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A short film is any
motion picture A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art used to simulate experiences that communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty, or atmosphere through the use of moving images. These image ...
that is short enough in running time not to be considered a
feature film A feature film or feature-length film is a narrative film (motion picture or "movie") with a running time long enough to be considered the principal or sole presentation in a commercial entertainment program. The term ''feature film'' originally ...
. The
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS, often pronounced ; also known as simply the Academy or the Motion Picture Academy) is a professional honorary organization with the stated goal of advancing the arts and sciences of motion ...
defines a short film as "an original motion picture that has a running time of 40 minutes or less, including all credits". In the United States, short films were generally termed short subjects from the 1920s into the 1970s when confined to two 35mm reels or less, and
featurette In the American film industry, a featurette is a kind of film that is shorter than a full-length feature, but longer than a short film A short film is any motion picture that is short enough in running time not to be considered a feature film. ...
s for a film of three or four reels. "Short" was an abbreviation for either term. The increasingly rare industry term "short subject" carries more of an assumption that the film is shown as part of a presentation along with a feature film. Short films are often screened at local, national, or international
film festival A film festival is an organized, extended presentation of film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of ...

film festival
s and made by independent
filmmaker Filmmaking (or, in any context, film production) is the process by which a film is made. Filmmaking involves a number of complex and discrete stages including an initial story, idea, or commission, through screenwriting, Casting (performing arts) ...

filmmaker
s with either a
low budget A low-budget film or low-budget movie is a motion picture shot with little to no funding from a major film studio or private investor. Many independent films are made on low budgets, but films made on the mainstream circuit with inexperienced or ...
or no budget at all. They are usually funded by film grants,
nonprofit organizations A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, public or social benefit, in contrast with an entity that oper ...
,
sponsor Sponsor or sponsorship may refer to a person or organization with some role (especially one of responsibility) regarding another person or organisation: *Sponsor (commercial), supporter of an event, activity, or person *Sponsor (legislative), a pers ...
, or personal funds. Short films are generally used for industry experience and as a platform to showcase talent to secure
funding Funding is the act of providing resources A resource is a source or supply from which a benefit is produced and that has some utility. Resources can broadly be classified upon their availability — they are classified into renewable and non-re ...
for future projects from private investors, a
production company A production company, production house, production studio, or a production team is a business that provides the physical basis for works in the fields of performing arts, new media art, film, television show, television, radio, comics, interactive ...
, or
film studio A film studio (also known as movie studio or simply studio) is a major entertainment company or motion picture company that has its own privately owned studio A studio is an artist or worker's workroom. This can be for the purpose of acting, arc ...
s. They can also be released with feature films, and can also be included as bonus features on some home video releases.


History

All films in the beginning of cinema were very short, sometimes running only a minute or less. It was not until the 1910s when films started to get longer than about ten minutes. The first set of films were presented in 1894 and it was through
Thomas Edison Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847October 18, 1931) was an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices in fields such as , , , and s. These inventions, which include the , the , and early versions of the electric , have h ...

Thomas Edison
's device called a
kinetoscope The Kinetoscope is an early motion-picture exhibition device. The Kinetoscope was designed for films to be viewed by one individual at a time through a peephole A peephole, peekhole, spyhole, doorhole, magic mirror or door viewer, is a s ...

kinetoscope
. It was made for individual viewing only. Comedy short films were produced in large numbers compared to lengthy features such as D. W. Griffith's 1915 ''
The Birth of a Nation ''The Birth of a Nation'', originally called ''The Clansman'', is a 1915 American silent Silent may mean any of the following: People with the name * Silent George, George Stone (outfielder) (1876–1945), American Major League Baseball outf ...
''. By the 1920s, a ticket purchased a varied program including a feature and several supporting works from categories such as
second feature A B movie or B film is a low-budget A low-budget film or low-budget movie is a motion picture shot with little to no funding from a major film studio or private investor. Many independent films are made on low budgets, but films made on the ...
, short comedy, 5–10 minute cartoon, travelogue, and newsreel. Short comedies were especially common, and typically came in a
serial Serial may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media The presentation of works in sequential segments * Serial (literature), serialised fiction in print * Serial (publishing), periodical publications and newspapers * Serial (radio and television), ...
or
series Series may refer to: People with the name * Caroline Series (born 1951), English mathematician, daughter of George Series * George Series (1920–1995), English physicist Arts, entertainment, and media Music * Series, the ordered sets used i ...
(such as the ''
Our Gang ''Our Gang'' (also known as ''The Little Rascals'' or ''Hal Roach's Rascals'') is an American series of comedy short films chronicling a group of poor neighborhood children and their adventures. Created by film producer Hal Roach, also the p ...
'' movies, or the many outings of
Charlie Chaplin Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin Jr. (16 April 188925 December 1977) was an English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame in the era of . He became a worldwide icon through his screen persona, , and is considered one of the most i ...

Charlie Chaplin
's Little Tramp character).
Animated cartoon Animation is a method in which figures are manipulated to appear as moving images. In traditional animation, images are drawn or painted by hand on transparent celluloid sheets to be photographed and exhibited on film A film, also ca ...
s came principally as short subjects. Virtually all major film production companies had units assigned to develop and produce shorts, and many companies, especially in the
silent Silent may mean any of the following: People with the name * Silent George, George Stone (outfielder) (1876–1945), American Major League Baseball outfielder and batting champion * Brandon Silent (born 1973), South African former footballer * Ch ...

silent
and very early sound era, produced mostly or only short subjects. In the 1930s, the distribution system changed in many countries, owing to the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning . The timing of the Great Depression varied around the world; in most countries, it started in 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s. It was the l ...
. Instead of the cinema owner assembling a program of their own choice, the studios sold a package centered on a main and supporting feature, a cartoon and little else. With the rise of the
double feature The double feature was a motion picture industry phenomenon in which theatres would exhibit two films for the price of one, supplanting an earlier format in which one feature film and various short subject reels would be shown. Early opera use O ...
, two-
reel A reel is an object around which lengths of another material (usually long and flexible) are wound for storage. Generally a reel has a cylindrical core and walls on the sides to retain the material wound around the core. In some cases the core is ...

reel
shorts went into decline as a commercial category.
Hal Roach Harry Eugene "Hal" Roach Sr. (January 14, 1892 – November 2, 1992) was an American film and television producer, director, actor and studio executive, who was the founder of the namesake Hal Roach Studios Hal Roach Studios was an American mot ...
, for example, moved Laurel and Hardy full-time into feature films after 1935, and halved his popular ''
Our Gang ''Our Gang'' (also known as ''The Little Rascals'' or ''Hal Roach's Rascals'') is an American series of comedy short films chronicling a group of poor neighborhood children and their adventures. Created by film producer Hal Roach, also the p ...
'' films to one reel. By the 1940s, he had moved out of short films altogether (though
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (also known as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures or MGM) is an American media company, founded in 1924, that produces and distributes feature films and television programs. It is based in Beverly Hills, California ...
continued the Our Gang shorts until 1944). Later shorts include
George O'Hanlon George Samuel O'Hanlon (November 23, 1912 – February 11, 1989) was an American actor and writer. He was best known for his role as Joe McDoakes in the Warner Bros.' live-action ''Joe McDoakes'' short subjects from 1942 to 1956 and as the voice o ...
's ''
Joe McDoakes ''Joe McDoakes'' is an American short film comedy series produced and directed by Richard L. Bare for Warner Bros. A total of 63 black and white Black-and-white (B/W or B&W) images combine black and white in a continuous spectrum, producin ...
'' movies, and the animated work of studios such as
Walt Disney Productions The Walt Disney Company, commonly known as Disney (), is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered at the Walt Disney Studios complex in Burbank, California California is a U.S. st ...

Walt Disney Productions
and
Warner Bros. Cartoons Warner Bros. Cartoons, Inc. (also known as Warner Bros. Classic Animation and nicknamed Termite Terrace) was the in-house division of Warner Bros. during the Golden Age of American animation. One of the most successful animation Animation is ...
. By the mid-1950s, with the rise of
television Television, sometimes shortened to TV or telly, is a telecommunication Media (communication), medium used for transmitting moving images in grayscale, black-and-white or in color, and in two or 3D television, three dimensions and sound. The ...

television
, the commercial live-action short was virtually dead,
The Three Stooges The Three Stooges were an American vaudeville Vaudeville (; ) is a theatrical genre of variety entertainment born in France at the end of the 19th century. A vaudeville was originally a comedy without psychological or moral intentions, base ...
work being the last major series of 2-reelers, ending in 1959. Short films had become a medium for student, independent and specialty work. Cartoon shorts had a longer life, due in part to the implementation of lower-cost
limited animation Limited animation is a process in the overall technique of traditional animation on the reverse side of an already inked cel, here placed on the original animation drawing Traditional animation (or classical animation, cel animation, hand-drawn ...
techniques and the rise of television animation, which allowed shorts to have both theatrical runs and a
syndication Syndication may refer to: * Broadcast syndication, where individual stations buy programs outside the network system * Print syndication, where individual newspapers or magazines license news articles, columns, or comic strips * Web syndication, w ...
afterlife.
Warner Bros. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (commonly known as Warner Bros. and abbreviated as WB) is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered at the Warner Bros. Studios complex in Burbank, California ...
, one of the most prolific of the golden era, underwent several reorganizations in the 1960s before exiting the short film business in 1969 (by which point the shorts had been in televised reruns for years). MGM continued ''
Tom and Jerry ''Tom and Jerry'' is an American Animated cartoon, animated media franchise and series of comedy short films created in 1940 by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Best known for its 161 theatrical short films by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the series c ...
'' (first with a series of poorly-received Eastern European shorts by
Gene Deitch Eugene Merril Deitch (August 8, 1924 – April 16, 2020) was an American illustrator, animator, comics artist, and film director who was based in Prague from the 1960s until his death in 2020. Deitch was known for creating animated cartoons s ...

Gene Deitch
, then a better-received run by Warner Bros. alumnus
Chuck Jones Charles Martin Jones (September 21, 1912 – February 22, 2002) was an American animator, voice actor, and painter, best known for his work with Warner Bros. Cartoons Warner Bros. Cartoons, Inc. (also known as Warner Bros. Classic Animation an ...

Chuck Jones
) until 1967, and
Woody Woodpecker Woody Woodpecker is a cartoon anthropomorphic woodpecker that has appeared in theatrical short films produced by the Walter Lantz Studio and distributed by Universal Studios Universal Pictures (legally Universal City Studios LLC, also kno ...
lasted to 1972; the creative team behind MGM's 1940s and 1950s cartoons formed
Hanna-Barbera Productions Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc. ( ), also variously known as H-B Enterprises, H-B Production Co., and Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc., was an American animation studio An animation studio is a company producing animated media. The broadest such c ...
in 1957, mainly focusing on television. ''
The Pink Panther ''The Pink Panther'' is a British-American media franchise primarily focusing on a series of comedy-mystery films featuring an inept French police detective, Inspector Clouseau, Inspector Jacques Clouseau. The franchise began with the release of ...
'' was the last regular theatrical cartoon short series, having begun in 1964 (and thus having spent its entire existence in the limited animation era) and ended in 1980. By the 1960s, the market for animated shorts had largely shifted to television, with existing theatrical shorts being syndicated to television.


Modern era

A few animated shorts continue within the mainstream commercial distribution. For instance,
Pixar Pixar Animation Studios (), commonly known as just Pixar, is an American computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform ge ...

Pixar
has screened a short along with each of its feature films during its initial theatrical run since 1995 (producing shorts permanently since 2001). Since Disney acquired Pixar in 2006, Disney has also produced animated shorts since 2007 with the
Goofy Goofy is a funny animal cartoon character created in 1932 at Walt Disney Animation Studios. Goofy is a tall, Anthropomorphism, anthropomorphic dog who typically wears a turtle neck and vest, with pants, shoes, white gloves, and a tall hat origin ...

Goofy
short '' How to Hook Up Your Home Theater'' and produced a series of live-action ones featuring
The Muppets The Muppets are an American ensemble cast of puppet characters known for an surreal humor, absurdist, burlesque, and self-referential humor, self-referential style of Variety show, variety-sketch comedy. Created by Jim Henson in 1955, they are t ...
for viewing on
YouTube YouTube is an American and owned by . It was launched on February 14, 2005 by , , and . It is the website, right after Google itself. YouTube has more than one billion monthly users who collectively watch more than one billion hours of vi ...

YouTube
as
viral video right , 300px , Cumulative video views, leading to a lower, but relatively stable, long-term growth rate by the end of the first year. A viral video is a video Video is an Electronics, electronic medium for the recording, copying, pl ...
s to promote the 2011 movie of the same name.
DreamWorks Animation DreamWorks Animation LLC (also simply known as DreamWorks) is an American animation studio An animation studio is a company producing animated media. The broadest such companies conceive of products to produce, own the physical equipment for p ...
often produces a short sequel to include in the special edition video releases of major features, and are typical of a sufficient length to be broadcast as a
TV special A television special (often TV special, or rarely "television spectacular") is a stand-alone television show Image:MDR Kripo live.jpg, upright=1.35, A live television show set and cameras A television show – or simply TV show – is any content ...
, a few films from the studio have added theatrical shorts as well.
Warner Bros. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (commonly known as Warner Bros. and abbreviated as WB) is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered at the Warner Bros. Studios complex in Burbank, California ...
often includes old animated shorts from its considerable library, connected only thematically, on the DVD releases of classic WB movies. In 2010 and 2012 Warner Bros. also released new ''
Looney Tunes ''Looney Tunes'' is an American animated Animation is a method in which Image, figures are manipulated to appear as moving images. In traditional animation, images are drawn or painted by hand on transparent cel, celluloid sheets to be photo ...
'' shorts before family films. Shorts International and
Magnolia Pictures Magnolia Pictures is an American film distributor. It is a subsidiary of Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner's 2929 Entertainment. Magnolia was formed in 2001 by Bill Banowsky and Eamonn Bowles, and specializes in both foreign and independent films. Magn ...
organize an annual release of
Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry The film industry or motion picture industry comprises the technological and commercial institutions of filmmaking F ...
-nominated short films in theatres across the US, UK, Canada and Mexico throughout February and March. Shorts are occasionally broadcast as filler when a feature film or other work doesn't fit the standard broadcast schedule. ShortsTV was the first television channel dedicated to short films. However, short films generally rely on
film festival A film festival is an organized, extended presentation of film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of ...

film festival
exhibition to reach an audience. Such movies can also be distributed via the
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, network of networks'' that consist ...

Internet
. Certain websites which encourage the submission of user-created short films, such as YouTube and
Vimeo Vimeo, Inc. () is an American video hosting, sharing, and services platform provider headquartered in New York City. Vimeo focuses on the delivery of high-definition video across a range of devices. Vimeo's business model is through software as ...

Vimeo
, have attracted large communities of artists and viewers. Sites like Omeleto, FILMSshort, Short of the Week, Think Shorts, Short Central and some apps showcase curated shorts. Short films are a typical first stage for new filmmakers, but professional actors and crews often still choose to create short films as an alternative form of expression. Amateur filmmaking has grown in popularity as equipment has become more accessible. The lower production costs of short films often mean that short films can cover alternative subject matter as compared to higher budget feature films. Similarly, unconventional filmmaking techniques such as
Pixilation Pixilation (from ''pixilated'') is a stop motion technique in which live actors are used as a frame-by-frame subject in an animation, animated film, by repeatedly posing while one or more Frame (film), frame is taken and changing pose slightly be ...
or narratives that are told without dialogue, are more often seen in short films than features.
Tropfest Tropfest is the world's largest short film A short film is any motion picture A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art used to simulate experiences that communicate ideas, stories, perc ...
claims to be the world's largest short film festival. Tropfest now takes place in Australia (its birthplace), Arabia, the US and elsewhere. Originating in 1993, Tropfest is often credited as being at least partially responsible for the recent popularity of short films internationally.


Short shorts

Very short films, often referred to as "short shorts", are sometimes considered in a category of their own. The International Festival of Very Shorts, based in
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

Paris
, only shows movies less than three minutes long. Filminute, the international one-minute film festival, has presented and promoted a collection of one-minute films across multiple media since September 2006.


See also

*
Reel A reel is an object around which a length of another material (usually long and flexible) is wound for storage (usually hose A hose is a flexible hollow tube (fluid conveyance), tube designed to carry fluids from one location to another. Hos ...
, for an explanation of the historic term "two-reeler" * List of animated short series * List of independent short films *
List of short live-action films This is a list of live-action short films. 1880s *'' Roundhay Garden Scene'' ( 1888) directed by Louis Le Prince; this two-second film is the oldest surviving motion picture *'' Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge'' ( 1888) another early Louis Le Pri ...
*
List of short subjects by Hollywood studio This is a list of short subject A short film is any motion picture A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice ...
* Micro movie * Movieola: The Short Film Channel *
Music video A music video is a video Video is an electronic Electronic may refer to: *Electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum ...
* Tampere Film Festival * '' The Journal of Short Film'' *
Tropfest Tropfest is the world's largest short film A short film is any motion picture A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art used to simulate experiences that communicate ideas, stories, perc ...


References


External links

*
British Film Institute: "Writing Short Films" by Phil Parker
screenonline Screenonline is a website A website (also written as web site) is a collection of web pages and related content that is identified by a common domain name and published on at least one web server. Notable examples are wikipedia, wikipedia.org, ...
, website of the
British Film Institute The British Film Institute (BFI) is a film and television charitable organisation which promotes and preserves filmmaking and television in the United Kingdom. The BFI uses lottery funds to encourage film production, distribution, and educatio ...
{{DEFAULTSORT:Short Film Articles containing video clips