Yuri’s Omen

By Jordi Montornes | Sci-Fi
A Ukrainian man travels to Chernobyl to uncover the haunting truth of his past.

Twenty-five years have passed since the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl. Since that time, the exclusion zone has remained closed off to the outside world.

But a young Ukrainian is now inside this forbidden area, searching for an old family secret that lies dormant — a secret that will explain many of the mysteries of his life.

Undeniably ambitious and visually impressive, this short drama from writer-director Jordi Montornes and co-writer Sergi Mari is an atmospheric and haunting meditation on family, legacy and the horrors buried in the past that shape our identities today.

With the somber, painterly cinematography, sweeping camerawork and a deliberate, disembodied sense of rhythm and pacing, the craftsmanship not only portrays the wasted landscape of Russia, but evokes Russian cinematic giants like Andrei Tarkovsky in its ability to create a contemplative, dreamlike experience that feels very much like experiencing a memory as it is being made.

Its portrayal of the grim, desolate and ravaged city of Prypiat, where the Chernobyl disaster took place, is a remarkable achievement, especially considering that the production itself was shot in Spain. With its feel for the texture of ruins, the setting forms the backdrop for a cinematic experience that privileges the sheer power of moving images and sound over straightforward storytelling. This kind of narrative can be challenging, requiring that viewers let go of expectations of immediate cause and effect. But the stunning imagery is able to evoke the devastation of Chernobyl in a way that mere words or dialogue can barely touch upon.

Many of the images are details and landscape shots accompanying the young man’s voiceover as he wanders and investigates the disaster zone. The dense, detailed sound design — full of pensive voiceover, radiation measurement sounds, atonal musical score and alarms — commingle temporal dimensions of past and present. Yet this fits the main character’s subjectivity, as a young man haunted by his family secrets. As he delves deeper into the ruins of Chernobyl, though, he finally confronts the mysteries of his past — and unlocks the key to his future.

“Yuri’s Omen” works like an impressionistic stream of images, feelings, thoughts, musings and sounds, washing over viewers and pulling them into a powerful current of almost mystical cinematic atmosphere. Easy answers aren’t given here, but with such distinctive visuals and a poetic approach to craft, the film strikes a deep emotional chord as it mirrors no less than the journey to understand one’s deepest self. Yoking the global disaster of a nuclear accident to the inner ravages of generational trauma, “Yuri’s Omen” captures the difficult heart of confronting our worst fears — the possibilities when we face them directly.

You Might Also Like:

Feeling Through (The Oscars)

By Doug Roland | Drama
A homeless teen meets a deaf-blind man who changes his life forever...

Call Connect

By Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell | Drama
A young helpline operator takes her first call and gets more than she expected.

The Things You Think I’m Thinking

By Sherren Lee | Drama
A burn-survivor goes on his first date after his accident.


By Christophe M. Saber | Comedy
A father slaps a disobedient child. Then a bystander threatens to report him for abuse.

The Landing

By Josh Tanner | Sci-Fi
A man uncovers the horrifying truth of what landed on his childhood farm.

Sometimes, I Think About Dying (Sundance)

By Stefanie Abel Horowitz | Drama
A woman thinks about dying. But a co-worker asks her out.

The Goodnight Show

By Charlie Schwan | Sci-Fi
A virgin tries to get laid before an unstoppable asteroid ends the world.

Naysayer ft. Steven Yeun

By David M. Helman | Drama
A young father who is cut off from his son takes matters into his own hands.

Joseph’s Reel

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

Lost and Found (The Oscars)

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


By Joe Gillette | Romance
2 strangers at a wedding reception make 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.

Garfield (Sundance)

By Georgi Bank-Davies | Romance
A young woman wakes up in a strange place, with a strange guy.


By Noel Loozen | Comedy
A young man works in a food truck, across from a brothel with a girl who needs his help.

Long Branch

By Dane Clark and Linsey Stewart | Romance
A young woman finds a one-night stand. But he lives 2 hours away via public transit.

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.