Sight & Sound have once again posted online the year’s best online videos, as selected by 16 ‘international correspondents’ (including yours truly) from various regions of the film world (critics, programmers, producers). It’s terrific that Sight & Sound publish this list every year, as there are always videos and interactive sites that have slipped under my radar that I’m curious to investigate. This year the most popular genre was animation, followed by music video and narrative film, with only one cat video making it into the poll.

The list included several remakes, parodies and gaming mods. As noted by Nick Bradshaw in his introduction to the poll, the insane popularity of Gangnam Style on YouTube rippled out beyond the marching band videos, into the art and film world in political video recreations by artist Ai Weiwei, and in support of Ai Weiwei, Anish Kapoor & Akram Khan recreating the viral hit.

Many critics chose music videos, a genre that often premieres online, unlike short independent films which generally do the film festival circuit first. A great example is the fantastic pop up producing by internet artist and rapper Yung Jake that will cover your screen in all manner of pop up windows promoting the song. Here it is: (I’m not giving him the satisfaction of embedding it in my post). And also the Chatroulette version of Carly Rae Jepsen’s infectious hit of 2012, Call Me Maybe, by a fine mustachioed chap. (A more upbeat application of the chat site than Eva and Franco Mattes’ No Fun, where the artists staged a suicide to capture people’s public responses to being confronted with death online).

Also, the rise in interactive projects on the web is reflected in the poll, and in my choice to include both the Old Spice Muscle Music project and Milk & Koblin’s user generated forest project (and unsurprisingly the supremely talented Milk & Koblin pop up in several nominations). Plus there was the Perfume Global Site Project, where the Japanese pop group uploaded motion capture data to their website for admirers to make fan videos of the band like this sweet rendition. And Bear 71 from NFB Interactive at the National Film Board in Canada, who have produced some of the best interactive storytelling projects in the past few years.

My choices

Getting every amazing video you’ve seen on the internet down to just a handful is a tricky task, as bemoaned by many contributors. These are the six I nominated, but there are many more I could have added in, so it was a pleasure to discover some of the others covered in other nominations.

  • Old Spice Muscle Music, Wieden + Kennedy
  • Scroogin on a greg, Will Anderson & Ainslie Henderson
  • Bendito Machine IV: Fuel the Machines, Jossie Malis
  • Belief, Thomson & Craighead
  • Centrefold, Ellie Land
  • This Exquisite Forest, Chris Milk & Aaron Koblin

You can read more about my choices on Sight & Sound Online.

Nine other notable contenders

Having checked out the other 50 plus suggestions on Sight & Sound Online, here are several videos that are worthy contenders – in no particular order.

1. Jeff Desom’s Rear Window Loop. A stunning transformation of the scenes from Hitchcock’s original film, stitched together to create one panoramic shot. This work exists as both a gallery installation, festival film and online video – Desom has won a Vimeo Remix Award and Grand Prize at Ars Electronica, showing how a work can be produced for multiple platforms and co-exist without a problem.

2. Endless by Taylan Sinan Yilmaz. This is a beautifully shot anarchic short, where Taylan creates a stillness and beauty that’s destroyed by a startling exploit at the end. Nicely done.

3. Girl Walk // All Day – an episodic, exuberant dance film following three dancers around the streets of New York, directed by Jacob Krupnick. It was successfully crowd funded and is touring about festivals like SXSW and Munich Film Festival. And was surprisingly one of only three dance films that made it into the poll.

4. Bradley Manning Had Secrets, a film by Adam Butcher that I was pleased to produce at Animate (and was not one that I nominated). Created using the chatlogs between wikileaks hactivist Bradley Manning and hacker Adrian Lamo it paints a sympathetic portrait of Manning. Given the topical subject matter it has been a viral hit, having received over 64,000 views in just over a year.


5. Brent Hoff’s documentary experiment, The Love Competition. Check out the trailer, and if you feel inspired and want to find out which contestant neurochemically loves the most, you can pay to watch it on Vimeo’s new video on demand service:

6. The Spectrum Portraits produced by Art & Graft. An Autism awareness raising series, made by several fantastic, young British animators including Mikey Please, Matthias Hoegg and Kristian Andrews.

7. Mikey Please’s ‘Making Of’ for his BAFTA winning graduation film, The Eagleman Stag. To see what a labour of love animation is, and stop motion especially is, then check this out. This was the only ‘making of’ film in the entire list, and I had expected a few more might have made it in. I do love a ‘making of’ and this one is particularly funny.

8. Hennessey Youngman’s introduction to Images Festival. Spawned by artist Jayson Musson, Hennessey is a vlogger who dresses like a hipster and posts the predictable ‘how to’ videos that populate YouTube except that they’re satirising the artworld. He is both a ridiculous figure and a knowing commentator, the contemporary artworld’s RiFF RaFF, and peer of Yung Jake.

9. Lana Wachowski’s incredible speech at the Human Rights Campaign Visibility Awards. It’s inspiring and highly amusing, and I’m kicking myself that I’d not thought of this video when making my selection, rather than as ever focusing on art and film, as this was one of the only videos that has kept me glued to my screen undistracted for a full 30 minutes.