Not having a ton of professional talent or money doesn't mean you can't make a great film, but letting your budget be your aesthetic opens up a whole other world of creative possibilities. Ray Tintori's short Death to the Tinman, which won an award at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, is a perfect example of working within a limited budget but achieving what feels like a much bigger film thanks to some clever DIY effects and ingenuity. I first saw the film a few years ago, and while it won't be everyone's cup of tea, it's a great example of doing a lot with a little, and not apologizing for your budget.
There is a bit of irony in the fact that the film itself boasts so much heart (considering its main character lacks one). The movie was one of the first from Court 13, the loose collective of filmmakers that began at Wesleyan University and is responsible for the Oscar-nominated Beasts of the Southern Wild. If you compare Tinman to the post we just shared explaining some of the best practices to get your short in a festival, it ticks off plenty of the boxes while pushing the boundaries a bit with a few others. The film contains a lot of story in just 12 minutes, and while this would be to the detriment of many movies, the rapid and unflinching pace is what I think sets it apart and dares you to look away.