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Best of Staff Picks: December 2016

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January 6, 2017 by Vimeo Curation Curation

Oh, whoa - sup 2017?! A new year, a new bundle of exceptional shorts for you fellow film nerds to feed your mind by the snow shovel-ful. Last October, you may remember that we introduced Staff Pick Premieres, films making their online debut on Vimeo every Wednesday of every month. Premieres are special because we actually initiate their release and, therefore, we hold them to a pretty high caliber in craft and story. Basically, a video must be so good that its ending prompts every curator on the team to look away from their screens and say “Yeah, this is undeniably awesome/great/sweet.”

This month, all four of our December Staff Pick Premieres - “The Chaperone,” “Whale Valley,” “Listen” and “Territory” - made the cut for our Best of December list. We guarantee you’ll be captivated by them, or we will eat our slushy, salty, soggy L.L Bean Boots.

Once you’re done with those, the rest of ‘em are pretty outstanding as well. 

“Territory” from Eleanor Mortimer

Despite our best efforts to control the world around us, many parts of the world are still at the mercy of the needs of animals -- especially in Gibraltar, where monkeys live free amongst the human population. They use  clever tactics to fulfill their own agendas of eating, defecating, and satisfying their day-to-day boredom. It’s clear that these furry little dudes have absolutely no care in the world for the city that has been built on their island, and they intend to make all of their human neighbors fully aware of that attitude. Furthermore, they appear to be laughing about it. Thankfully, we’re laughing too (sorry Gibraltarians).

Read our Staff Pick Premiere Q&A with director Eleanor Mortimer here.

“Ice Call - Sam Favret / Backyards Project” from PVS Company

PVS Company was on a roll this month with the release of Staff Picked ski film “Moon Line” and, one week later, the action-packed “Ice Call” with freeskier Sam Favret. Featuring Favret flipping and spinning like a madman through the icy blue tunnels, caves, and curved slopes of France’s largest glacier, Mer de Glace (meaning ‘Sea of Blue’), the decision to feature “Ice Call” as the best Action Sports film this month was the first and easiest decision our team made during our deliberations.

“The Chaperone” from Thoroughbread Pictures

The chaperone at a middle school dance is seldom called upon to address anything more urgent than backpack full of beer. Not in the case of Ralph Whims. When a biker gang crashes his students’ shindig, Ralph has no choice but to protect his flock... with his fists of fury! An insane, yet 100% true story.

Read our Q&A with director Fraser Munden here.

“Listen” from Nordic Factory Copenhagen

Winner of the “Best Narrative Short” award at Tribeca Film Festival 2014 and chosen as one of our top dramas of 2016, “Listen” is the story of a Muslim woman who is unable to fully communicate her need for protection due to the assignment of a translator with their own agenda. In twelve harrowing minutes, a sympathetic viewer will search frantically for ways to help our protagonist, who is caught in an unfortunately not uncommon web of crime, language, and the restrictions of their faith.

Read our Q&A with the creators of this Staff Pick Premiere here.

“Order from Chaos” by Max Cooper & Maxime Causeret

With six Staff Picks to his name, Max Cooper has emerged as a rare case of a musician with a knack for commissioning innovative videos for his own musical compositions. Cooper somehow manages to find the perfect visual accompaniments for each of his singles, and Maxime Causeret’s dazzling video for “Order From Chaos” is no exception.

“I Think This Is the Closest to How the Footage Looked” from Yuval Hameiri

Utilizing just a few household items to serve as characters the filmmaker, Yuval Hameiri (whose hands are visibly moving the items), directs the objects to recreate in order to capture the final lost moments of his mom’s life. What ensues is absolutely heartbreaking, honest, raw, and stunningly, a perfect act of filmmaking – the capture of life. Beyond being one of the best films of the month and winning dozens of awards including the 2014 Sundance jury prize for nonfiction it was a runner-up for Vimeo’s Best of the Year.

“Mesh” from Gunner

A wild and delightfully fun mashup of animation styles, “Mesh” is a memorable one-minute-long story of a man and his dog. What’s not to love? Check out the making-of video here.

“Whale Valley” from Join Motion Pictures

Exploring the relationship between two brothers in Iceland, filmmaker Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson creates a story rich in emotion and layered with his culture’s traditions -- all with stunningly beautiful with the stormy fjords and real whales looming in the background. The young actors, though they seldom speak, say volumes about their situation through their expressive faces and Guðmundsson’s deft hand and sense of mise en scène.

Read our interview with director Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson here.

“Makeba / Jain” from Greg&Lio

A music video rarely captures the essence of the song it accompanies as well as Greg&Lio’s video for Makeba / Jain. Chock full ‘o playful visual effects and dance numbers, this video is truly a worthy interpretation.

“World Wide Woven Bodies” from Truls Krane Meby

Ah, children of the ‘90s are probably the last of us to be able to remember the dial-up modem and the pain of surfing an Internet that would take minutes to load a single page. It was so exciting though, you could find anything you ever dreamed of… even porn. This “cumming-of-age” tale poses the question that you might not be the only one watching. Full of nostalgia, memories, and those particular moments we all might prefer to forget “World Wide Woven Bodies” connects us all.

Marina Abramović in Brazil: The Space in Between from Casa Redonda

The legendary performance artist who stared into our souls is back for a mystical journey through Brazil and we’re all invited! Join Marina Abramović as she traverses the birthplace of Samba, seeking out spiritual healers and maybe a dose or two of Ayahuasca. It’s our latest Vimeo Original and it’s a total trip, to say the least.

For those seeking more well-crafted, carefully selected, and highly loved videos, take a journey through our Best of the Month Channel.

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