Hey! It's me, Handstick, the official Vimeo mascot. I live at Vimeo HQ in New York City. You can recognize me because I’m a hand on the end of a stick.
The Curation Team has kindly asked me to present Vimeo’s Top 12 Videos of 2012. Why, you ask? Well, I don’t like to boast, but on the Staff Picks Channel you’ll notice that the videos are “hand-picked with Sam, Jason, Jordan, and the rest watch a lot of videos, and some of them even have decent taste. But we all really know which hand is on the steering wheel.
So yes, we’ve got to hand it to these videos. Each singlehandedly captivated us with its cinematographic handiwork, candidly recorded offhand moments, and downright handsome filmmaking. Plus, each one received a Staff Pick nod during the year, so you can rest assured that they’ve all been handsticked with
The City of Samba
Widely credited as the godfather of tilt shift, Keith Loutit remains a driving force, always pushing himself, and by extension the entire scene, forward. Working with Jarbas Agnelli on this film, the pair perfectly captures the magnificence of Rio’s 2011 Carnival with a video composed of 170,000 incredible stills.
Josh Soskin’s decision to shoot his second short on 35mm was daring and smart. Shot by Rob Hauer and released in time for Valentine's Day, this bad-boy romance stars Kristin Malko as a petulant rich girl whose problems aren't easy to see, and Boyd Holbrook as a moving man who isn't as he appears. You know what is exactly as it appears? The gorgeous 35mm cinematography.
Andrew Thomas Huang brought this film to Vimeo fresh from a win at Slamdance 2012. Over a million views later, Andrew signed to Blink and Colonel Blimp, and more recently, he traveled to Iceland to shoot a video for Bjork. Aside from the compositing, all the effects in Solipsist are practical. If you’d like to know more about the process, just peek behind the scenes.
On a budget of just £4,000, Ellis Bahl crafted a dark revenge thriller that twists and turns till you don't know what's what anymore. And it all takes place in reverse. In the aftermath, Ellis took home a UKMVA and grabbed spots on the music video rosters of Doomsday in the US and Colonel Blimp in the UK. Nice!
Holi is always a stunning spectacle, and there's something exceptionally striking about this tribute to the Hindu festival of colors by NYC-based production company Variable. Shot on a Phantom Flex with prototype lenses made by Angenieux, the film shows us that if we slow down for a second, something beautiful might just stop us in our tracks.
The Eagleman Stag
Mikey Please’s graduation piece, made at London’s Royal College of Art, has claimed every award in its path so far, including a BAFTA. Will Mikey add Oscar to the list? He's in the running. The short is absurdly ambitious in its stop-motion techniques and narrative depth. Viewers are often convinced the film is CG. But it’s not, honest.
The concept is simple and timeless: follow a skater through the streets and document the tricks. Colin Kennedy took this classic form and brought us something new with QUIK: Austyn Gillette pushing fast through L.A., landing big tricks at a number of spots as the camera zips along to keep up and film everything in between. Through the ever-moving shots, we are shown what it's like to interact with a city on a skateboard. It’s a joy to ride along.
Always a Fire
With a spiffy new creative space in Brooklyn and five Staff Picked projects, 2012 was a banner year for Union HZ, a collective of documentary filmmakers including Jeremiah Zagar, Nathan Caswell, Galen Summer, Cassidy Gearhart, Julian King, and Jeremy Yaches. Our favorite is this profile doc that’s as relentless and powerful as its subject, NY Giants football player Chad Jones.
Everything is Incredible
Tyler Bastian, Trevor Hill, and Tim Skousen have worked since 2007 to tell the inspiring story of Agustin, a polio-stricken former cobbler in Honduras. Living in poverty and confined to a wheelchair, Agustin dreams of flight, something he’s aspired to achieve for the last 50 years. Watch this moving film and make sure to read this.
As I Am
Chris Dean is a South Memphis teen with an old soul. He eloquently introduced President Obama at his high school graduation, and the video footage won him a scholarship. Photojournalist Alan Spearman tracked down Chris and, together with DP Mark Adams, embarked on this beautiful project. Filmed while walking Chris' old streets for two months, As I Am fuses gorgeous photography and poetic observation of a hometown that’s been left but not forgotten.
Based in Valenciennes, France, Supinfocom and its students have produced some of the most consistently charming and technically proficient 3D animated shorts on Vimeo. Le Taxidermiste is no exception — it’s a dark comedy set at a funeral where the line between life and death has never been fuzzier.
This time last year, many creative types hailed Don't Hug Me I'm Scared as their favorite music video of 2011. This year, Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling broke away from their friends at the collective This Is It to go commercial without losing an ounce of psychedelic charm in this mind-melting video featuring hand-crafted plasticine collages.