Short film research
1) What is a short film?
A short film early is a technical description originally coined in the North American film
industry in the period of cinema. A short film is any film not long enough to be considered a
feature film. Date it was found 18/06/13
What makes short film interesting, though, is not its reduction to an indistinguishable
format, but above all its hybrid variety. Date it was found 18/06/13
The difference between a film short and a short film is that, a short film length varies from
two minutes to five minutes. A short film runs for approximately twenty minutes in length.
Short film history
The very first films were presented to the public in 1894 through Thomas Edison’s
Kinetoscope, a peepshow-like device for individual viewing.
The best-known film from this time is perhaps the Lumière brothers’ Arrival of a Train at La
Ciotat (1895), which supposedly had audiences fleeing in terror as a celluloid locomotive
hurtled towards them.
In the early 1900s, improvements in recording and editing technology allowed film-makers
to produce longer, multi-shot films. From about 1910 onwards, studio competition and
audience demand induced film-makers to make even longer, multi-reel films and the first
features were born.
Dr Richard Farmer, an expert in British wartime cinema-going at University College London,
sees the period between 1939 and 1945 as “something of a high-water mark for the short
film in Britain”, though not everybody liked them. “While the government was
extraordinarily keen to place its messages in British cinemas, cinema managers and patrons
were much more ambivalent,” he says.
“Some short films, especially those that showed British servicemen actively fighting the war,
proved to be very popular, but there were also concerns that the cinema would gain a
reputation as an 'interfering marm’ if it dedicated too much time to short government films
and not enough to the [predominantly American] feature films upon which the magic of the
Written by Rebecca Davies. Date: 18/06/13
Short films often cross genres. These are the best of the main film genres, including;
comedy, drama, horror, sci- fi and thriller.
Here is an example of a short film
The Last 3 Minutes by Po Chan (2010) (US) (5minutes)
Written and directed by American cinematographer Po Chan, The Last 3 Minutes is an unashamedly
tear-jerking flashback through a dying man's life. Every shot is lovingly crafted and there are some
beautiful landscapes - as one might expect from a DoP. Made in 2010, Chan also shows the
possibilities of the new class of video-capable DSLR cameras (in this case a Canon 5D). It is truly
Shorts often cross genres
Style of short films
The style and, in particular, the tone of a work is another central aspect to address when
developing any film, and especially a short film. Naturalism dominates the short form, as
illustrated by Springing Lenin, Zinky Boys Go Underground, Deep Down and The Cutter, other
approaches are possible. This is illustrated by the surreal qualities evident in The Curious
and the expressionist point-of-view (POV) camera work, and the heightened colour in
2) Why make short films/film shorts?
People make short films for all types of reasons. This maybe because they find making short
films less stress to make, and doesn’t take as long to make. “Well I only write to a budget so
that's not a problem, I think for me it's short, fun and a chance to showcase skill without
having to worry about long pieces of drama all being connected together” this a quote from
a film maker, a member of the indietalk.com website, a site for the filmmaking community.
Other people make short films for experience and a way of learning. “To practice and for
learning. Practice organization. Practice framing shots. Practice editing. Then listen to how
others feeeeelabout what I've done.”
For more comments on why people make short films, click on the link:
3) How can you get funding for a short film? What bodies or institutions support short
film production and distribution in the UK?
You can get funding for a short film from the BFI – UK film council. You can also get grants
from the government. Here is a list of funding sources and the bodies that help support
short film production and distribution in the UK:
- National and regional screen agencies
- Local councils – they would usually put money towards a film if it deals with social
exclusion/AIDS in some way.
- Charities – this can only happen depending on the type of film it is.
- Production schemes and competitions
- Help from festivals
4) What makes an effective film short?[ What advice can you get from film makers to
help you here?] What might be the ‘golden rules’? What are the pitfalls you must
Firstly there are no hard and fast rules to making a good effective short film. Audiences like
different types of short films, so by making it unique with a couple of tips you follow, your
short film has more of a chance to be affective.
You should include: *golden rules*
- An exciting yet original idea
- Good acting skills
- Have high production skills/values
- Keep to the traditional timing for short films – not passed the 5minute barrier (film
short)/or 20minute (short film)
- Have a strong beginning so your audience get a good first impression and stay
- Avoid repeating sequences/scenes/ideas and punch line twists
- Make sure you include exciting new techniques and style to your short film
- Other resources that you don’t see much in short films/film shorts
5) How are short films distributed/ exhibited?
Short films are distributed, when distributor’s source new films to represent in their
distribution catalogue at film festivals and markets around the world such as Cannes,
Rotterdam, Berlinale, AFM and sundance festivals.
6) Who watches short films?
The audience for Short Films are generically people that are passionate about film:
independent filmmakers and companies who simply don’t have the budget to fund a feature
film production. Also it can be the young people for the modern short films: film students
who take passion in their subject and look for entertainment and inspiration.
7) Detailed case study
Strangers – short film:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpjHSiQLPmA
It was made in 2004 by ErezTradmor and Guy Nattiv. The film is about diversity in religion
and also relationships of two rivalling people, when they both come under trouble. The
institution is Fox Spotlight.
As seen, there is little dialogue in the film. It is not needed due to the facial expressions and
obvious symbols used. This means that the film is suitable for any country and its audience.
The audience of this film would (most likely) have to be old enough to understand the
cultural differences and relations for it to make sense to them. Most likely teenage plus.
The camera angles are mostly close ups and mid shots on the 2 main characters reactions.
This compensates for the lack of dialogue. We see there relationships through the shots.
There are hand held effects used, since its on a train; the camera jolts, making the audience
feel like they are there in the awkward situation. There is a pan shot to the Neo Nazis, it
shows the aggression of the characters.
The framing in the shots of the main characters are usually central, but also off to the side a
little. This shows they are the most important but also hinting at a distance between the
two. Shot reverse shot is used when they exchange glances. Match on action used when
they step onto the train.
I would say this short film crosses over from action, slice of life and drama in genre terms.
There are fast, straight cuts, with quick pace near the end with the chase. The film shows
the reality of different cultures and beliefs.
8) Why are short films so popular?
Short films are increasingly getting popular by its wide spread of different types of short
films. Canada has its own magazine that features short films. Short films are also popular
because it’s cheaper to make, and it’s not as time consuming as a regular an hour and half
film. Many film producers say that it is better to start off with a short film, purely because
it’seasier and a good way to start off a film maker’s career, shorts films can be seen as
training and a stepping stone to make long films.