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It's National Short Film Day! Learn the Importance of Short Films & Why We Still Watch Them

by Morgan Spencer

While they may be small, short films sure are mighty. And on National Short Film Day (Dec. 28) we celebrate the ingenuity of this media and how it continues to influence the entertainment world.

In fact, you may have seen short films in the past during annual awards shows or through the occasional Disney clip, but do you know how this type of film got started? Their background is incredibly interesting — check it out!

The History of Short Films

Black and white projector showing short films

National Short Film Day is relatively new, having been established in 2019 by the Film Movement, but the history of short films began a long time ago. They were first shown in a public setting in 1895 in Paris, France by the Lumiere brothers. They presented ten short films to an audience at the Grand Café, where each film was approximately 50 seconds long and still managed to intrigue the crowd in attendance. This has since been seen as the start of the motion picture industry.

At the beginning of the short film journey, these pictures were mainly action shots comprising of a single scene. As the years went on, moviemakers became more proficient in building on the initial short film guidelines by adding different sequences, and so this media type expanded. Short films that initially began as action shots evolved into comedy films, romance films, and more. And around 1910, short films were increased in length to about 10 minutes in some cases.

However, somewhere during the 1920s into the 1930s, short films became less common as the length of movies increased. It wasn’t until the 1980s where short films made a noticeable comeback. And today, short films are quite prevalent in production as their own separate genre. In fact, many national awards shows have a specific category dedicated to short films and the individuals who make them.

How Short Films Influenced the Movie Industry

Man directing film

With the help of the Lumiere brothers in Paris, the movie industry was underway. Short films were the beginning of the film industry and helped put moviemaking into motion. In the beginning, short films were easy to make as there was no editing involved and many of the films consisted of one scene. As people in the film industry became more comfortable with short film production, additional factors arose, such as editing capabilities, expansion of film genres, and additional cast and production crew members.

And thus, the movie industry was born!

The Part Short Films Play Today

Man directing short film

Even though short films experienced a lull in production in the mid-1900s, today these films are back and better than ever. The content is awe-inspiring and the production capabilities are so expansive that there really is no limit to what these short films can do to entertain the crowds. Plus, post-2010, filmmakers were taking their filmmaking capabilities to all new levels by using their smartphones to create these films, giving the content a more natural, realistic approach. Short films continue to increase in popularity with unique content released along the way.

Examples of Short Films

Short films are plentiful in number. From the very beginning of this film type to today, you’ll be able to find a wide array of short films spanning various genres. Here are some examples of short films throughout history:

  • “A Trip to the Moon” (1902) by Georges Melies
  • “The Great Train Robbery” (1903) by Edwin S. Porter
  • “The Red Balloon” (1956) by Albert Lamorisse
  • “Paperman” (2102) by John Kahrs and produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • “Bao” (2018) by Domee Shi and produced by Pixar Animation Studios

Disney Pixar has had some of the most popular short films in recent years, from extra clips from Monster’s Inc., Toy Story, and beyond!

Watch Your Favorite Short Films at Home

Family gathered around projector screen to watch

Short films were watched primarily in public venues back when they first came into existence. Today, you can watch short films from the comfort of your home on your favorite television channels and streaming devices. So, it’s best to have a TV or home projector with the latest technology and visuals from Toton’s TV!

And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact our team! We’ll create the entertainment setup you’ve been waiting for!