By Martin Monk | Drama
A teenage girl hitchhikes to Italy in search of her biological father.

After a fight with her mother, rebellious teenager Sofia decides to hitchhike to Italy in search of her biological father. After many unsuccessful attempts to flag down a car, she finally is picked up by a middle-aged man named Michael, who seems to be escaping some personal problems himself.

Sofia is charming, idealistic and free-spirited; Michael is wary, reticent and more than a little grumpy. They seem to have nothing in common, but as their trip together progresses, they discover they have more of a connection than they thought.

Written and directed by Martin Monk, this lucid, affecting short drama is a road movie on the surface. Its sun-worn visuals capture both the humility and poeticism of the modern landscape, weaving together gas stations, diners and highways. But it is also a lovely portrait and meditation on the profound power of friendship and fellowship, even between the most unlikely people.

At first, the pair of travelers barely tolerate one another, sharing a short leg of their respective journeys with wariness and the self-containment of two strangers haunted by their dilemmas and mistrustful of others. They seem to give one another space, confining their conversation to cursory politeness and chit-chat.

But then the relationship subtly shifts, as the pair grow increasingly curious about one another. When Michael discovers that Sofia is running away from home, he confronts Sofia about lying, which sends her in search of another ride. She is angry and hurt, but when Michael stays behind to watch out for the young woman, Sofia continues her voyage with him. From there, they talk more openly, as Sofia lets loose with the feelings she's pent up inside.

The writing is profoundly subtle and humane, balancing both the realism of the world portrayed onscreen and the subtle emotional currents of two people learning to open up with one another. Actors Lia Wilfing and Christian Dolezal as Sofia and Michael, respectively, occupy two different temperaments. Wilfing has the more outward-directed role, portraying the curiosity and impetuousness of youth with a compelling freshness. Dolezal plays his role with an internal preoccupation that seems like ordinary stoicism at first but teases at something more.

The two performers build their flickers of initial tolerance into a rapport that's no less genuine for its restraint, particularly as Michael begrudgingly reveals a sense of responsibility towards the young teenager in his temporary charge. That conscientious care proves to be a balm for Sofia, helping her rethink her actions and perhaps even her destiny.

A selection at Cannes, "Favourites" is, in many ways, about the transformational power of listening -- because, on the surface, listening is all that Sofia and Michael do for one another. They take what could be a series of surface-level conversations into the realm of self-revelation, as they share their thoughts and find unexpected common ground and understanding. Theirs is the simple but generous act of being present, with the acceptance, openness and honesty that perhaps only two strangers temporarily sharing time and space can give one another. Both wrestle with absences and ambivalences with their loved ones in different ways, as befitting their personalities and stages in life. But for a moment they fill in those gaps for each other, especially for Sofia, who perhaps gets a sense of what would be like to have a protective and caring father figure. And then they part, having changed one another in small but meaningful ways that will no doubt linger well past their time together.

You Might Also Like:


By Oliver Goodrum | Drama
A man who bullied a disabled girl tries to escape his past. Then an angry mob finds him.


By Candice Carella | Drama
A single mother leaves her young daughter with a rock musician uncle.


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.

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.