Patsy the Angry Nerd’s Top Ten Directors of 2019 – Short Film Edition
For this list I had to narrow it down to ten (plus my three honorable mentions) after watching twenty-four shorts this year, not counting the individual segments of anthology films. I’m not counting those, because they are generally part of a larger narrative and not specifically a standalone entity. What does this mean? Well, it means that films like Hi-Death or Holiday Hell or Shevenge aren’t included in this list but that doesn’t mean that you won’t see some of those directors’ other work on this list. Also, I need to preface this by saying that I haven’t given these specific rankings to these directors, I mainly want to promote them and their work, which you should certainly seek out and watch for yourself. Without further adieu, here’s the list.
Izzy Lee – Anyone who knows me or follows me on social media or has listened to me on podcasts you’ll know that I am a huge Izzy Lee fan, and it isn’t hard to see why. Not only is she a great person, but she’s also a phenomenal writer, director, and actor. Her short films The Obliteration of the Chickens and Re-Home that came out this year were absolutely incredible, just to add to her already impressive resume, including For a Good Time, Call which is featured in the aforementioned Shevenge and the eye-popping good Innsmouth.
Diana Porter – At the Shawna Shea Film Festival (which will come up a few more times) in October I was privileged to see Diana Porter’s debut film, Heartbeat and I was blown away. It was a grim look at the future that could be, and actually is close to coming to fruition in certain parts of the country. Diana is also a supremely talented actress and she is also an excellent director. I’m looking forward to her future projects, both in front of and behind the camera. She’s a fantastic person that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and conversing with, and I look forward to more fruitful interactions in the future.
Erica Stockwell – I met Erica at the Shawna Shea Film Festival in October where she was premiering her film Firstborn which is one of the best films I saw in 2019. It was funny, it was smart, and it was well-executed by everyone involved. I loved it, and if you have the chance to check it out, please do so. I would say that the film is a reflection of Erica herself, from the brief interactions I’ve had with her. She is passionate about storytelling and sharing her unique thoughts with her audience, and we’re all the better for it.
James Lamond – I met James at Rock and Shock a few years back at his booth for his production company “It Came From the 508” where he was promoting his film One Last Kill. In 2019, the sequel to that well-done film The Box premiered at the Dead of Autumn Horror Festival (another one I’ll be referencing a lot). With one more film on its way to complete the trilogy, I expect a lot in the future from both James and the excellent cast and crew he’s assembled along the way, especially with how invested in his craft James is. He’s a talented filmmaker and is also someone who cares about his actors and crew.
Marcus Slabine – Marcus and I met online a while ago but were finally able to meet in person at the Dead of Autumn Horror Festival where he screened his film The Last Call starring Terry Alexander from Day of the Dead. Marcus is experienced in the film industry, having worked on the crew of The Dark Knight Rises and in the art department for The Amazing Spider-Man 2. I was very impressed with the writing and direction of the film, and found Marcus himself to be a very personable and friendly individual.
Mathew Fisher – I met Mathew a few times without realizing it, but we officially met at the Dead of Autumn Horror Festival where his film Insomniac was screening. I liked the film quite a bit, and like the others on this list, Mathew is a very outgoing and friendly person. He enjoys what he does and he appreciates it when folks share their honest thoughts with him, whether critical or complimentary. I am looking forward not only to seeing him again at other conventions and film festivals but also at what he’s got planned for the future.
Andrea Wolanin – I’ve known Andrea for several years and I have been impressed with her work ever since I first saw her short film M is for Mundane that was up for inclusion in the ABC’s of Death anthology. Andrea’s work is excellent, and I’m not just saying that because I was in her fantastic short From Within, which is creepy and works so well on so many levels. Andrea is also a great person with whom I’ve never had a bad interaction in all the years I’ve known her and all the times I’ve seen her. I have nothing but positive things to say about her, and I cannot wait to see what she brings to the table next.
George James Fraser – George is another person I was privileged to meet at the Dead of Autumn Horror Festival. His shirt film Balletomane might have been my favorite of the festival. It was dark, twisted and utterly brilliant. I really enjoyed it and getting to chat with him during and after the main event only solidified his place on this list. He’s a smart and unique-minded filmmaker who is able to transfer his vision to the screen in a way that makes you want to see what else he’s got in his head, and when we can all see it as well.
Manny Serrano – Manny’s film Matryoshka was a triumph. Not only was it well-done from every angle, but the creature design was also intense and extremely creative. Manny’s style for this film was very reminiscent of Guillermo Del Toro with the creature and of Jeremy Saulnier with the tension he creates. It’s also very well-acted and the small space in which the story takes place gives it plenty of room to tell the story but is also small enough to create a feeling of claustrophobia. He does great work and I can’t wait to see what he’s going to come up with next.
Alex DiVincenzo – Alex’s film The Misplaced screen at Dead of Autumn as well, but I had been lucky enough to see it a few months earlier. Similarly to Matryoshka, there is a sense of claustrophobia due to the smallish space in which the film takes place. The story is told well, and there is no sense of ambiguity when it comes to the climax of this short film. Alex does a great job with a short amount of time and a small space, it does not hinder him in any way when it comes to telling his story. I’ve known Alex for several years and he’s always interested in hearing about what people think of his films, and he is constantly working on ways to improve his skills in so many different areas.
Chloe Carroll – Her short film Ticks excels in inducing shudders, making your skin crawl, and creeping you out. For more information about her, check out her website and the Women in Horror article in which she participated.
Jeremy Joseph Arruda – His film Strawberry Lane was another that I saw at Dead of Autumn, and even though I did not have the chance to meet and chat with him, I was quite impressed with the film and look forward to his next project.
Rob Lee – His film The Medicus was excellent, and I know that he’s got some other stuff cooking that I’m hoping to see this year.