Though we saw dozens of short films at the Indie Street Film Festival last summer, there were a few extra special ones that went above and beyond in terms of visual and narrative prowess. Filmmaker Doug Roland’s official selection “Jada” was definitely one of those films that hit it out of the park for us. The 16-min short tells the spirited and heartfelt story of Jada (Kaycie Bowens), a young girl living alone and scraping by on Venice Beach, selling handcrafted wood people and exploring when, where and what she wants. With an upbeat attitude and glowing personality, it’s hard to see the obvious negativity of her situation. And yeah, well, a solo 7-yr old girl fending for herself - there’s definitely a bigger story hiding here. Yet, despite the initial hidden drama, this little girl beams off the screen, successfully carrying a story that should probably be far beyond her means. This doesn’t feel like the story of a victim. It feels more like one of a survivor. One you want to root for and take care of, but one you also don’t want to tie down.Roland directs Kaycie Bowens well, placing her silhouetted profile against one of the most gorgeous sunsets/sunrises I’ve ever seen in a film, burning an incredible image into the minds of the audience. This is the image of a powerful spirit, one that can’t be bound. When child services and a mysterious man get involved in Jada's life, we finally get to know a little more about her background. The hidden drama is exposed. When we discover he wants to give her a different kind of chance at life, it’s then that everything becomes complete in a special kind of way. “Jada” seems to present a story that it never intended to conclude in a straight-forward manner. And that is what's perfect about it. Because in the end, I think we know everything will be okay. And if it won’t be okay? Well, that’s the power of a great film: one that leaves you wondering and remembering all the same. As they say in the film, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Everyone gets to their intended destination eventually. Discover Jada’s story and watch Roland’s touching film today!  

Featured Short: "The Boy with a Camera for a Face"

Writer/Director Spencer Brown's short film "The Boy with a Camera for a Face" is like a satirical moving image poem. With a sing-songy narration voiced by Steven Berkoff, this fairy tale story hits both humorous and sad points while also being emotionally telling of the media-driven society we live in today. The film starts out quite straightforward from its title to its content. We literally follow the highs and lows of the tale of a boy that is born with a camera in place of his head. However, despite the surface deep translation of its title, the film's surprising emotions and ending make this a rare breed of short film that is well worth multiple watches. The deeper message embedded within the entertainment aspect of the film also serves to make us question the role of media, video documentation, and reality TV on our future.With a hint of Jeunet but a style and vibe all its own, this award-winning short meshes words and imagery effortlessly to create a spell-binding fairy tale of a product. A beautiful addition to his success, be sure to check out Brown's other work here.Also, while you're at it, check out more of the most innovative shorts on the web! 

Indie Street Featured Short: Jonah

This is one of Indie Street's favorite shorts from a few years back, and fully deserves to be re-exposed to anyone who missed it when it was released.  

Mbwana and his best friend Juma are two young men with big dreams. These dreams become reality when they photograph a gigantic fish leaping out of the sea and their small town blossoms into a tourist hot-spot as a result. But for Mbwana, the reality isn't what he dreamed – and when he meets the fish again, both of them forgotten, ruined and old, he decides only one of them can survive. Jonah is a big fish story about the old and the new, and the links and the distances between them. A visual feast, shot though with humour and warmth, it tells an old story in a completely new way.  

Get inspired by Indie Street's full selection of free short indie films.

Trailer: Fruitvale Station (Oscar bound??)

As one of our top 10 Indie films of 2013, "Fruitvale Station" is amongst only a handful of true Independents that has a real chance at a best picture nomination. Being as the oscar noms are announced in 9 days, we figured we would do our part with a call to voters. For academy voters that have an ear to the Indie Street, please consider nominating "Fruitvale Station" not only for it's important story, but for the wonderful acting performances (highlighted by Michael B. Jordan).

Tailer: The Rocket

One of our favorite foreign dramas of the year, this gem from Australian director, Kim Mordaunt strikes all the chords.  Astounding performances from two non-actor children from Laos lay the foundation for this beautiful coming of age tale.  

Just released this week on Vimeo, A Song Still Inside is a character driven drama that draws you in while quietly provoking suspense. The film is a gutsy emotional dissection of love submerged in our changing gender roles. It is wonderfully shot and acted...much congrats from IndieStreet to this successful directorial debut film from Gregory Collins. (starring Rodrigo Lopresti, Susan Highsmith, and Jayce Bartok) Purchase the film on Vimeo on Demand by clicking here: