2016 has been, well, eventful. In a year marked by the departure of too many of our “Heroes” (shout out to the Starman!), political upheavals around the world and the untimely demise of the headphone jack, it was especially refreshing to dig into this year’s archive of Staff Picks and revisit some of the brightest moments from the year that was. That’s not to say this was an easy task, though. Sifting through the millions of videos that were uploaded to Vimeo this year and whittling them down to a digestible list of “the best of the best” is probably impossible and definitely insane. But we gave it a shot, like we do every year, and we’re really pleased with the results.

In many respects, 2016 was a turning point for Vimeo. Bolstered by our first full slate of Vimeo Originals and our new Staff Pick Premieres program, Vimeo has never been a more formidable viewing destination. Whereas filmmakers were previously hesitant to share their festival shorts online, Vimeo has emerged as the preferred platform for launching the best short films on the internet. It’s no coincidence that some of the jury prize winners from this year’s Sundance Film Festival and SXSW appear on this list.

That said, many of the videos on our list eschewed the festival circuit altogether and went straight to Vimeo. As curators, there’s a unique thrill to discovering a video on Vimeo, sharing it with the community and then witnessing it go far and wide across the internet with audiences reacting the same way we did when we first watched it.

We hope you enjoy our favorite videos from 2016 half as much as we did. Even though 2016 might have seen many low points on the whole, we’re so grateful that it’s been a great one for creativity, for exciting new voices steadfastly putting their work onto Vimeo for us and the rest of the world to enjoy and to discover. 2016 will be a tough act to follow in more ways than one.

Action Sports

When We Were Knights from GoPro


Vimeo On Demand Best Action Sports:

Vice Versa from The Orchard



MANOMAN from Simon Cartwright


Vimeo On Demand Best Animation:

Pear Cider and Cigarettes from Robert Valley



Her Friend Adam from Ben Petrie


Vimeo On Demand Best Comedy:

Uncle Kent 2 from Factory 25



4.1 Miles from The New York Times


Vimeo On Demand Best Documentary: 

Thank You For Playing from FilmBuff



HYPER-REALITY from Keiichi Matsuda


Vimeo On Demand Best Drama:

Always Shine from Oscilloscope Laboratories


Eye Candy

2016 AICP Sponsor Reel – Dir Cut from Method Studios



Stylo G x Jacob Plant “Bike Engine” from Keith Schofield


Vimeo On Demand Best Music:

Toro Y Moi: Live From Trona from Primary Colors



China: A Skier’s Journey from Jordan Manley



Outstanding pieces of art, no? There is more where that came from! Visit this page for a list of the best Staff Picks from months past.