By Melanie Easton | Romance
A young man's cat transforms into a woman. Then they develop a relationship...

Alex is an aspiring pro swimmer and a typical young man in many ways. He puts in hard work at the pool and hangs out with friends at night, coming home to an apartment and his cat Miriam.

When his house cat turns into a human woman overnight, the two develop a relationship, even as Miriam tries to find her place and identity in the human world. But she must confront her paralyzing fear of water or risk losing her relationship altogether.

Written and directed by Melanie Easton, this charming short romance mines the whimsical premise of a cat turning into a human woman with a lightness of touch and a certain cheekiness. The winsome but insouciant tone of the fantasy strikes its balance at all levels of the storytelling, from the luminously lovely visual naturalism to the performances.

Part of the story's charm is how it takes Miriam's arrival in Alex's life with a certain matter-of-factness: it doesn't act as if Miriam's transformation is an everyday event, but it treats it with as much curiosity as a new neighbor moving in. Both Alex and Miriam accept the change in Miriam with gentle befuddlement. But having already established an easygoing companionship in their earlier carnation, they accept this new development with a certain equanimity, though life remains the same. Miriam still sleeps in the bed with Alex, as she did as a cat, and she still loves canned tuna.

With an effervescence generated by the pop music score and the nimble editing, the film tracks Miriam as she discovers certain fun aspects of human existence, like sparkly, sequin-covered clothes and, more importantly, a romance for Alex. Watching their relationship develop is a sweet, heartwarming process, like in many romance stories. But that growth is challenged as Miriam rubs up against certain feline aversions as a human. Like many cats, she's deeply fearful of water, which makes it hard for her to support Alex in his aspirations as a swimmer. She must confront that fear -- and ask herself if she's more cat or more human -- to save her relationship.

Most of "Aquaphobe" has a deft lightness of a modern fairytale, and the film seems to percolate to an equally bubbly conclusion. But in the last turn, it shifts into something more suspenseful, dynamic and even powerful, deepening the emotional register and raising the stakes. When the dust clears, it offers a moment of resigned wisdom -- a recognition that we are who we are, and no relationship can alter that, no matter how much we wish it.

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.