Much like short stories, short films are often times very underrated. Nevertheless the amount of skill and creativity required to produce something as succinct and dynamic cannot be under rated.To compress ideas into this format and still create a product that is both meaningful and entertaining, on some level, requires a particular skill set that few film makers have successfully achieved. Typically one would expect to do the rounds of the various film festivals to locate the latest offerings on the short film scene. Whilst this is still where the most noted films may be judged it is not likely that too many of them will then end up in main stream cinemas where the average member of the public can enjoy them.
Happily today with the advent of the internet the accessibility of video and thus the short film is greatly increased. Today the medium of the internet is perfect for showcasing the work of any film maker who has the necessary talent and a few resources to get the job done, which in todays technological world pretty much means anyone can qualify. However some films are more worthy or just more interesting than others and whilst not all the ones mentioned here were made with an internet audience in mind they are now, however, available. Such a list is always subjective but let’s consider some that might be among the best.
Proving that good art transcends all eras The Cameraman’s Revenge made in 1912 is a stop motion short film that curiously uses dead insects as its cast. Although somewhat gruesome a thought on reflection it is far less so than using live ones and of course lends itself to the skill of the stop motion technique, with very life like results. Like many such stories the theme is pointed at human behavior in this case under the guise of the insect cast! A humorous little tale well worth a look. Noteworthy for its similarly unusual techniques Mindscape creates a visual and musical delight with the creation of animation using pinscreen. Thousands of pins create images that form a fluid, artistic master piece. As the classical music creates the mood so the surreal and ethereal images develop a dream like quality that is simply beautiful.
More recently many film makers are emerging from areas of entertainment not initially associated with the short film in its purest form. Music videos and commercials are now seen as vehicles for some quality story lines and commentaries beyond product placement. Interestingly too the popularity of a film can be unexpected and significant, supported by a curious internet audience that only has to pause long enough to make a brief visit to the relevant web site. The Black Hole is one such film, the debut work of London duo Phil Sansom and Olly Williams. This short film got more than eight million views on You Tube and in 2008 won the Virgin media shorts competition. The movie has been used to teach students around the world and illustrates what today can be done on a limited budget taking just one day to film.
Plastic Bag made in 2009 by Ramin Bahrani, follows the journey of a plastic bag from the super market to its final resting place as part of the deadly trash in the Pacific ocean. Also a director of feature length films Bahrani acknowledged that people often responded more enthusiastically to this often amusing and poignant tale then the longer films, which speaks to the power and accessibility of the medium. Made as a campaign film it stands in its own right as beautifully made art. Short films have long been synonymous with animation and Pigeon:Impossible, made in 2008, is a wonderful example of how quality work can be achieved with minimal resources but plenty of support and will. The film, that started life as an exercise to teach 3D animation, was made for just $10,000, a fraction of the budget for films of similar quality. Pod casts on the internet that documented the progress of the making of the film propelled it forward and after streaming the film for free almost six million are estimated to have seen it. The pay off is that the young director, Lucas Martell, was offered work with a major UK studio. The rise of short films available on the internet is sure to increase, making this powerful medium available to all.