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Best of Staff Picks: September 2016

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October 4, 2016 by Vimeo Curation Curation

Every month, Vimeo’s curation team sits around a table and (lovingly, respectfully) debates what extraordinary videos we saw this month that were in fact extra extraordinary. While we never limit ourselves by choosing a specific theme, it seems that most of September’s winningest flicks are tied by a common thread: the pursuit of escape.

From avoiding the workplace rat race, to a group of friends fleeing their hometown in search of a magical tribe, to a little dude and his gramps attempting to escape being bored out of their gourds, these videos are filled with wonderful themes of longing and breaking free. And one thing is for sure: our team agreed on each of these gems pretty much off the bat. So pile up those fallen leaves, put em in a bag and take a seat (leaf bag chair!), and take ‘er easy for an hour with these slick Picks.

“LORN - ANVIL” from Geriko

Inspired by Japanese and Belgian comics, Helene Jeudy and Antoine Caëcka of directing duo Geriko created a brilliantly stark black-and-white animation for Lorn’s song “Anvil.” In this futuristic horror short, a young woman chooses to take her life via a machine, much like the one Neo jacked into in The Matrix. The subsequent journey our main character embarks on is exquisitely detailed, mesmerizing, and seriously awesome.

“Johanna Under the Ice” from NOWNESS

After a devastating bike accident that shattered her leg, world-renowned diver Johanna Nordbald turns to what she calls “The Coldwater Treatment.” A small, triangular hole is cut through several inches of ice. Then, she jumps in. And as she puts it, “There is no place for fear, no place for panic, no place for mistakes.” In Ian Derry’s quiet, gorgeous doc about Johanna’s transition from land rover to deep-water swimmer, it’s hard not to hold your breath for every second that she’s trapped under a thick blanket of solid, impenetrable water.  

Wiwek + Skrillex - “Still In the Cage” from Jodeb

It ain’t easy to make a 20-minute long narrative music video that keeps your audience’s hearts racing at maximum pace and their eyes glued to the screen. The energy in this film is tops, as is the unpredictable story of four friends who hightail it outta Bangkok, seeking a hearsay place where their lives won’t be threatened every day. Plus, there’s spontaneous dancing à la Thriller. If you’ve got 20 minutes, you won’t regret checking out this amazing video.

“American Male” from Michael Rohrbaugh

What is masculinity? What is being American? Do you have to be HUGE? What does it all mean??? I don’t know, but what director Michael Rohrbaugh shows us is that it’s more complicated than platitudes about being ripped, drinking beer, eating beef, and objectifying women. His biting commentary on the state of the “American male” is as sharp as the eponymous character’s muscles.

“YETI LANE - L’Aurore” from Simon Gesrel

In the new Yeti Lane video, Simon Gesrel takes us inside Pandora’s Diner, a place as dangerous and unpredictable as the famed box itself. It’s where an interference can set off a chain reaction that’s as dangerous as anything in barroom brawl films like From Dusk Till Dawn, Mean Streets, Inglourious Basterds, and Road House. Plus, unlike those violent films with real people, this ghastly violence is perpetrated by puppets and experienced in bullet time! Matt Stone and Trey Parker would be proud. #TeamAmerica

Born to be Mild from Aeon Video

Rarely does a film come along that simultaneously blows your mind and lulls it into boredom (bear with me, it’s in a good way). Andrew Oxley’s short doc Born to be Mild achieves both perfectly. From characters who obsess over the most mundane of hobbies, tasks, and trivia, to men who actively pursue nothingness, his film has a finger on the pulse … wait. Is there a pulse...? I can’t hear anything. Phew! There it is. I would hate to lose people as fascinating and delightful as those in his film. You’ll just have to see for yourself.

The Marvel Symphonic Universe from Tony Zhou

As Vimeo’s master of video essays, Tony is no stranger to this list. In his latest piece, he questions just why there are no memorable songs from Marvel films. Think about it. We can all hum songs from Star Wars, James Bond, and Harry Potter. But when it comes to the Marvel Universe, the highest-grossing film series to date, we can’t recall a single note. Follow along with Tony as he hits the streets, asks all the hard questions, and reveals the truth.

“Taking Flight” from Moonbot Studios

When Oscar®-winning animation studio Moonbot uploaded a new film to Vimeo this month, you can trust that we dropped everything to watch it. The film oozes with slick visual style and imaginative storytelling as a young boy’s boring day turns into a larger-than-life galactic battle.

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

Keith Schofield’s “most personal music video yet” is beyond imagination. Crazy visuals bring an off-the-wall concept to life, continuously taking unexpected turns in under three minutes. Known for pushing music videos’ boundaries with humorous effects, Keith’s latest is a solid reminder that he is always a director to keep an eye on.

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p>Those picks were pretty freaking good, right? Want more? Visit this page for a list of the best Staff Picks from months past.

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