Last week I advocated getting out of the house for a cocktail and a giggle; this week I’m suggesting that whether you’re at home or on the road, all you need is Toteflix to keep you entertained until the spring solstice . . . and beyond!
Toteflix is an app created by Max Bianchi and his team at the Young Cuts Film Festival, founded in 2001 to promote the short works of filmmakers under 30 years old. Earlier this year, Bianchi, who has been running the festival since 2013, realized that he was sitting on a mountain of short films that no-one was watching — award-winning films that had been screened in recent years but then shelved to make way for the next year’s submissions. It occurred to him that short film was the perfect medium for smartphone viewing, and he and his team set about making an app for it.
That app is Toteflix, and it’s available in the Google Play Store. And it’s really very entertaining. With the free version, you get access to all films five minutes or less to stream or download. There’s an automatic “connect to wifi” setting if you’re worried about going over your data limit; also the films are compressed very well and are small while maintaining HD quality. There’s a monthly limit of 300MB, but the library rotates, and every month new films are added so you’ll never get bored. Still, if you just need more shorts, sign up for the Premium version. At $9.95 for three months, you get unlimited access to the hundreds of films in the app library. Both versions include award-winning and nominated films from around the world, whether they’ve been included in the festival or not. All of them are subtitled in either English or French, and if you want to know more about the filmmaker there’s a convenient button to click at the end of every film.
With the app you have access to a huge range of genres, and anything you like you can share on Facebook or twitter with the click of an icon. The films come from over 45 countries, and although they’re curated, you can also be your own curator, dragging and dropping titles that look interesting into your “tote bag” for later viewing or reviewing.
And, most importantly, as Bianchi says, the films are spectacular, hilarious, scary, smart, and everything beyond and in between. A random sampling of films includes an animated short called Happy Unhappy, where a lonely cactus store owner himself becomes a sad and isolated cactus, until a simple text from his mom cures him of his depression; The Fokker, where a kid’s flying fantasies come to life in a museum; and Nicola sans s, a brilliant stop-motion live action depiction of a perfectly organized life momentarily turning to chaos.
If you’re looking for some indoor or on the go distractions from the cold, Toteflix has you covered!