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There are a lot of conversations surrounding the Vimeo Staff Pick, but no one in the indie film community can question its importance. For many creatives that elusive badge has been the starting point for their career, the moment when they get noticed.

There is a very distinct “X” factor that distinguishes an ordinary composer from a great composer. We are downright positive that Ryan Taubert has cracked the intangible code. Ryan was drawn in to making music initially through visuals. After teaching himself to compose by reproducing scores from movies as a kid, he is now a highly sought after Composer making some of the most captivating pieces of music for film…ever, we’d say.

For a lot of people, Vimeo’s launch changed the game. And for a talented few, Vimeo Staff Picks launched careers. Since their inception, the clout of the Staff Pick has only grown. Its influence now extends far beyond Vimeo’s servers. Major Hollywood directors like Wes Ball (The Maze Runner) and David Green (Earth to Echo) got their starts thanks to Vimeo’s nod of approval. And more than a few of our friends have had their lives changed by that now-hallowed seal in the top-left corner.

Lately we’ve been asking filmmakers why they make films. The question is usually pretty awkward, since most filmmakers haven’t really thought about it. They make films because they are compelled to make films. But when you ask, and when you press past the long silence that follows, there is often a surprising and beautiful answer waiting for you. For Leonardo Dalessandri — the visionary Italian filmmaker behind Watchtower of Turkey — his reason is simple.

Salomon Ligthelm is literally all over the place: all over the world, all over the Internet. And when we Skyped with him recently about the exclusive Musicbed release of the ANOMALY soundtrack, he was all over Defacto Sound’s studio. Outside briefly, inside briefly, popping in and out of various offices and stairwells. Salomon is frenetic in the best possible way. And that energy comes across not just in his conversations, but in the things he creates. It all feels very human and very alive, which, he told us, was exactly what he was after with this latest score (composed by Ryan Taubert).

We’re suckers for great documentaries, and there’s no shortage of them right now. From incredible true-crime podcasts (sup, Serial!) to the latest Herzog masterpiece, Lo and Behold, this really is the golden age of documentary. These films are not only fascinating and beautiful, but they’re creating actual change. Recently Brendan Dassey, one of the subjects of the documentary series Making a Murderer, was released from prison after more than a decade. (He was supposed to serve a life sentence.) Serial’s Adnan Syed is getting a new trial. That’s part of what’s so addicting about the form. These stories make a real difference. They throw their weight around.

Welcome to the first-ever Musicbed Top 5, a rundown of our favorite short films featuring music from our artists. Hearing their work in great videos is one of the most rewarding things we get to do and we’re excited to share a few of them with you. This rundown is just a small sample of the work we’ve seen on Vimeo recently, and you can watch even more in our Musicbed Collection on Vimeo. We went with a decidedly sports-oriented version this time around, but as you’ll see in these films, they’re about so much more than that. Enjoy these incredible short films, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below.

Sometimes the most compelling way to present a story is to take a step back. A narrative can, and will do the work for itself, giving the audience the chance to make its own conclusions. But, make no mistake; this “hands-off” approach doesn’t take any less work than the alternative. Documentary filmmaker James Burns went to painstaking lengths in building relationships with his subjects in Revolving Doors, a film that follows a man facing his second stint in prison. But, by putting in the time to build relationships, he had the opportunity to reveal the humanity behind recidivism in the prison system. Burns, an ex-convict turned filmmaker, crafts stories about how quickly we forget that incarcerated individuals are still human like the rest of us.

Dylan Allen’s The Privates manages to tackle sci-fi, indie-rock, group dynamics, and merge them into one brilliantly thoughtful short film. The ideas in the ensemble comedy transcend filmmaking: waiting for your big break, struggling through creative differences, grappling with the drive to create something so great it melts faces. But despite all of those highly recognizable elements, the film has a wit and through-line that is totally original. That’s probably due in large part to the work Allen put into making every single role in his cast of characters strong enough to stand out from the background noise.