SXSW’s third installment of their ‘Shorts Program’ is full of laughs and pure emotion

Noah Levine

SXSW has selected its top short films out of a pool of over 5,000 entries. These are some of the best narrative shorts within “Shorts Program 3.”


“Milton,” directed by Tim Wilkime, follows a man appropriately named Milton as he joins his girlfriend at her grandpa’s death bed. What ensues next is a hilarious chain of events that sees Milton trying to make a good impression on his girlfriend’s family, but ends up failing horribly. The film has superb comedic delivery and the performances between the actors really work well together. The music selection towards the end of the film helps bring out an emotional side to this dark comedy.

Washed Away

“Washed Away” depicts the relationship between a boy and a girl who are pressured by the religious guidelines of their youth group. Director Ben Kallam pulls a great performance out of his cast who are truly capable of conveying the struggles of a young relationship. The cinematography is visually impressive with dream-like usage of pink and blue lights. The handheld camera work adds an element of realism and grounds the story in reality.


“Heroines,” directed by Katia Badalian, is a hilarious take on the dreaded “sex talk” that adults give to their children. A young girl is taught the dangers of being a woman by her seductive neighbor Regina. The cinematography is tight and stays contained to one single location. The white color palette offers a sense of loneliness, or even solitude. The performances are solid, with Regina being a standout. The final shot is extremely unsettling and casts a dark shadow over the film’s generally comedic tone.

Fuck You

“Fuck You” is an appropriately titled short film by director Anette Sidor. It examines the teenage relationship and deals with toxic masculinity in a comedic and powerful way. Frustrated with her boyfriends actions, the protagonist uses a strap on to challenge gender norms. The cinematography is loose and unfiltered, offering an authentic lens into the society we live in. The performances are strong and hold the comedic — yet empowering — weight of the story.