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Rachel Link curates content for National Geographic's Short Film Showcase. Each week she features films from talented creators that span a range of topics. She hopes that this work will inspire viewers to explore the world around them and encourages filmmakers to keep pushing the boundaries of visual storytelling.

Short Film Showcase: Top Ten Picks for 2016

In 2016, we laughed, we cried, but mostly we watched a lot of short films. The Showcase featured many incredible pieces covering a wide range of topics, including death-defying carnies and extraordinarily dull men. To recap the year, Lauren Leadmon and I selected 10 of our favorite shorts that stood out in each of the following categories: Action Riding…

Explore the Hidden and Fragile World Inside Caves: Filmmaker Q&A with Drew Perlmutter

Millions of years in the making, underground caves sustain delicate ecosystems that are rich in biodiversity. In this film, explorers of the vast cave networks in the southern United States explain the importance of preserving these subterranean worlds. Director Drew Perlmutter spoke with me about his love of caving and some of the unique challenges…

Watch a Filmmaker’s Painted Portrayal of Istanbul: Filmmaker Q&A with Justin Heaney

Digital content creator Justin Heaney applies a popular filter over his short film to create a Prisma-inspired animation. This short highlights the colors and shapes of Istanbul, Turkey—with a touch of modernity. I spoke with Justin about what went into creating this unique look. What inspired your trip to Istanbul? I was inspired by the…

Cameras Reveal the Secret Lives of a Mountain Lion Family: Filmmaker Q&A with Sharon Negri

From Persecution to Coexistence: An Image Makeover for America’s Lion Article by Rucha Chitnis This summer, America woke up to the unequivocally endearing footage of five mountain lion kittens born in the Santa Susana Mountains, just north of Los Angeles.  They made national headlines. “They nailed their Hollywood-area debut with adorable hisses, deep blue eyes…

Care About the Ocean? Think Twice About Your Coffee Lid: Filmmaker Q&A with Justin Lewis and Michelle Stauffer

Near Bermuda in the Atlantic Ocean, currents define the Sargasso Sea—the only sea that is not defined by land boundaries. Known by some as a floating rain forest, the Sargasso Sea is named for the free-floating seaweed Sargassum and provides food and shelter for a vast variety of wildlife. However, those same currents carry a…

A 12-Year-Old Horse Jockey Races Towards His Dream: Filmmaker Q&A with Jonny Madderson

Dylan is a 12-year-old boy who strives to become a professional jockey. One of his first races was the Glenbeigh Races, a prestigious grassroots horse racing event in Glenbeigh, a rural southwestern area of Ireland. His training involves boxing, and his inspiration is supplemented by quotes from Rocky IV. Because he’s such a lightweight, he…

A Look Inside Ethiopia’s Falash Mura Community: Q&A with Filmmaker Lior Sperandeo

Falash Mura is the name given to the community of Ethiopians who practice the Jewish faith and claim the right to live in Israel. Every year, the city of Gondar hosts what is billed as the largest Passover celebration in the world. The Falash Mura community bakes and sews for days, preparing for the Jewish…

Her Parents Made the Ultimate Sacrifice for Democracy—She Continues the Fight

Director Joanna Lipper‘s award-winning documentary The Supreme Price centers around one family’s fight for democracy in Nigeria. In the 1990s key leaders of the pro-democracy movement, M.K.O and Kudirat Abiola, died at the hands of the country’s military dictatorship. This extended trailer follows their daughter, Hafsat Abiola, as she continues her parents’ mission to turn…

Imagine Making One Dress You’ll Wear Every Day for Life: Short Film Showcase Filmmaker Q&A

Roughly 10 women in a town in Sardinia still wear the traditional dresses they made as adolescents. These hand-embroidered garments are reversible, with the elaborately decorated side worn during major life events and a plain side worn on a daily basis. Filmmaker Andrea Pecora‘s Desula captures the detailed creation of these dresses and the stories…

Animation Explores the Beautiful Circles of Our World: Short Film Showcase Filmmaker Q&A

Travel from underwater to outer space in this incredible animation from production company Chromosphere and sound designer David Kamp. Watch forms found in the natural and scientific world emerge from the basic geometric elements of a circle. Watch forms found in the natural and scientific world emerge from the basic geometric elements of a circle. Chromosphere’s…

Night Skiing With Emergency Flares—One Epic Ride: Short Film Showcase Filmmaker Q&A

Watch Greg Tuscher and Nicolas Vuignier as they ski and snowboard at night in Wallis, Switzerland, with lit rescue flares attached to the back of their equipment. The sparks illuminate the mountainside and cast ephemeral shadows of the riders. I spoke with Nicolas Vuignier about the film he produced with Jules Guarneri. When did you…

Protecting the Siberian Tiger’s Last Home: Short Film Showcase Filmmaker Q&A

Rangers in eastern Russia are working tirelessly to protect the Ussuriskii State Nature Reserve, which is under threat from logging and poaching. This nature sanctuary or Zapovednik is home to some of the last remaining Siberian tigers in the region. Filmmaker Emmanuel Rondeau interviews some of the men fighting to save the largest and most…

Corn Dogs and Crushes: Teen Love at a Fair in the American South- Short Film Showcase Filmmaker Q&A

Teenagers engage in the age-old rituals of courtship at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair in Dudley, North Carolina. Filmmakers Kelly Creedon, Sami Jorgensen, and Callaghan O’Hare capture endearing interviews with young couples who earnestly believe they’ll be “together forever.” I spoke with Kelly Creedon about the making of the film. Why did you choose the…

The Remarkable Story of Curt Harper, Surfing Mentor and Local Legend: Short Film Showcase Filmmaker Q&A

Curt Harper is a 50-year-old competitive surfer and beloved mentor to Southern California’s “groms” (young surfers). Diagnosed with autism as a child, a doctor recommended that Harper be institutionalized; his parents refused and instead fostered their son’s love of surfing. Now a fixture in the surf scene, this short documentary from Westward Productions highlights Harper’s…

Extremely Rare White Lions Caught on Camera: Short Film Showcase Filmmaker Q&A

In September 2014, a white lion cub was spotted in Singita Kruger National Park. While hundreds of these animals exist in captivity, only 13 remain in the wild, making the sighting unique. Black Bean Productions set out to capture footage of these remarkable big cats, whose coloration is not albinism but is caused by a…