History[ edit ] William Garwood starred in numerous short films, many of which were only 20 minutes in length All films in the beginning were very short. It was not until the 20th century where films started to get longer.
The first set of films were presented in and it was through Thomas Edison's device called a kinetoscope. Longer and shorter films coexisted with similar popularity throughout the early days of film. However, comedy short films were produced in large numbers compared to lengthy features such as D. Griffith 's The Birth of a Nation. By the s, a ticket purchased a varied program including a feature and several supporting works from categories such as second feature , short comedy, 5—10 minute cartoon, travelogue and newsreel.
Short comedies were especially popular, and typically came in a serial or series such as the Our Gang movies, or the many outings of Charlie Chaplin 's Little Tramp character.
Even though there was often no set release schedule, these series could be considered somewhat like a modern TV sitcom — lower in status than feature films but nevertheless very popular comedians such as Laurel and Hardy , Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton all 'graduated' from shorts to features. Animated cartoons 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 and very early sound era, produced mostly or only short subjects.
In the s, the distribution system changed in many countries, owing to the Great Depression. 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 , two- reel shorts went into decline as a commercial category. Hal Roach , for example, moved Laurel and Hardy full-time into feature films after , and halved his popular Our Gang films to one reel.
By the mids, with the rise of television , the commercial live-action short was virtually dead, The Three Stooges being the last major series of 2-reelers, ending in 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 techniques, they were also a very popular form of short films but it was short lived because, they also declined in this period. The Pink Panther was the last regular theatrical cartoon short series, having begun in and thus having spent its entire existence in the limited animation era and ended in By the s, the market for animated shorts had largely shifted to television, with existing theatrical shorts being syndicated to television.
Modern era[ edit ] A few animated shorts continue within mainstream commercial distribution. For instance, Pixar has screened a short along with each of its feature films during its initial theatrical run since producing shorts permanently since DreamWorks Animation often produces a short sequel to include in the special edition video releases of major features, and are typically of a sufficient length to be broadcast as a TV special , a few films from the studio have added theatrical shorts as well.
Warner Brothers often includes old animated shorts from its considerable library, connected only thematically, on the DVD releases of classic WB movies. In and Warners also released new Looney Tunes cartoons before family films. ShortsTV was the first television channel dedicated to short films. However, short films generally rely on festival exhibition to reach an audience. Such movies can also be distributed via the Internet. Certain websites which encourage the submission of user-created short films, such as YouTube, Snoovies  , CinemaClubby  and Vimeo  have attracted large communities of artists and viewers.
Short films are a typical first stage for new filmmakers, but professional actors and crews still choose to create short films as an alternative form of expression. Short filmmaking is growing in popularity as equipment becomes cheaper. 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 or narratives that are told without dialogue, are more often seen in short films than features.
Tropfest claims to be the world's largest short film festival. Tropfests now take place in Australia its birthplace , Arabia, the US and elsewhere. Originating in , Tropfest is often credited as being at least partially responsible for the recent popularity of short films internationally.
Short shorts[ edit ] Short short films are sometimes considered in a category of their own. The International Festival of Very Shorts based in 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 In popular culture[ edit ] Canada has a "television magazine program that features short films from across the country", entitled the "Short Film Face Off".
Indonesia has an organization focusing on short films dissemination, holding a monthly regular screening and also annual programs and special events for public, while building networks in Bali, Indonesia, Regional South East Asia and furthermore Internationally, named "Minikino".