The Short List #2: “Ruweda” ("Wheel", 2012, dir. Hannah Espia)

The Short List #2: “Ruweda” (“Wheel”)

The Short List #1: "Sweet Things" (2018, dir. Henry K. Norvalls)The Short List is our running list of notable short features available online. Every week, we share one short film which we think deserves to be watched by many. The short films included in our list can come from any country but has to be publicly available online. Click here to see the full list of short films—you can also submit your own.


Hannah Espia’s “Ruweda” is a beholding piece about chance. The use of “wheel”—its image, idea, and structure—is captured here so ably, thanks to Ice Idanan’s skilled lensing, and thoroughly kneads on the film’s central thesis about predetermination. A generous chunk of that idea is wrapped in a conversation between a disillusioned, intoxicated bystander and a carnival dealer. “Only two things can happen at this point,” notes the former.

And thus begins Espia’s intriguing, almost hypnotic tale. Structurally, the mystery stretches outward its initial hook—there’s been an incident, breaking the false idyll the carnival offers. It stretches like ripples on a still pond, shaking above’s reflection. The ripples unfurl until they clear, and finally, a crisply clear picture, of three different lives intertwined by chance, with only one comes out with something to gain. “Only two things can happen at this point,” repeats the bystander (Moises Magisa). “I win, or you win.”

Spent, the dealer concludes the film with a question. “Are you playing or not?”

Watch Espia’s short film, in full, by hitting the play button above. “Ruweda” is also available online thru Viddsee—a curator of great short films online.