My favorite films from each of the sessions I saw were:
Favorite: The Ballad of Ella Plummhoff, directed by Barbara Kronenberg
Runner-up: Ms. Vanilla, directed by 徐子悅 (Hsu Tsu-yueh)
Sci-Fi Shorts (International)
Favorite: Beautiful Dreamer, directed by David Gaddie
Favorite: The Clock Makers Dream, directed by Cashell Horgan
Sci-Fi Shorts #2
Favorite: As You Were by Trevon Matcek
After three years of watching short films at Worldfest-Houston, I've noticed a few things. The biggest trend is that so many short films deal with grief, or at least loss. In looking back over my write-ups of the 26 short films I saw this year, eight of them were specifically about grief. Another six were about loss (of home, memory, freedom, soul/lifeforce, Earth, or limbs). Only twelve of the films (fewer than half!) didn't fit neatly into one of those two categories, and for a few of those, an argument could be made that they actually did edge in there.
Honestly, I'd like to see a little less of obvious dystopian futures, and a little less about grieving, but I can understand why grief in particular is such a compelling subject for filmmakers.
Looking ahead to next year, it looks like I may not have my usual conflict, so I may get to see even more short film sessions. I hope so!