Latest Posts


Well, well, well. We asked for it and you guys delivered. The entries in our Spring ’13 Short Film Contest featured some astonishing work, making this our most competitive contest yet. Thank you so, so, so much to the 60-plus filmmakers who submitted. Out of those 60-plus, six films made it to the final round, and out of those six films, the following two titles rose to the top. It’s quite fitting that one is a work of nonfiction while the other is fiction, for it shows that we don’t play favorites here at HTN when it comes to form or genre. Note to filmmakers of all stripes and forms: keep submitting short work of any variety in future contests!

A hearty thank you goes out to our judges—David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints), Dustin Smith (Roadside Attractions), and Adam Keleman (HTN Short Film Contest Winner: August ’12 for Long Days)—who were nice enough to write some words about the films they selected.

We are still finalizing the details of our Summer ’13 contest, but expect submissions to be reopening by the end of this week. Congratulations to this month’s winner and runner-up, but, seriously, to every single one of you who submitted: thank you very much. Keep fighting the good fight, you talented people!


Gold Party (Nellie Kluz, 16:30)

The saddest and strangest thing about these stories is just how un-strange they are. In a time when Fox News “journalists” personally sell gold coins during the commercial breaks in their “news” programs and all Americans rush from bubble to bubble as they try to deny the fundamental rot at the center of our economy, Gold Party is a scary, funny, vaguely threatening look at a country in deep, deep denial. (Dustin Smith)


The Chair (Grainger David, 12:00)

A gorgeous, hazy remembrance of an event that shakes a community and takes on almost mythic significance in the eyes of the youngsters who survive it. This is exceptional storytelling. (David Lowery)

The Chair is now available for download at iTunes for only $1.99. Do yourselves two favors and buy this movie—1) support the work of an ambitious, talented short filmmaker, and 2) experience a hauntingly lovely film—before returning here to check out my full HTN review.


Liked it? Take a second to support Hammer to Nail on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Michael Tully is an award-winning writer/director whose films have garnered widespread critical acclaim, his projects having premiered at some of the most renowned film festivals across the globe. He is also the former (and founding) editor of this site. In 2006, Michael's first feature, COCAINE ANGEL, chronicling a tragic week in the life of a young drug addict, world premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. The film immediately solidified the director as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s "25 New Faces of Independent Film,” a reputation that was reinforced a year later when his follow-up feature, SILVER JEW, a documentary capturing the late David Berman's rare musical performances in Tel Aviv, world-premiered at SXSW and landed distribution with cult indie-music label Drag City. In 2011, Michael wrote, directed, and starred in his third feature, SEPTIEN, which debuted at the 27th annual Sundance Film Festival before being acquired by IFC Films' Sundance Selects banner. A few years later, in 2014, Michael returned to Sundance with the world premiere of his fourth feature, PING PONG SUMMER, an ‘80s set coming-of-age tale that was quickly picked up for theatrical distribution by Gravitas Ventures. In 2018, Michael wrote and directed the dread-inducing genre film DON'T LEAVE HOME, which has been described as "Get Out with Catholic guilt in the Irish countryside" (IndieWire). The film premiered at SXSW and was subsequently acquired by Cranked Up Films and Shudder.

  • April 15, 2013
  • millie lammoreaux

    Can we just please for the love of god stop with the fake Terrence Malick shit? Like, for once, ever?

    I’m sorry, I don’t doubt the movie is “good” but can we fucking push an aesthetic boundary or two? Can we make movies that attempt to define ourselves without direct reference to the most critic-beloved filmmaker of the present age? Can we at least take what he does and turn it on its head? Problematize it? Challenge it? Add it to something strongly different?

    I mean, Jesus fuck, I’ll take something called “I Am Not a Hipster” over this.

    April 15, 2013
  • kat

    Chair of the Southern Wild

    April 15, 2013
  • millie lammoreaux

    George Washingchair.

    Like “mumblecore,” this aesthetic is a dramaturgical end-run around having to do the difficult gruntwork of narrative: crafting characters with strong wants and the dramatic scenes that force them to change and grow.

    April 15, 2013
  • jamil

    really helping that chair film out. must be hard getting attention for a film that played at cannes.

    April 15, 2013
  • Tully

    I hear what you’re saying, but the reality is that we’re still talking about a short film here. I am pretty firmly embedded in the festival circuit and until The Chair was submitted to our contest, I had never seen it. Yes, it’s got a rather impressive pedigree, but how many people reading this post have actually seen it? The entries we receive are treated equally. To disqualify a film like The Chair because it played at Cannes seems unfair to the filmmaker for taking the time to submit to our contest, and for us to set a rule that “no film that played Cannes is allowed to enter” seems silly, especially since we are talking about shorts.

    April 16, 2013
Post a Comment

Website branding logosWebsite branding logos