Another Cancer Movie

By Joe Burke | Comedy
A young hospice caretaker forms an honest and beautiful connection with a cancer patient moments from the end.

Two aspiring filmmakers, Chad and Phil, are in the middle of shooting the most important scene of their film. It’s a story about Bobby, a caretaker at a hospital, played by Phil. And he’s fallen in love with Geraldine, one of his cancer patients at the hospital he works at.

But the rub is that in real life, Geraldine is played by Bonnie. And in real life, Bonnie is Phil’s aunt. And she really has cancer. And they have no budget or crew. To make their own Oscar-winning masterpiece, a la “Moonlight,” they have to surmount all these obstacles — as well as themselves.

Writer-director Joe Burke, along with collaborator Oliver Cooper, has crafted a sharply-written, mordant yet oddly touching comedy that works on multiple levels.

With its film-within-a-film, it satirizes the entertainment industry’s appetite for maudlin material and the flattening commercialization of tragedy. It’s also a comment on the vagaries, difficulties and peculiar mindset of the filmmaking process, where chasing the overriding value of success subtly reshapes the relationship between events and emotions.

Working on these levels only, the film works extremely well, with terrifically jazz-like comedic patter and performances that highlight the ridiculousness of the filmmakers’ aspirations and questions the ethics of artmaking in general.

Chad and Phil are truly committed to their cinematic hopes and dreams, which temporarily distract them from the reality of their situation: that their star is actually a cancer patient going through chemotherapy. Yet the comedy isn’t bitter or biting, but self-deprecating, and keeping the underlying emotions at a realistic tenor also allows them to deliver some moments of great poignancy, especially at the film’s ending.

But there’s also another layer that contributes to the surprising earnestness of the film. Lead actress ReBecca Goldstein really is Cooper’s aunt, and she really did have cancer when she shot “Another Cancer Movie” with Burke and Cooper. The filmmakers came up with the idea of their project, which Goldstein embraced, allowing them to turn a real-life emotional situation into something therapeutic, diverting and fun to do while Goldstein went through chemo.

Happily, Goldstein went through chemo and is currently cancer-free, and “Another Cancer Movie” is not a documentary, but simply a nimble, engaging piece of comedic fiction, one that could be filed under the subcategory “dark.” But unlike many dark comedies, which often draw uncomfortable laughs at acts of cruelty, malice and humiliation, the darkness here comes from reckoning in a clever yet bluntly honest way with mortality, something that all of us will face, no matter what.

Perhaps the film’s underlying emotional circumstances give it a courage and sincerity to confront the possibility of losing a loved one. But even if a viewer isn’t aware of the backstory, the film strikes a balance between laughing at our ability to forget about mortality while being caught up in the games of life — while subtly reminding us what’s really important at the end of it all.

You Might Also Like:


By Benjamin Bee | Drama
An ultra-orthodox Jew hasn't seen his identical twin brother in years. But today is the day of their father's funeral.


By Kaveh Mazaheri | Drama
Her husband has an accident at home... and she just watches him die.

Stealing Silver ft. Maisie Williams

By Mark Lobatto | Drama
A woman confronts a painful time in her life after discovering the truth about a mysterious old man living across from her.

Joseph’s Reel

By Michael Lavers | Romance
An elderly man, upon dying, is given the opportunity to relive one day of his life.


By Devon Manney | Animation
Returning to the U.S. after losing both arms, a veteran battles phantom pains, prosthetics and memories of his pre-war life.

Hold On

By Charlotte Scott-Wilson | Drama
A young cellist develops stage fright after one of her cello strings comes lose during an important performance.

Don’t Be a Hero

By Pete Lee | Drama
A middle-aged woman battles her loneliness and boredom by robbing banks in the guise of a cowboy on her lunch break.

Our Kind of Love

By Elham Ehsas and Azeem Bhati | Romance
An Afghan village girl goes on her first date in London.

Lost and Found

By Andrew Goldsmith and Bradley Slabe | Animation
A clumsy crochet dinosaur must unravel itself to save the love of its life.

Edmund the Magnificent ft. David Bradley & Ian McKellen

By Ben Ockrent | Comedy
A once-legendary farmer takes a chance and invests his life savings in a thoroughbred piglet.


By Joe Gillette | Romance
Two strangers, trying to avoid the crowd at a wedding reception, end up making an unexpected connection.

Exit Strategy

By Travis Bible | Sci-Fi
A man in a time loop must work with his brother to prevent a catastrophic fire.


By Georgi Bank-Davies | Romance
A young woman wakes up in a strange place, with a strange guy. Then, she start to piece together how she got there.


By Joey Ally | Romance
A couple's love life begins to slump, forcing them to reconsider the relationship and confront how intertwined they've become.


By Mark Ram | Drama
Two friends climb a mountain, connected by a rope. But when one falls, the other's life hangs in an unstable balance.

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.