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Handpicked with Love: Vimeo’s Top 12 Videos of 2012

December 17, 2012 by Handstick Staff

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.

Moving Takahashi
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.

Le Taxidermiste
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.

Tame Impala
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.



no words to say....i saw some real awesome shits in a day..thanks handstick

Chris Ava PRO

As I Am. sums 2012 for the most people in the world right now.

Public Record PRO

We're psyched to make the list with Always A Fire. Thanks Vimeo! Haven't seen some of the other selections, we're looking forward to watching.

Josh Penn Soskin Plus

an honor to make this list. thanks so much guys. great news to wake up to our here in california. excited to watch these other films. they look fantastic

RJ Evans

Handstick has taste...

Jason Sondhi Staff

Tons of great videos didn't make it. That's why its a list though. Argue away!

Jordan McGarry Staff

The criteria, eligibility rules and judging process for this list were different from those for the Vimeo Festival + Awards. So don't run to the bookies just yet ;)

Colin Kennedy Plus

It's an honor to have QUIK showcased next to such amazing works. Thank you Mr. Handstick!

Lorcan Mak

Really enjoyed this....amazing work!

Sam Morrill Staff

Yup. Didn't realize till recently that you did the music for it!

Nidhi Kamath

was great seeing the 12 movies..really touched my heart esp the man making the helicopter since last 50 yrs.. every movie had something great to tell ! thanks vimeo u made my day :)

Ralph Basui Watkins PRO

Awesome work...really inspiring...makes me work just that much harder...time to shot, edit and tell better stories...thanks to all for shinning and sharing their work.

Don Hendricks Plus

Thank you Vimeo for recognizing all these incredibly talented artists. If someone tells you that they want to know what film art is - tell them to watch these 12 magnificent films. Brilliant every one. Congratulations to everyone involved in the making of these. Bravo!


Glad to see tame impala on the list.

Ejaz Mehedi Plus

"Holi" had to be on the list! It's an enthralling experience to look at such colorful moments slowed down. Congrats to Variable team and Salomon Ligthelm for such a resonating background score. Will have a look at the rest of the films on this list very soon.

Congrats everyone!

Bayly & Moore PRO

Handstick, if ever you feel under-appreciated at Vimeo Galactic HQ, you've always got a job waiting for you in New Zealand, you tricky mutha of a curator you.

Bart van der Gaag Plus

Fantastic selection, well done curators and weller done the filmmakers ( I know weller isn't a word). But Handstick scares me and I want my mom!

Radar Music Videos

Excellent, I'm putting these onto couch mode for Christmas viewing :)
Just wanted to add a note - Ellis Bahl who made the Alt J Breezeblocks video got to make it through our service Radar.
We're burstingly proud Infectious Music posted the brief on our site and burstingly proud that Ellis made the video, which has deservedly done so much for him. He's a really nice man too. We interviewed him about all this and you can see or read the interview here

Maarfi Meriem

Very very inspiring .This make my day . Thanks a lot !

Sebastian TR

Fantastic selection - looking forward to going through some unseen ones, good work putting this together. 12 videos for each month of the year ?

Jordan McGarry Staff

12 videos for 2012. It was incredibly difficult to keep to 12, there are so many videos we loved this year, we could have made the list 2,012 videos long ;)

Sebastian TR

Hah of course - still good job! would be good if there was a "Staff members top 3" In addition to the top 12, where each Staff that voted on the main top 12 would post their own personal top 3 of the year. Might be interesting to see some personal / off the radar results :)

KEON TAYLER Productions

They all look great, and they all have one thing in common - GREAT production values. Nicely timed edits, good focus and us of lighting. A pleasure to watch. But then thats why VIMEO is known for quality and not necessarily quantity. 'Its not how big it gets, its what you use it for that matters!' - said the bishop to the choir boy ... (he was blowing up a crucifix shaped balloon, of course!)
My little 'droid' animated music video is not of this standard but It was my first ever effort in animation. You can see it here if your curious:


I prefer the 30 Best Creative Videos 2012 list on you scroll down long enough ;)

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