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10 Must-See Animated Short Films

by Geoffrey Nowell Ledesma
fact checked by Matt Hayes

No matter how old you are, I’m sure you’d love good animations and cartoons. I still remember spending my whole afternoons watching Cartoon Network when I was still a kid. But even more so than what’s available on your local cable channel, a lot of good animations are also available on Youtube! The short films are a special mention, as many of them come with a good story.

The list below has 10 popular short film animations (in no particular order) you must see on Youtube. I’ve enjoyed watching them, so I hope you do so as well! There are tons of other good animated short films on Youtube, so if you’ve ever seen one that’s not included in the list, feel free to share it with me in the comments!



Let’s start our list with a feel-good love story. Zero is a stop-motion animation directed by Christopher Kazelos. It has won the Best Animation award from LA Shorts Fest and the Rhode Island International Film Fest among other awards, and has been translated into more than 35 languages since its upload on Youtube.

More than a love story though, Zero also looks heavily into discrimination, as the story imagines a world where everyone’s status in society is determined by their number. And yep – you guessed it – our main character’s number is zero. Watch the video be inspired by this “rags to riches” adventure.



I can‘t tell if this one’s inspirational or if it’s actually sad – but one thing’s for sure, it hits that soft spot in your heart. Created by Doni Permedi as part of his Master’s Thesis Animation, Kiwi shows us the efforts of one small Kiwi bird who wants to know what it feels like to fly. [spoiler] We don’t know if he survives in the end. Some viewers like to think that he did – but I for one think it would have more impact if he didn’t. Please don’t judge me, I’m not that bad.


Lifted – Pixar

There are a lot of animations by Pixar on Youtube, and this is one of my favorites. It’s not exactly heartwarming – but it’s certainly funny, so that should be good enough. The animation is about an alien named Stu, who is having his “practical exam” on abduction as he tries to carry off a sleeping farmer. 

Lifted was also shown theatrically with Pixar’s Ratatouille in 2007, which could probably be a reason why our sleeping farmer in the animation has an undeniable resemblance to Linguini, the main character in Ratatouille.



Moving on from the funny and heartwarming videos, let’s have a dark one. Produced in 2009 by Rodrigo Blaas, an ex-Pixar animator, Alma tells us what happened to a small kid walking one fine day in the snowy streets of Barcelona. But don’t get fooled by the light music and the Christmas setting, as the story harbors a dark, chilly twist to it.

Oh and by the way, “Alma” means “soul” in Spanish. You’ll find out at the end of the film why this is relevant.


Day and Night

Let’s get back to the nicer stories, shall we? This one is another short story animation by Pixar. Combining 2D and 3D animation, Day and Night shows us…well, Day and Night competing against each other. But what started out as a stiff competition ends up in a good friendship as they eventually find out they can have fun with each other’s company. The animation and story actually reminds me of Looney Tunes, and the other cartoons I used to watch on Cartoon Network as a kid.

Day and Night won Best Short Film at the 38th Annie Awards and has been nominated as Best Animated Short Film at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards.


ALARM / HD Short Animation

I’m sure many people can relate to this short film – myself certainly included. Ever tried setting up your alarm at several times to make sure that you wake up on time? Our main character here takes it to different level as he sets up several alarm clocks instead. And not just in his bedroom, he’s got alarm clocks all over the house!

Created by Mesai, and independent animation team in Korea with director Moo-hyun Jang, watch the video to get an idea of how you look in the morning when you “fight” with your alarm clock. Well, it’s not really the waking up part that’s hard isn’t it? It’s getting up that we always struggle with.


Geri’s Game
Geri’s Game Pixar

Many of us are probably familiar with this one. I myself have been seeing this animation a lot when I go to the TV section in the Department Store. Geri, our main character in the film plays chess against himself one autumn day at the park. So how do you actually win in a game of chess against yourself? Watch to find out.
This short film won Best Animated Short film at the 1997 Academy Awards. And oh, a little trivia here: Geri appears on Toy Story 2 as the guy who fixed up Woody.


Oktapodi (2007) – Oscar 2009 Animated Short Film

How far would you go for love? Oktapodi is a French short film that shows us how two octopuses overcome a series of comical events to stay with each other, and get away from the clutches of the restaurant delivery guy. Take a look at how true love can overcome the odds – especially when you’re also in danger of ending up as someone’s dinner.

Oktapodi started out as a Graduate Student Project. It has won several awards and a nomination for Best Animated Short Film in the Academy Awards.


French Roast

This short film comes with a moral lesson – don’t judge a book by its cover. Created by Fabrice O. Jubert, an animator who used to work at DreamWorks, French Roast is about a high-class businessman who forgot his wallet while having coffee at a fancy coffee shop. To buy him time in finding a solution without getting embarrassed, he keeps on ordering coffee. As the day (and the coffee) goes on, our protagonist meets some characters in the film who eventually help him out of his predicament.

French Roast was also nominated for Best Animated Short Film in the 2009 Academy Awards.


Partly Cloudy

Some of us have been told stories when we were kids, that babies were brought to their parents by storks with extra-strong beaks. But have you ever wondered where these babies come from? Watch the clip above to find out. Parents are going to have to tell a different story now, when it comes to the birds and the bees…or in this case, the clouds and the storks.

fact checked by Matt Hayes