By Ken Williams and Denis Fitzpatrick | Comedy
A man wakes up with a strange tune in his head.

Will wakes up from a restless night with a strange tune in his head. As he goes about starting his day, he thinks about it while in the shower. It floats through his head at work. He hums it in line for coffee. He just can’t get it out of his head.

He finally learns the name of the song — “Jupiter” by 19th century English composer Gustav Holst — which finally allows him to do a deep dive into Holst’s background and catalog. But instead of exorcising the song from his head, it only escalates the intensity of this particular earworm, making life very uncomfortable for Will indeed.

Directors Ken Williams and Denis Fitzpatrick — working off a script by Williams — ingenuously explore the everyday scenario of getting a song stuck in your head in this witty comedy short. It’s a situation that nearly everyone can relate to, but this story explores it to its whimsical yet logical extreme.

Taking a muted, naturalistic approach in both the visuals and tone, the film begins with the relatable scene of Will starting his day with the song in his head. But even as his everyday life continues, the song continues to flutter at the edges of his consciousness, slowly intruding into his life. At first he gets a few puzzled looks for his constant humming from people around him. But soon it starts to interfere with his functioning, affecting even his relationship with long-suffering girlfriend Dee, who is bothered by his constant humming, even as they sleep.

The scenario could easily be played with a sense of frantic farce, but the film goes for a softer, more understated approach, tracking the gradual creep of slight madness within Will’s head. Actor Sean T. O’Meallaigh plays Will with a nuance and precision that allows him to stand in for the ordinary everyman. Even his reactions to the constant music — and eventually the voice of the composer talking to him — are played for believability, grounding an increasingly outlandish scenario and keeping it relatable even as it escalates.

Solid sound design and mixing is key to making the film work, both as a way to track Will’s subjective state of mind but also for the entrance of the film’s unseen character, the composer Gustav Holst himself. As Holst’s composition weaves in and out of the film — and playing off Will’s reactions quite well — it deftly transitions from a pleasant bit of orchestral score into an uncomfortably intrusive presence, forming a key obstacle in the storytelling and driving Will bonkers.

The humor of “Gustav” isn’t in setting up a joke and paying it off with a punchline, but instead taking a tiny but relatable piece of the everyday human experience and making it super-sized in presence. Well-observed, slyly witty and down-to-earth, the short is an amusing, enjoyable excursion into one man’s head — and viewers may never quite hear music, much less Holst, in the same way again.

You Might Also Like:


By Richard Prendergast | Drama
A single mother takes her family on a road trip. But it's to an unwanted destination.

Second Best

By Alyssa McClelland | Comedy
Twin sisters turn into rivals when one's gymnastics career steals the spotlight.

No More Wings

By Abraham Adeyemi | Drama
2 friends meet at their favorite fried chicken shop. But their lives have diverged.


By Gokalp Gonen | Animation
A man is trapped on a spaceship after his robot overseer finds every planet uninhabitable.

Feeling Through (Oscars)

By Doug Roland | Drama
A homeless teen meets a deaf-blind man who changes his life forever...


By Hadley Hillel | Drama
A man's suicide attempt rips a hole in the ceiling. Then he befriends the boy upstairs.

Dig Your Own Grave

By Kirk Larsen | Comedy
A man is forced to dig his own grave in the desert. But the ground is hard.

Call Connect

By Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell | Drama
A young helpline operator takes her first call and gets more than she expected.

More Than God

By Kev Cahill | Comedy
A devoted husband suspects his wife is cheating on him. Then he hides under the bed.

Welcome to Iron Knob

By Dave Wade | Comedy
A young boy accidentally shoots a stranger and the town tries to cover it up.


By Erika Davis-Marsh | Romance
A young dancer falls for a deaf guy, then tries to find her place in the world.

Toni With an I

By Marco Alessi | Drama
An awkward girl doesn't fit in at school. Then the Internet comes to save her.

The Things You Think I’m Thinking

By Sherren Lee | Drama
A burn-survivor goes on his first date after his accident.

Into the Silent Sea

By Andrej Landin | Sci-Fi
A Soviet cosmonaut who is stranded in space discovers a voice in the distance.

Infinite ft. George MacKay

By Connor O’Hara | Drama
A terminally-ill man has a plan to 'live on' and gets his friends to help.

Your favorite short films you haven't seen yet.

Inspiring and insightful. Entertaining and enlightening.
That's what you can expect here: no fluff. Just a steady
stream of the best films delivered to your inbox.