Even though it's only been a couple of weeks, folks have been itching to know what, if anything, happened to Eat My Shorts. Did the column disappear? Did Cinematical stop caring about short films? Did Erik get hungry and somehow manage to literally eat all of the shorts? (While the last one seems ridiculous, trust me -- with my appetite, anything is possible.) No. No. And, um, no.

However, I have been hella busy covering the 44th Annual New York Film Festival for Cinematical. In doing so, there wasn't a lot of spare time for me to utilize to scour the internet in search of some fantastic material. I know, my time management skills kind of suck. (I still can't figure out why it takes me two hours to put on a pair of socks, but let's come back to that when the subject is appropriate.) While attending the fest, I was able to catch some really cool short films. As I sat in the darkened theater surrounded by my fellow critics, I couldn't help but hope and pray that some of those shorts were available online. And, to my surprise, they are!

New York magazine was cool enough to stream five of the short films featured at this year's New York Film Festival online for all to see. Thankfully, my favorite one is included. Before we check those out, I want you to keep your eyes open for any Halloween-related shorts online; next week, we're going to delve into that arena and before I start doing my own research, I'd like to hear from you, the audience. As always, feel free to send all links, tips and suggestions regarding Eat My Shorts to shorts AT cinematical DOT com. Okay, let's go check out some NYFF shorts ...

I always love it when a film festival includes shorts before its features. They kind of remind me of a tasty appetizer right before the main dish -- ya know, something to whet your appetite. I wasn't crazy about all the short films featured during this year's New York fest, but the majority of them were pretty rad. (And yes, I've used the words 'hella' and 'rad' in the same post. Kill me now.) Major props go out to New York magazine for making the following five available online.

  • The Naked Race -- By far my favorite short film from the festival, The Naked Race is not only brilliant, but it's hilarious, charming and just plain awesome. Directed by Benoit Forgeard, pic revolves a girl named Maud who owes a ridiculous amount of money to her cell phone provider, Shy Telecom. As a struggling actor, she simply doesn't have the funds to pay up, and so when a supervisor threatens that either she coughs up some money or the phone gets shut off, Maud finds herself in quite a dilemma. That is, until Shy Telecom offers her a unique opportunity: become the star of Shy's brand new marketing campaign and they will completely wipe out her debt. Oh, but there's one catch ... and you'll have to watch the film yourself to find out what it is.
  • Lump - For some reason, I can't stop humming the tune Lump as I write this. Man, I love that song. Anyway, in the short film Lump, Lara Belmont stars as a woman who, for some odd reason, keeps finding lumps on her body. Even as each one is removed, another one is right there to take its place. Definitely creepy and bit bizarre, she slowly begins to wonder whether the real problem lies with the lumps or the people treating them.
  • Alice Sees the Light -- It's hard to describe this short, but I guess the best way to do so would be to say it's sort of an experimental documentary ... if that makes sense. The film is quite magnificent to watch, as it blends abstract images with the voice of a woman named Alice who is quite perturbed over the fact that a new warehouse has taken up residence in her quiet little town. The problem with this is the warehouse's lights are so bright at night that it takes away from the simplicity of the neighborhood and subsequently ruins what used to be the beauty of a pitch-black sky. As Alice struggled to find peace outside, I struggled to sit through the feature that played after this short -- Gardens in Autumn. Ugh, let's not go there.
  • The Caretakers -- Commissioned by the McDowell group to mark their 100th anniversary and directed by Elisabeth Subrin, The Caretakers revolves around a writer who ventures off to an artist's retreat in order to gain enough inspiration to finish her book. However, writer's block soon shows up and the main character finds herself having conversations with other writers who may or may not exist.
  • Cubs - Written and directed by Tom Harper, Cubs follows a teenage boy who, while struggling to be accepted by the cool crowd, decides to join up with a group of fellow urban youths to try to hunt down a fox. At first, what seems like the perfect chance to fit in and roll with a bunch of older boys, turns into something quite the opposite as our young hero is given a gun and instructed to kill another animal. Will he do it?

There you have it, folks. I'll be back next week with, hopefully, a handful of scary little shorts to watch before Halloween hits us up on October 31. Once again, if you happen to stumble across a great short film (Halloween related or not), feel free to send it to me at shorts AT cinematical DOT com. Cheers!