Sand Men

By Tal Amiran | Documentary
3 men struggle to survive by creating sand sculptures on London's streets.

Neculai, Aurel and Raj arrived in the U.K. from Romania, all for the same reason: they want better lives for themselves and their families.

Looking to escape the poverty and meager economic prospects at home, they arrive in London, each with their own challenges to overcome and attitude to bolster them up when things get tough.

With their loved ones back at home depending on them, the three survive by practicing an unusual craft: they make sand sculptures, using nothing more than bags of their materials and simple tools to create sculptures of dogs that are surprisingly emotive and expressive — and temporary.

Director Tal Amiran’s short documentary ostensibly focuses on the artisan-like craftsmanship of their captivating, painstaking art. But it also renders the three Romanians’ story and point-of-view in a subtle, almost casual way, thanks to the film’s direct, observational style.

The camera lingers of the grains and curves of sand, capturing the strange, melancholic expressions of the animals created. The process of making these sculptures clearly requires admirable skill and patience, the photography and structure of the short records the works with a clear respect and interest.

Yet there’s no mistaking the difficulty the men face trying to eke out a living on the margins of a wealthy city. Their creations often garner attention and wonder, but the crowds and admirers often overlook the makers themselves.

As a result, “Sand Men” is a quietly provocative, thoughtful and powerful look at art, but also what it means to exist in the margins of a society with extremes highs and lows, where the hard-scrabble are often invisible, even if their labor isn’t.




You Might Also Like:

Sylvia

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.

Avarya

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...

Ernie

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.

CODA

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.