After about a year now watching online videos for The Daily Reel, I must say I’ve been as frustrated as pleased with what I’ve found. For every cool animated gem — recent favorites include “Incarcarex,” a brilliantly subversive PSA for the Drug Policy Alliance, the strange motion-graphics piece “Observation of the Cat State,” and the Tim Burton-esque “The Scritch Scratch of Busy Little Hands,” there’s just so many lame unfunny sketch-comedy amateur clips that try to pass themselves off as legitimate video pieces that it drives me to near insanity. There’s the occasional smart CG-enhanced comic short (I highly recommend “Jonathan Watts Gets a Hangover“), but where are all the short dramatic films we learned how to make in film school, finely attuned to script, character, acting, frame, and lighting? Very few, it seems, have been made for the web, instead placing their bets on film festivals. Though you’d think by now, for exposure and reach, more filmmakers would be putting their best stuff online.
This is all a preface to my introduction of Hillman Curtis’ affective online short “Embrace,” one of the best dramatic films I’ve seen on the Internet. Sundance worthy? You bet. But Curtis, a highly renown web designer, told me he’s just too busy to send the films out to film festivals or television buyers. So for now, it’s out there for anyone to see, and perhaps — let’s hope — acting as an inspiration for other videomakers to raise the quality of online cinema.