Currently, we are being bombarded by an endless supply of blockbuster movies. From 3D smash hits to endless binge watching of Netflix originals; have you ever stopped to think about short films? Are they still as important as they once were, and why are they not as talked about as much as the latest feature film? Through cinematic life, the short film has continually adapted itself to the newest function and technology. Audiences now revel in new and delightful spectacles and it’s fair to say that the movie industry is on top form.
Where Did the Short Film Go?
At the beginning of the century, some may say that short film experienced a recession. There was a lack of legislation for the lost art, and the 1927 Cinematograph Films Act simply didn’t offer enough protection for them. However, John Grierson, Scottish documentary maker joined the Empire Marketing Board in 1927 to develop a programme of publicity films for the EMB. When his first film Drifters (1929) became a success, it became evident that seeking sponsorship was key.
In the beginning, due to technical restrictions, all films were short, or shorter than currently. The earliest cinema audiences weren’t necessarily aware of this but, while they marvelled at the seconds of reel, they weren’t to know that as the 20th century would dawn, they would get much longer.
Short films were still being made in the swinging sixties, but their obvious unpopularity was becoming noticeable. Chris Hilton, former general manager at an Odeon in London said:
“In the Sixties, you would still occasionally get short films in the programme, things like the Rank Organisation’s Look at Life series [which depicted scenes of ‘Swinging Britain’]. But most of these were pretty boring and the audience used to use them as an excuse to pop to the loo or get some more popcorn.”
With financial changes to the cinema and the addition of trailers and adverts, the short film was ousted from the big screen. By the end of the sixties they were almost gone; except for a short cartoon maybe shown before a children’s film.
What’s Next for Short Film?
It may not be so obvious to a viewer or lover of film, but Short films have been progressing and are making a comeback in ways. Some short films, we may just not see as short cinema, but they are there. With the technology and anyone pretty much able to be a filmmaker, YouTube and such other outlets have allowed us to adapt short films into the modern technological age.
The ability to screen films on the cheap has given birth to hundreds of dedicated film festivals and events all over the world, and they have been flourishing for some time now. The industry has bounced back and found more than one way to make and present short films; and they are even more excited and eager than ever, with an increasingly growing audience.
The biggest demand for short films comes from the internet now. Fabien Riggall, founder of short film company ‘Future Shorts’ says, “we have a million views a month on YouTube, and that’s just through word of mouth and social media” Is it that audiences are more interested in bite-size pieces of information and entertainment?
You only need to look at the IMDB list for short films to see their popularity and ratings. When you take a trip to the cinema now, it’s not rare to witness a short film before the feature film. Disney does this regularly and has made a buzz around it. As cheaper, newer and constantly easier ways of making films are happening, we live in an exciting time to welcome short film back.
There’s no doubt that short film has made a come-back. But with the constant churning of feature length films, will this make the short film industry stand out, or will they sink against the mass of blockbusters? Will short film make a commercial cinema comeback?
At Video2DVD we believe in keeping cinema alive; not just feature film, but the short film also. All film should be valued as much as any other. If you have any film of any format that needs some life bringing to it, we would love for you to get in touch with our team on 0800 592 433.