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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 The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is any pigmented liquid, liquefiable, o ...
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'' originall ...
. 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 The cinema of the United States has had a large effect on the film industry in general since the early 20th century. The dominant style of American cinema is the classical Hollywood cinema Classical Hollywood ...
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 used to simulate experiences that communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty, or ...

film festival
s and made by independent
filmmaker Filmmaking (film production) is the process by which a 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 pr ...

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 o ...
,
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 An artist is a person engaged in an activity related to cr ...
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 electric power generation Electricity generation is the process of generating electric power from s ...

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 film, silent Epic film, epic Drama (film and television), drama film directed by D. W. Griffith and starring Lillian Gish. The screenplay is adapted from ...
''. 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 th ...
, 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 Comedy (from the el, κωμῳδία, ''kōmōdía'') is a genre of fiction that consists of discourses or works intended ...
'' 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 silent film. He became a worldwide icon through his screen persona, the Tramp, and is consider ...

Charlie Chaplin
's Little Tramp character).
Animated cartoon Animation is a method in which figures Figure may refer to: General *A shape, drawing, depiction, or geometric configuration *Figure (wood), wood appearance *Figure (music), distinguished from musical motif *Noise figure, in telecommunication ...
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 economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
. 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 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 applying paint Pai ...
, two-
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 ...

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 mo ...
, 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 Comedy (from the el, κωμῳδία, ''kōmōdía'') is a genre of fiction that consists of discourses or works intended ...
'' 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 O'Hanlon (November 23, 1912 – February 11, 1989) was an American actor, comedian 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 voic ...
'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 live action reel#Motion picture terminology, one-reel short subjects films were made and released bet ...
'' movies, and the animated work of studios such as
Walt Disney Productions The Walt Disney Company, commonly just Disney (), is an American multinational entertainment and media conglomerate headquartered at the Walt Disney Studios (Burbank), Walt Disney Studios complex in Burbank, California. Disney was originall ...

Walt Disney Productions
and
Warner Bros. Cartoons Warner Bros. Cartoons, Inc. was the in-house animation Animation is a method in which figures Figure may refer to: General *A shape, drawing, depiction, or geometric configuration *Figure (wood), wood appearance *Figure (music), distingu ...
. By the mid-1950s, with the rise of
television Television, sometimes shortened to TV or telly, is a telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical A cylinder (from Gre ...

television
, the commercial live-action short was virtually dead,
The Three Stooges The Three Stooges were an American vaudeville Vaudeville (; ) is a of born in France at the end of the 19th century. A vaudeville was originally a comedy without psychological or moral intentions, based on a comical situation: a dramatic ...
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 Traditional animation (or classical animation, cel animation, hand-drawn animation, 2D animation or just 2D) is an animation technique in which each frame is draw ...
techniques and the rise of
television animation 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 photographed and exhibited on film. Today, most a ...
, 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, ...
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 Conglomerate or conglomeration may refer to: * Conglomerate (company) * ...
, 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 Animation is a method in which figures Figure may refer to: General *A shape, drawing, depiction, or geometric configuration *Figure (wood), wood appearance *Figure (music), distinguished from mu ...
'' (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 ...

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 an animated character that has appeared in theatrical short films produced by the Walter Lantz Studio Walter Lantz Productions was an American animation studio. It was in operation from 1928 to 1973, and was the principal s ...
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 and production company founded on July 7, 1957, by ''Tom and Jerry'' creators a ...
in 1957, mainly focusing on television. ''
The Pink Panther ''The Pink Panther'' is an 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 the Th ...
'' 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 cartoon A cartoon is a type of illustration that is typically drawn, sometimes animated, in an unrealistic or semi-realistic style. The specific meaning has evolved over time, but the modern usage usually refers to either: an ...

Goofy
short ''
How to Hook Up Your Home Theater ''How to Hook Up Your Home Theater'' is a 2007 American animated Animation is a method in which figures Figure may refer to: General *A shape, drawing, depiction, or geometric configuration *Figure (wood), wood appearance *Figure (music), ...
'' and produced a series of live-action ones featuring
The Muppets The Muppets are an American ensemble cast In a dramatic production, an ensemble cast is one which is composed of multiple principal actors and performers who are typically assigned roughly equal amounts of screen time.Random House: ensemble ac ...
for viewing on
YouTube YouTube is an American online video sharing and social media platform Social media are interactive technologies that allow the Content creation, creation or information sharing, sharing/exchange of information, ideas, career interests, an ...

YouTube
as
viral video A viral 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 vacuu ...
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 which temporarily interrupts episodic programming normally scheduled for a given time slot. Specials have been produced which provide a fu ...
, 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 Conglomerate or conglomeration may refer to: * Conglomerate (company) * ...
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. Mag ...
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 used to simulate experiences that communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty, or ...

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 Filminute is the international one-minute film festival dedicated to presenting, promoting and awarding one-minute w:films, films. Filminute was founded in 2005 and the inaugural festival ran in September 2006. Filminute looks for films that deli ...
, 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 The following is a list of theatrical short animated cartoon series ordered by the decade and year their first episode was released. Most notable animated film series were produced during the silent era and the Hollywood golden era. All series bel ...
* List of independent short films *
List of short live-action films This is a list of live-action 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, perceptio ...
*
List of short subjects by Hollywood studio A ''list'' is any set of items. List or lists may also refer to: People * List (surname) Organizations * List College, an undergraduate division of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America * SC Germania List, German rugby union club Ot ...
*
Micro movie A micro movie is a type of microcinema which refers to a short/micro film of any genre. Micro movies originated in Hong Kong in 2010. Karen Mok (Hong Kong based singer/actress) and Adam Duke starred in "Cadillac (micro movie), Cadillac," which is ...
* 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 Tampere Film Festival ( fi, Tampereen elokuvajuhlat) is a 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 communi ...
* ''
The Journal of Short Film ''The Journal of Short Film'' was a quarterly DVD publication of peer-reviewed short films of all genres, from 2005-2015 ols 1-39 It was published by the Ohio State University Film Studies Program. The journal is modeled on the literary magazin ...
'' *
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 page A web page (or webpage) is a hypertext Hypertext is text displayed on a or other with references () to other text that the reader can ...
, 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