British filmmaker Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Inception) is now a major player in Hollywood and this 1997 short short film, Doodlebug, displays the darker tone that would serve Nolan so well in his successful feature film career. In Doodlebug, we find a ragged man tormented by a bug in his ratty apartment. It has a nice twist that also highlighted Nolan's fondness for visual effects. Nolan went on to make his first feature film, Following, soon after.
Burton revealed his hand in this stop-motion animation film - made when he was 23 - in which a young boy dreams of being horror legend Vincent Price. It was not his first short film but it introduced him to the wider film world as a darlky humorous director, which would lead on to his first successful feature film, Beetle Juice. Having Vincent Price narrate this short animation film was a salient move.
Set in Paris and starring Natalie Portman, Hotel Chevalier is a self-contained romance that also acted as a precursor to Wes Anderson's offbeat feature film, The Darjeeling Limited. Jason Schwartzman is the lovesick patron of the hotel when he is visited by the woman (Portman) who pushed him into his Parisian hideaway. This is what love is like in the real world: painful and heartbreaking.
Whiplash was the precursor to the feature film of the same name, and has become the blueprint for creating a proof-of-concept short, sometimes called a sizzle. However, this is by no means a new idea: see the shorts of horror Saw, South African sci-fi District 9 and Pixels. Those who have seen the feature film, Whiplash, will recognise the scene in the short film, for it is almost exactly the same; almost shot for shot. A student drummer has been invited to partake in his music school's top band, run by a tyranical teacher.