The Short Life: 6 Kanopy Short Films You Need To Watch

Frostburg offers many resources and opportunities to its students, but many people don’t know about all of them. Many Frostburg students are unaware that they have access to a movie streaming website called Kanopy. There are probably a lot of people that have never heard of Kanopy before, let alone know that we have access to it. Kanopy is a streaming service just like Netflix, Hulu, or AmazonPrime. It focuses mostly on short films, documentaries, old films, and indie films. Fair warning, the films on this list, while very entertaining and mostly lighthearted, are pretty dark. If that sounds like your cup of tea, then keep reading to find out how to access Kanopy as well as six short films available on Kanopy that you need to watch now.

Kanopy is one of the many library resources that students have access to. To get to the Kanopy page on the Frostburg website, go to the Academic Programs tab and click on Library. Once you get to the library homepage, click on the tab that says A-Z Databases located above the OneSearch search bar. After you get to the list of databases, click on K and find Kanopy. The library services window should pop up if you’re not on campus, and if you are, you should be automatically logged in. If the library services window pops up, you simply enter the long barcode number on your student ID and your last name. Once you’ve done all of this, you’re in! The process is really simple, and soon you’ll be watching films on Kanopy for hours. Not every student has access to things like Netflix or AmazonPrime, but if you’re a Frostburg student, you have access to Kanopy.

Kanopy cover photo for A Single Life (2014).
Kanopy cover photo for A Single Life (2014).

A Single Life

This three minute short is bound to make you think and maybe question how you’re living you’re life. This may be a little deep to start with, but it’s too good not to watch. The film tackles the subject of life in a lighthearted but also pretty dark short film. It follows Pia, a young woman who discovers she can travel through her life with the use of a vinyl single. If you like dark humor that makes you really think, check out this film. It’s only three minutes, but it’s incredible and there’s a lot in it. Take some time out of your day to watch this film and really start thinking. Maybe don’t watch it if you’re already stressed about your future, though. We don’t need a mid-life crisis at 20 happening today.

Kanopy cover photo for The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger (2010).
Kanopy cover photo for The Cow Who Wanted to be a Hamburger (2010).

The Cow Who Wanted to be a Hamburger

The beef industry: do any of us really love every aspect of it? Probably not. Or maybe there is someone who is in love with the beef industry and everything that it does. Not here to judge; you do you. This short film, though, explores the beef industry in a very lighthearted way. A young cow sees a billboard of a happy hamburger and decides this is what he aspires to be, unaware of how he would get there. He tries his very hardest to beef up and become what the industry wants, and eventually, they do want him. If you have some interest in the beef industry, especially factory farming, go check out this film. If you’re that guy who really loves the beef industry, maybe move on to the next film. This short is only six minutes long and it’s extremely cute. Give it a shot and enjoy watching a baby cow aspire to be a hamburger.

Kanopy cover photo for Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty (2008).
Kanopy cover photo for Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty (2008).

Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty

This short film takes on a very lighthearted approach to the Grimm Brothers fairy tales, more specifically Sleeping Beauty. Granny O’Grimm’s story is perhaps darker than the Grimm Brothers’ version, but she tells it in such a fantastical way that it’s impossible to notice or care. There is also an absurdity that goes along with the idea that she is telling this awful and slightly scary story to her grandson as a bedtime story. You’ll find yourself laughing at this outrageous story and it will be completely worth it. The film is only six minutes, so there’s no harm in getting a little laugh out of it between classes.

Kanopy cover photo for High Maintenance (2006).
Kanopy cover photo for High Maintenance (2006).

High Maintenance

High Maintenance is the first live-action short film on this list. Running at nine minutes, it’s a little longer than the previous films on this list. If you have nine minutes to spare, I highly recommend this film. It says a lot about humans, our interactions, and our relationships. The story follows Jane, a woman who is unhappy in her marriage. She thinks her husband is dull and boring. Jane decides it’s time to move on with her life and upgrade. There’s not much to say about this film except that it’s great and that you’ll never see it coming. The film deals with some pretty deep concepts in a pretty lighthearted way. Give it a try if you have the time. You won’t regret it.

Kanopy cover photo for The Terrible Thing of Alpha-9! (2009).
Kanopy cover photo for The Terrible Thing of Alpha-9! (2009).

The Terrible Thing of Alpha-9!

Back to animation for a second. This film is equal parts horrifying, sad, and adorable. Well, maybe adorable tips the balance a little bit. The film follows a space bounty hunter who is traveling to the planet Alpha-9 to kill a terrible alien monster. The terrible thing has supposedly killed many people and needs to be stopped. The bounty hunter finds the monster and tries to kill it, but he finds that task harder than he first thought. The monster is one of the most adorable things ever drawn, and I recommend this one so much. If you’re ready to feel horrified, sad, and heart-warmed for six minutes straight, watch The Terrible Thing of Alpha-9! It’s worth every second.

Kanopy cover photo for Balcony (2015).
Kanopy cover photo for Balcony (2015).


This film runs at 16 minutes and may take a little more scheduling to watch, but it’s completely worth it. The film follows Tina, a teenage girl who is attracted to her neighbor, an Afghani girl named Dana. She becomes very protective of Dana, defending her against bullies at school. They become fast friends, but something is off. To find out what, watch Balcony. It may be pretty long, but it is completely worth it. The commentary on xenophobia, being a part of the LGBT community, and other deep subjects freckle the surface of this film. Watch this film and really dig deep into it. It’s a beautifully tragic film that you won’t want to miss out on.


Kanopy is an incredible resource that we have at our fingertips. There is also a Kanopy app available, so you can watch these films while waiting for your next class to start. There are so many films to watch and so many different things to experience. If you’re in need of completely new things to watch, check out Kanopy, starting with these short films. Expand your mind and the way you think about the world. It will be worth it and you will keep coming back to Kanopy for more. Who knows? You could find your new favorite film. Give it a shot.

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