flops, and enjoy the show.

JIM & HELEN FOREVER
In this comedy about love and matrimony, life heats up for our hero when his girlfriend is offered a job on the other side of the continent. (Length: 16:11)

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THE TENT
Summer camping trips are the best—especially with friends. But they can get a little complicated when your tent turns into a teleportation device. (Length: 10:17)

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BELLY
During the summer, we long for those serene sunny days at the beach, but sometimes, as in this animated short, a day at the beach is simply surreal. (Length: 7:29)

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SUMMER ’78
A young boy with a trove of toys and a blockbuster imagination crafts his version of a famous epic. May the summer be with you! (Length: 3:40)

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LAST SUMMER
Two friends take one last summer bike trek as one of them tries to come to grips with their choices and their diverging lives. (Length: 9:17)

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FRANCIS
Summer camp! What could be spookier? This animated short finds a young camper out on a lake, alone, very late one fateful night. (Length: 7:14)

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SUMMER
Roller rinks, Led Zeppelin T-shirts, and disco balls. It’s the last day of summer 1976, and love is in the air, on wheels, and in a skid for three couples. (Length: 15:36)

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DANCE OF THE HONEY BEE
Summer love can sting, just like summer bees—but they display their natural grace and beauty in this short documentary. (Length: 6:08)

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SUMMER ELEVEN
This experimental short was shot and assembled using Instagram and an iPhone during a summer vacation in Amsterdam, Berlin, and Lisbon. (Length: 1:49)

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THIS MUST BE THE ONLY FANTASY
This one’s for all you nostalgic RPG fans: a teenage girl bails on a stalled game night, only to find danger and fantasy just outside the front door. (Length: 13:02)

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BOTTLE
This amazing stop-motion film follows the arc of an unlikely long-distance relationship between two season-crossed friends. (Length: 5:25)

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THE BEACH HOUSE
Family reunions are part of summer, but sometimes they aren’t planned, or easy, or joyful—as in this short, where tragedy reunites estranged siblings. (Length: 11:20)

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WATERFALLING IN LOVE WITH ICELAND
Experience the never-ending daylight of the Nordic summer and the beautiful landscapes of Iceland in this time-lapse short. (Length: 5:17)

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WARPAINT
A true summer love never sees autumn—but it never really leaves us either. In this short, Carey and Audrey face this truth. (Length: 16:01)

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LENA DUNHAM TRIES MEDITATING
Summers get crazy: kids, yardwork, parties, and visiting relatives. Some people find peace through meditation—as long as they can quiet their thoughts. (Length: 4:03)

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NIGHT OF THE FOXES
The heat is on in this short: two teens court danger when a fox is not the only one at play in the proverbial hen house. (Length: 14:17)

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RHINOS
Summer, like love, has a language all its own. In this film, two people make a special connection during an indescribable day. (Length: 14:00)

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Long days and great golden sunlight make summer a great time to experiment with filmmaking. Check out our article on making movies with an iPhone, and then take a look at some Adobe Premiere Pro tutorials. Got your own favorite summer shorts? Share them in our Comments section.